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Mirror, mirror on the wall


Images of women with mirrors are not rare – European art history in particular, is littered with images of women reflected in mirrors – we are painted post-coital, post bath, pre-bath, getting dressed, getting undressed, brushing our hair, doing our hair, playing with our hair and on and on. Many of these paintings are masterpieces in their own right and steeped in meanings other than the one I am suggesting. However they’re all painted by men.

Conspicuous by their absence, are images of female self-portraits with the mirror. Strange really, given the purported association between us. The common thread here, aside from the cursed mirror is that we are pretty much naked (funny that, considering how hard it is to find a naked man anywhere in history until Egon Schiele and then he’s masturbating!) According to the male artists of the world, we’ve had our clothes off for a thousand years, save a towel or an occasional kimono and spend our days worrying about our hair.

So I return to the question at hand, if this is how men painted us, how did we paint ourselves?


2 Responses to “Mirror, mirror on the wall”

  1. You bring up a great point. As a woman artist I paint myself, full frontal, fully confrontational with myself and the viewer. Totally present in the world and powerful!

  2. natascha gleeson says:

    Perhaps the only interesting thing about males is their appendage, at least to themselves, where as women’s sense of self discovery goes beyond. There’s a theory for starters.

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