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Statue to honour Wollstonecraft

(713 Posts)
MedusasBadHairDay Tue 10-Nov-20 01:08:17

www.theguardian.com/books/2020/nov/10/mary-wollstonecraft-finally-honoured-with-statue-after-200-years

It's a naked woman..

Currently reading A Vindication of the Rights of Woman for an OU course, and - unless the tone changes dramatically in the second half of it - I'm not seeing how an idealised nude is the right statue to convey anything about her?

OP’s posts: |
Butterer Tue 10-Nov-20 01:17:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Antibles Tue 10-Nov-20 01:47:09

FFS. Would there be a statue of John Stuart Mill being 'born anew' in the buff?

If Mary Wollstonecraft, famous for her writing, had power over her statued form a couple of centuries on, I reckon she'd want clothes on it hmm. As I would mine (for all my insightful feminist expositions, natch).

From that article: “I hope the piece will act as a metaphor for the challenges women still face as we confront the world.”

Well I suppose it does inasmuch as women still struggle to be recognised for their achievements but are often still reduced to tits and ass.

IdblowJonSnow Tue 10-Nov-20 01:53:23

Bloody hell, that's so typical.
What a disappointing and unimaginative representation.
Anyone feel like they're banging their head against a brick wall?

HeirloomTomato Tue 10-Nov-20 03:47:16

I was about to comment positively but, yes, what a disappointment. She deserves a statue to commemorate her, certainly. They could take down some of the statues of racists and slave-owners to make room for more statues of women like her. But the nude statue is odd. It hardly represents her intellectual heritage, does it?

dontwantamirena Tue 10-Nov-20 03:51:35

Why must women always be nude in the art world. Men don't get naked blobby ~spirit~ statues. They get lifelike representations.

This other design is miles better:
islingtontribune.com/article/visions-of-mary

August20 Tue 10-Nov-20 04:19:47

I was cheering at the thread title and then read your post. FFS.

The second design is much better - ironic that I prefer the man's statue design I suppose.

dontwantamirena Tue 10-Nov-20 04:51:24

While I realise that women are under appreciated in the art world, I wonder if in this case it might be a powerful thing to have had a man design her statue, considering how men viewed her in her time. I’m also not really a fan of women centred projects only involving women, I want both men and women to be involved, same for men centred projects.

Or does having a female artist make a bigger statement, regardless of design?

Butterer Tue 10-Nov-20 05:12:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SweetGrapes Tue 10-Nov-20 06:22:56

Well, a woman's body labelled Woman is extremely controversial nowadays.

MedusasBadHairDay Tue 10-Nov-20 07:19:42

I prefer the other version too, I agree with the campaign that we need more status of prominent women. But that's not a statue of Wollstonecraft, just a generic nude female, and those are already over represented.

OP’s posts: |
ThinEndOfTheWedge Tue 10-Nov-20 07:21:33

I wonder whether it was a provocative move on her part?

Yep - there isn’t as much news sculpting a woman - iconic and beloved by women for her visionary and intellect about the emancipation of women - without her tits.

I think there is a difference that you can showing a fictional character how you like - but to show an actual real human being - particularly a woman who lived in highly restrictive times for women and wanted to be equal to men - like this - is perverse.

But the artist doesn’t give a shit about her subject - just wants us talking about it - Which she’s succeeded in.

PersonaNonGarter Tue 10-Nov-20 07:25:14

It’s so disappointing. It’s just a 2020 sculpture for the artist and her art friends - the exact opposite of Everywoman/Wollstonecraft understanding.

Wollstonecraft had something very new and very brave to say in her time. That context and bravery has been lost.

StandWithYou Tue 10-Nov-20 07:43:09

IdblowJonSnow

Bloody hell, that's so typical.
What a disappointing and unimaginative representation.
Anyone feel like they're banging their head against a brick wall?

Perhaps a statute of Mary Wollstonecraft banging her head against a brick wall and an inscription that says, ‘Is this still bloody happening’ might be more appropriate.

