Sex, Rhetoric, And The Public Monument

Good Essays
Read “Sex, Rhetoric, and the Public Monument” by Irene J. Winter. What is the main argument of this article? What evidence does the author use? Do you agree with the author’s argument? Why or why not?
Chiseled in stone yet standing high upon the apogee of a mountain, a sexually seductive sovereign can be found. Though supposedly neither human nor god, he remains just barely within arm’s reach of the rays of divine sunlight. He is unwavering both in his alluring, dominant stance and his brutal authority, especially compared to his enemies, one which lays mercilessly beneath his firm feet, with a spear gutting his neck. With all eyes looking in his trajectory, his gaze focuses high above anyone else. His body is striking and his power
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Thus, the archetype of Naram-Sîm shows to be the epitome of the perfect male for which other men strive to embody.

This concept is conveniently backed by the elders of Naram-Sîm, who were successful in claiming that these attributes came in the form of being divine. This claim to divinity literally underpinned their ascension to power and the relegation of everyone else; rulers were to be revered for their beauty and power because it was truly their god given right. Alas, Winter argues that the sexual allure of the ruler’s body firmly functions was a mechanism to continue aggrandizing their own status and dominance.

Winter succesfully notes that this dominance and power was also preserved by what we would call propaganda. In regards to another period of art, Winter suggests that “aesthetic pleasure can serve as the vehicle by which a highly seductive ideal vision is articulated for the citizen-viewer”. In regards to the stela, the viewer sees an image of an audacious, virtuous hero, the signifier which may have instilled and preserved the distorted perception of hierarchy. Though the idea of being an alpha male is nothing new at this point in history, it does become physically stamped into history, used to gain loyalty between the ruler and the ruled.

However, this belief was not exclusive to just the king and his subjects, but also between
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