Sexual Objectification And Self Objectification Of Women

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From Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus to Ingres’ The Grand Odalisque to Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, the female nude has been indicative of the ideologies of their historical time period. Nude II is a contemporary example in that genre, painted by French artist Helene Delmaire in 2013. Her work often features nude females and addresses the history of that genre both explicitly and implicitly. It may not be intentional, but her work still relies on problematic paradigms, such as female idealism, the male gaze and heteronormativity. The image Nude II provides a means to explore the sexual objectification and self-objectification of women. As can be seen, Nude II is rendered in a soft, sensual style, with no details being over-defined. The overall colour scheme is pink and creamy and naturalistic. In a way, it’s similar to how the ocean is depicted in the movie The Little Mermaid, with “sweeping seascapes which resemble Georgia O’Keefe paintings, rich with the female imagery of sea shells and cave openings” (Sells 178). This sets the underwater world apart from the world on land, which can be read as a metaphor for the white male system (Sells 177). Just as The Little Mermaid uses specific imagery in order to situate the underwater world outside of that white male system, Nude II uses pastel colours and floral imagery to create a space that very easily reads as a feminine. The bedroom setting makes it seem rather private and since flowers are common symbols for
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