Kunal Mukhopadhyay

Women in art

In Art, Norm, Social trend, Thoughts, Women in society on February 6, 2007 at 12:56 pm

By large, in the world as we know it today, all famous personalities are males. Not a ground breaking observation, as any sociologist would remark, for traditionally since the dawn of civilization, majority of all societies have been male dominated – thus all known professions (other than, ironically and regrettably what is classed as the “oldest profession” – no comment on that) to “mankind”.
Yesterday my curiosity was piqued when a discussion was initiated by being asked to name a few famous artists (or more correctly, art personalities). When asked, everyone except one woman gave the usual list of celebrities, Picasso being the most common, and other male figures. As was noted, almost everyone named male figures. The question was thus posed – why is it that men are more known in the art world than women? Some answers would have made feminists turn every shade of red on the spectrum. Others were good attempts to find a cover-up answer to what was appearing more to be a shockingly embarrassing revelation in a group consisting of both men and women. It was almost as if the men folk were searching for a justifiable excuse for the outcome of history in the art world. Perhaps some were not trying to justify the same and were “ratifying” the “facts” as they were – there are more male art personalities than female.
Other than the sociological background, there was an interesting thought that the arbitrator proposed. In her opinion, artists (maybe even authors and philosophers could be included) are a little eccentric, often with Bohemian inclinations. Thus the typical Picasso or van Gogh were detached, had their heads in the midst of clouds and weren’t very adroit in practical matters of life such as managing money or finding a regular job or even thinking of a family. Women on the other hand tend to be more practical and more adept in the matters of daily functioning. While not going to the extent of former Harvard University president Lawrence H. Summers, a deeper study into the differences in gender would highlight that women are in many ways different in their methods, and in certain tasks, much better than men. For example, they are not as impulsive as men and are better in planning and assessing risk factors. They tend to be more steadfast than men. Of course, these are generalizations and by virtue of the universe’s constitution, there are exceptions to everything.
I myself am quite thankful that in our household I have a wife who is better than me in staying the course, being steadfast and at assessing risk factors. It balances my oft impulsive side and ensures a safer sailing for both of us and our children. No wonder, then, our wives are often called the “better halves”.

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