Monday, November 10, 2003

Female Nudes Should Be Prettier

Today the BBC interviewed a man who comes from a group demanding that female nudes in art should be more idealized. The female nude in the 20th century art turned too ugly, too angular, too cubistic. The interviewer, also a man, asked an art expert, also a man, for comments on this question. There was much talk about whether beauty was a relevant criterion in art.

Nobody talked about how funny it is to have three men pontificate on this, or the fact that it is funny to demand more idealized female nudes to counterbalance the ugly ones. What about realistic female nudes? Or are these the ugly ones that should be made prettier?

What is the function of the female nude in art? What is the function of the male nude in art? Should male nudes be made more handsome? Would this boost attendance at art museums? And what is involved in making nudes better looking? Fewer body hairs? Firmer breasts? Bigger penises? More muscle definition?

There is probably no association for the prettification of the male nude in art. Male nudes are not symbols in the same way as female nudes are. Women don't appear to have the same feelings of ownership that would let them demand better-looking naked men to ogle at. Talk about the male gaze.

But men are more visual, I've heard said. Sexually that is. That's why pornography is aimed almost totally at the male market. Women just don't care about looks, some say.
Hmmm. I say:"You wish." It would release some men from the same yoke that they are so desperately trying to fit on female shoulders:"Be pretty, be good-looking, turn me on."

The Guerrilla girls once made a poster depicting an Ingres' reclining female nude in a gorilla mask. The text said:"Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. museum? Less than 5% of the artists in the Modern Art sections are women, but 85% of the nudes are female."

The BBC interview struck me as showing the Guerrilla girls the way forward: Make the female artists prettier. Even better, have them paint in the nude.

Just to make sure, I'm being sarcastic here. Thank goddess that I'm not human. My nudity is always divine.