Social role of women Essay

Social role of women Essay

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The social role and stature of women has been an eternal topic. In an age when the images of women were expected to be associated with marriage, motherhood, and domestic matters, few Americans could have thought of a young woman from an upper-middle class family would pursue professional study of art in Europe in the late nineteenth century. Yet, praises and critics both fall on the young artist, Mary Cassatt (1844 - 1926). In this paper, I will show how two historians contrast about the their views of this feminine artist, as well as their methodological approaches.
The first one is from Susan Fillin Yeh. In her article “Mary Cassatt’s Images of Woman,” she argues that, Cassatt’s images of women, unique within the context of Impressionism, challenging the male standards (marriage, motherhood, and domestic matters), include representations of women as independent public people: women could pursue interests that are not directed toward the needs of others, such as needs of husbands and families; and also, women could enjoy the company of other women, rather than be some kind of “possession” of men. Cassatt defined her world through women, by which her art offers a new vision of the unconsidered facts of everyday bourgeois life. She also challenge stereotypes, in her oeuvre of figures who are oblivious to the outside world, the mothers and children, who depart from convention in their mutual absorption, because she acknowledges the strong emotions which are the human dynamics of the relationship.
The article introduces several categories of Cassatt’s paintings, all dominated by female figures. In the paintings of scene of theaters, she created the image of women who have their own interests not dominated by others’ opinions. Rathe...

... middle of paper ...

...and its debates over women’s capabilities and natural place, Cassatt was in fact making particular kind of claim for the educated woman — a claim that, in some quarters, could still cause discomfort and be considered daring and destabilizing… (Third Level) … the activity of reading — in particular the reading of newspapers — could still be regarded as problematic, implying gender role reversal through an “unnatural” engagement with the public and the political sphere. (Third Level)” (Broude 2001, p. 37)
In conclusion, both article talks about the innovative role of Mary Cassatt in the late nineteenth century.

Works Cited

N. Broude, (2001) “Mary Cassatt: Modern Woman or the Cult of True Womanhood?”, Woman’s Art Journal, Vol. 21, No. 2 (Autumn, 2000 - Winter, 2001), pp. 36-43
S.F. Yeh, (1976) "Mary Cassatt's Images of Women," Art Journal, 35/4 (1976): 359-63

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