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Lesson Plans

Re: Child development and art

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
wendy sauls (wsauls)
Fri, 10 Jul 1998 17:14:40


>> I am trying to educate my Elementary/MiddleSchool kids
>> that nudity in fine art is not bad but is considered
>> an exhaltation of the beauty of the human body.

>Well, to be fair, maybe yes AND no. Historically,
>nudity in european fine art has been mostly the work
>of male artists focused upon a favorite male subject.
>While there is indeed the flavor of "exhaltation of
>the human body" it is primarily of the human FEMALE
>body and probably more than anything a reflection of
>biololgical reproduction related propensities.

i think it was bell hooks who wrote about the male gaze. there has been
lots of good writing on this issue, check out whitney chadwick. also,
mapplethorpe kind of turned the idea of traditional nude representation on
its head, btw, for those of you smarties, NO i do not share his images with
my ms'ers! i do, however, bring up the idea of male gaze when we look
at/talk about nudes.

when i read the original posting, the part about kids being traumatized by
looking at adults 'cause they were different, i couldn't help but think
whether or not it was dangerous for kids to look at naked dogs and cats and
stuff :D ... i know dr. brothers and spock had lots of good advice to
offer, but i'm sure there are a fair amount of their recommendations that
are dated and just plain silly, too.

my opinion is that we in the us seem to have a pretty unhealthy attitude i
general about sex and bodies. i wonder is some of the more relaxed places
have less of a problem with eating disorders. all we see in our country is
perfection - models in mags that are airbrushed or genetically altered or
whatever. maybe exposure to real people would teach that most of us have
some flab or wrinkles or assymmetry, etc. and not to obssess about it.
when one of my kids said a ren. nude was eew, and fat, it really was sad to

as a ms teacher one thing that really gets me about this issue is our lack
of responsibility with regards to teen sex. kids are doing it, we all know
it, but all we can do is tell them not to and stick our heads in the sand.
meanwhile, they are getting diseases, unwanted pregnancies... in general,
the 'just say no' technique lives on. btw, what do you all think about the
new just say no commercials, on an artistic/communicative critique level?
hey, i think i just got a great idea for a lesson plan in the fall...

wishing for utopia,


Wendy Sauls
Art Teacher, Kanapaha Middle School, Gainesville, FL
Doctoral Student, Art Education, Florida State University
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