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Everywoman?

Nov. 18, 2020

An 'Everywoman' or just another piece of fodder for the male gaze?

Caroline Criado Perez, who campaigned for women's images on banknotes, said "This feels disrespectful to Wollstonecraft herself and isn't that the most important part? In Wollstonecraft's own words: 'Taught from their infancy that beauty is woman's sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison.'

Liberal feminists might celebrate this as being sexually liberating and ignore the fact that the vast majority of statues of men are fully clothed, and that they outnumber statues of women by about 25 to one. Author and feministcampaigner Julie Bindel desrcribed it as looking like  "a Christmas tree decoration and not a very nice one at that".

The campaign, called Mary on the Green, said on its website that the naked woman represents "an everywoman" that "emerges out of organic matter, almost like a birth."  But many critics didn't see it that way -- nor did they appreciate the use of female nudity in a statue designed to celebrate Wollstonecraft's efforts to improve women's rights.

Bea Rowlatt, the campaign leader said "The work celebrates her contribution to society with something that goes beyond the Victorian traditions of putting people on pedestals." She thanked those who had "engaged thoughtfully" with the artwork -- adding that "if you don't like this sculpture there are other campaigns for amazing women that deserve support."

opinions/2020/11/16/feminisms-second

https://www.maryonthegreen.org/latestnews.shtml

https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/mary-wollstonecraft-statue-london-intl-hnk-scli/index.html