The construction of multiple identites in the display of women as objects of desire and submission

Du Preez, Martelize (2006-03)

Thesis (MA (VA)(Visual Arts))--University of Stellenbosch, 2006.


As manufacturing jewellery artist, I have found that it is now most often women rather than men who commission or purchase jewellery. These women often earn substantial salaries and therefore they are in a position to indulge freely in what traditionally was considered the frivolous pursuit of beauty. Consequently, women are challenging expectations that they be submissive and desirable display objects, thereby signifying their dependence on male economical power. The aim of this research is to encourage transformation and the development of an individual and independent feminine identity by exposing the pressures placed on women to construct their identities as prescribed by patriarchal institutions, dress codes, fashion, science and therefore also gender stereotyping and gender inequalities. The three chapters of my thesis are titled Restriction, Change and Liberation?, which is followed by a discussion of my practical work in the addendum. The thesis and practical work were developed in support of one another.

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