Abstract - Jessica Holt

This paper examines the impact of the American feminist movement as it relates to the production of art by women. The focus is on the instrumental role photography played in reshaping women’s art beginning in the late 1960’s.

By using photography, women artists of the 60’s and 70’s were able to represent themselves in a more effective way than in other media. Although photography had been used for decades preceding the feminist art movement, this medium attracted feminist artists. Described as a voyeuristic medium, photography was a powerful tool in deconstructing the male gaze and bringing private moments into the public domain. By analyzing the art of Hannah Wilke, Lynda Benglis, and Cindy Sherman, with a focus on their representation of the female body and sexuality, this paper demonstrates how changes in women’s art paralleled and supported changes in society including the facts that women gained headway in achieving reproductive rights and advanced in the workforce.

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