Note: To protect the privacy of our members, e-mail addresses have been removed from the archived messages. As a result, some links may be broken.

Lesson Plans

Re:Re: Studio Lesson on Female Stereotypes

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Thu, 20 Nov 1997 01:10:16 -0600

Respond to this message.

At 4*00 PM 11/19/97, David Zimmerman wrote:
>This sounds like a great unit! You didn't say how old the kids were, but
>an abstraction or metamorphoses drawing or painting comes to my mind for
>this subject. Example: You could slowly break down an image of a
>mother/child, like a Madonna, into a leather clad, buxom motorcycle pin-up
>or a 50's era housewife. The possibilities are endless! This could be
>done on a computer if you're equipped. If not, the students could use an
>image from history (which would involve them doing a bit of research into
>its origins) and one from a contemporary magazine. If you traced both, you
>could superimpose them and find common lines to use in the transformation.
>If you want to put a figure drawing emphasis on it, have them model for
>each other to get a variety of poses that could be used. This would make
>a cool painting!
>Deb Rosenbaum
>The Surgeon's Motto: "Never say 'oops!', always say 'there!'

Although I appreciate your ideas, I wonder what the implications of your
suggestions are. What type of critique is being offered by having students
transform or metamorphasize a Madonna image into a leather clad, buxom
motorcycle pin-up or a 50's era housewife? Unless an intensive,
multi-vocal critique is offered and questions of the interpretation,
audience, artists intentions, and possible subversive implications of this
work are pursued, it could easily collapse back into the very thing the
students are trying to problematize. It seems to me that Kruger and Holzer
appropriated the language of advertising not to address a stereotypical
person, but to address conflicts inherent in given definitions of the
social reality through the process of signification.
A manipulation of dominant media seems appropriate for a studio
activity. This critique through manipulation could include deconstructing
advertisements using the tools of mass media. Play them at their own game,
like Kruger. When students change the image and text that accompanies ads
( that display stereotypical, and derogatory images of women) they are
removed and replaced from the seemingly natural position of dominant social
directives, into the realm of commentary. This is a slippery area, since
most advertisers appropriate the language of the critique back from the
artist faster then it can cause agency, consider tee-shirts in the style of
Kruger, and some of the controversial Benetton Advertisements.


"We have discovered the coercions of the media; we must develop the means
by which we would confront them." - Kruger, Barbara, in Kate Linkers, Love
For Sale: The Words and Pictures of Barbara Kruger, (New York: Harry
N.Abrams, 1990). p.87

Kevin Michael Tavin Ph.D. Candidate
Dept. of Art Education
The Pennsylvania State University
School of Visual Arts

Respond to this message.