Feminist Movement By Ana Mendieta

The start of 1960’s feminist movement was characterized by the use of extreme art to combat the concept of gender hierarchy. Ana Mendieta was one of the first feminists to draw attention to the way gender categorizes individuals. Using her body as the subject of her art pieces, Mendieta tried to “emphasize the societal conditions by which the female body is colonized,” objectified, and ravaged through “masculine aggression” (Cabanas 12). In 1973, she performed her famous piece, “Sweating Blood” (Cabanas 12). In this piece, Mendieta stands motionless against a black background, absorbed into her thoughts. Blood slowly oozes down the top of her head, encroaching and creeping into every crevice in her skin (Figure 2). It wraps around the side …show more content…
The perception of “male” and “female” roles is based on the cultural depiction of the “husband as [a] breadwinner” (Anderson 658). The practice of raising males to believe that they are in charge brings up the question: what makes men consider that they have this power over women? According to sociologist Laverne Berkel and her associates, who explored how gender roles and beliefs establish violence against women, “positive relationships have been found between traditional sex role attitudes and negative attitudes towards women” (Berkel et al. 120). Berkel’s assertion accurately pinpoints the key reason as to why men act and think in a hostile manner towards their significant other. The influence they have experience throughout their growth and maturity reflects the way they act and execute their behavior towards women. Thereby, it depicts a strong correlation between the roles of obtaining power; the way men mentally define the social role of women; how this link shapes a man’s understanding of his role in society. In this case, men are taught to be powerful and bread earners of the family. They treat women inferiorly in order to justify the need for “men in the workplace…[and] legitimized male power within the family” (Anderson qtd. Ferre and Stark and Flitcraft 658). Thus, society establishes a man-made perception of how one gender …show more content…
Some claim that “cultural norms” allow men to control women, as seen in a history of an ongoing patriarchy (Lehrner and Allen 221). Others researchers argue that domestic violence has to do more with the idea of “ownership” that a partner practices from a young age (Towns and Scott 539). Looking at the overall picture, both arguments are true to some extent. In fact, many sociologists advocate that the establishment of ownership is due to a systematic and predisposed belief that masculinity is associated with control (Towns and Scott 539). Society often instills the belief that men have a greater power in the family and should often “assert their privilege position and power on female” (Nixon 9). The idea of gender as an accomplishment shows that “biological sex and gender are culturally and socially shaped variations between men and women” (Dragiewicz qtd. American Medical Association 12). Ultimately, the term “masculinity” reflects a traditional, cultural belief that blinds men to pursue wealth and achievements, rather than helping them understand the equality between both genders. As a response, feminist art, such as “Sweating Blood”, works to expose the meanings behind male and female by raising awareness of these terms; questioning their origins; and reflecting on

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