ChattyLion Tue 10-Nov-20 07:44:22

I was happy to click on this headline - hooray let’s celebrate her- but now I’m a bit baffled by the actual monument. That’s a good point though Sweetgrapes. grin How are the woke people going to deal with that? How can they even know.. etc etc

Well I guess for me it’s about the fact that from the Guardian pic, rather than rise above a swirling mass of humanity she (if it is Mary at the top?) is rising above what looks like a swirling mass of distorted female bodies. So kind of a comment on misogyny reducing individual women to a distorted mass? But if so, also kind of reinforcing the ‘woman apart from other women’ type of trope. Which can be used in a pretty sexist way. Or, if it really is an ‘everywoman’ at the top then it feels more a comment on general misogyny and not specifically on Wollstonecraft herself. Whose work this monument is there to commemorate. Hmm.
I’m going to try thinking about this again after coffee.

Hopefully there’ll be more insight in the video launch tonight on social media mobile.twitter.com/maryonthegreen

Antibles Tue 10-Nov-20 09:33:17

There was a brief discussion of this at the end of the Today programme.

Didn't catch the name of the man who was talking but he 'explained' that 'clothes define people' and she is 'challenging the world'.

FFS angry. Fine mate. You strip naked and see how the world challenging goes. Oh and you'll still most definitely be defined but not in the serious respectful manner I daresay you'd like.

He said the the other bodies are female forms.

It looks like a fountain of a water nymph not a representation of a celebrated writer. They've reduced a feminist icon to tits and arse. I think it bloody says it all really.

I guess a woman with clothes on holding a pen or a book is just too boring. Or too radical...

littlbrowndog Tue 10-Nov-20 09:43:41

What a horrid statue

Conveys nothing about her and seems like she is standing on top of women or shapeless forms

Why is she naked ffs

Catfinkz Tue 10-Nov-20 09:51:01

ThinEndOfTheWedge

*I wonder whether it was a provocative move on her part?*

Yep - there isn’t as much news sculpting a woman - iconic and beloved by women for her visionary and intellect about the emancipation of women - without her tits.

I think there is a difference that you can showing a fictional character how you like - but to show an actual real human being - particularly a woman who lived in highly restrictive times for women and wanted to be equal to men - like this - is perverse.

But the artist doesn’t give a shit about her subject - just wants us talking about it - Which she’s succeeded in.

Yes absolutely- the artist was focused on making some kind of artistic point and completely detached from the importance of what MWC has done, and what a statue might mean to women today. Hackney Council obviously thought it's a woman artist, so we don't have to interrogate whether this is appropriate or not (it's not).

MedusasBadHairDay Tue 10-Nov-20 09:58:37

It's such a let down after that wonderful Fawcett statue!

I can't imagine Wollstonecraft would have approved of the statue, a woman who writes stuff like, "Taught from their infancy, that beauty is woman's sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and, roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison." would want her legacy to be represented by an idealised nude body.

OP’s posts: |
LimitIsUp Tue 10-Nov-20 09:58:56

Jesus - so are we to deduce from this that Mary Wollstonecraft had a nice rack? hmm

Awful choice of commemorative statue

RoyalCorgi Tue 10-Nov-20 10:08:45

I'd expect an artist of Maggi Hambling's stature to know better. This is so depressing.

I'm all over Butterer's suggestion of knitting her a cardi.

WinterIsGone Tue 10-Nov-20 10:20:41

Didn't catch the name of the man who was talking but he 'explained' that 'clothes define people' and she is 'challenging the world'.
I thought that was Maggie Hamblin talking???

TirisfalPumpkin Tue 10-Nov-20 10:26:27

It’s definitely an idealised nude too, look at those perky breasts and flat tummy.

Socrates11 Tue 10-Nov-20 10:41:13

Oh bloody hell, really. How disappointing. Famous woman's representation in the public sphere....back to being naked, not groundbreaking in the slightest just boringly repetative.

Miriam Brody did a great piece in Feminist Theorists (1983) edited by Dale Spender, Mary Wollstonecraft: Sexualities and Women's Rights (1759-1797). Brody writes about Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Woman being a herald for Enlightenment thinking looking for the discovery of truth through reason. Amongst other things Wollstonecraft wrote about the double standard of sexual behaviour in the 18th century that held women to a higher standard than men and was a great advocate for the right of women to be educated seeing it as a tool for improving civic and political emancipation.

Being reduced to a naked 'every woman' has totally missed the great legacy of Mary Wollstonecraft and her writing. What a damn shame. Yes, the statue needs a cardi but it definitely needed a pen.

YetAnotherSpartacus Tue 10-Nov-20 10:42:39

It's fucking awful.

I love the runner up.

It gives Mary the dignity that she deserves.

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