Sexism in Art and Literature
Do I think it's a misogynist conspiracy and that all the producers, curators and commissioners in all the arts fields in all countries decided together to make women a minority? No. It's worse than that: it's a coincidence, demonstrating just how ubiquitous and automatic misogyny is. -Bishida1
The art world is a victim of
institutional sexism, particularly in the fields of literature and fine
arts. People just tend to put a higher value on work produced by men than
work produced by women. Sam Leith, a writer for The Telegraph, found himself
guilty of this when writing a response to Literature Nobel Prize jury member
Horace Engdahl.2 In his article, Leith defended American and
British Literature, but cited 39 male authors as being influential, as
opposed to a mere 6 female authors.3 “Did it make me more of a
sexist pig, I wondered,” said
Literature favors men over women. For example, since its conception in 1901,
only 12 of 107 prizes have been awarded to women.4 Of
the 18 members of the
The same ideas are true in the world of fine art. There is a distinct pay gap in between what male artists are paid and what female artists are paid. People are more able to recall names of male artists, because that is what they are exposed to and taught. British artist Tracey Emin produced a documentary about institutional sexism in the art world. The reason for such a pay gap, she says, is because women are less inclined to ask for more pay, because women are taught through institutional sexism to be more passive and less aggressive than men. Also, because more powerful members of the art community are men who are wealthy, they want to “pay top dollar for "macho" art that reflects their vision of themselves,” and in the process, art produced by women becomes overlooked.6
1. Bishida. "The Subtle Art of Misogyny." The Guardian 13 Oct. 2009. Print.
2. Leith, Sam. "Institutionalized Sexism of High Literature? Guilty." The Telegraph 11 Oct. 2008. Print.
3. Leith, Sam. "Nobel Prize Judge Is Wrong to Denounce American Literature." The Telegraph 3 Oct. 2008. Print.
4. "Facts on the Nobel Prize in Literature." Nobelprize.org. Web. 06 Dec. 2010. <http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/shortfacts.html>.
6. "Tracey Emin's Film about Institutional Sexism in Art." The Independent 12 Mar. 2006. Print.