On Women, Beauty and Love -- again; part 1


[Duchamp - Nude Descending a Staircase]

And so as these things go, frenzy and fever give way confusion which gives way to torpor and darkness and out of such numbness (perplexity even?) comes some semblance of understanding. Why have I been so quiet? Not an easy question and so there is no easy answer. What I can say is that part of the silence was self-inflicted -- silence so as not to say something hasty or unfounded. But that has either stopped being something I care about, or I have just moved beyond worry and into exasperation.

What am I talking about? This problem of what it is to be a woman -- and then also the consequent problems. I wrote a lot about what was said about these things last month and my words were largely misinterpreted, probably because of ambiguities on my part, but also because I hadn't yet figured out why I felt the need to speak of all this, to make sense of it (if sense is even possible). But then I re-read the Symposium for this class on feminism, and also read Lucrezia Marinella's The Nobility and Excellence of Women and the Defects and Vices of Men. And I have spent a week stewing over these two readings, trying to work out what I wanted to write about in this class (seeing the writing as a chance to crack open these problems and see them for what they are) and then I began reading Naomi Wolf's Beauty Myth and so I can no longer be silent. So I will work through some of these things -- with as much methodical plodding as I need to. I also want to look again at Nochlin's piece "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?"

So here we go.