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Playing the Field

Women’s Access to Cultural Production
  • Mary Eagleton

Abstract

Generally speaking, the women artist or the woman author has not considered herself or been considered by others as the one lucky bastard in a thousand. The wonderful cartoon by Guerilla Girls, entitled ‘Advantages’, features a woman artist, brush in one hand, looking intently at her canvas. She is also pregnant, has a saucepan on her head and a toddler pulling at her skirts. The caption reads: ‘Why have there been no great women artists? — ‘“Great questions by great men” series’. Moreover, in the two stories that are the focus of this chapter, Alice Walker’s ‘Everyday Use’ and Antonia Byatt’s ‘Art Work’, it is not clear if the women involved are ‘artists’ or their work ‘art’.2 Whether it is possible or desirable to construct the women and their work in this way is precisely the problem the stories confront. Becoming that figure or earning that title for one’s work is intimately connected with being able to authorise oneself and one’s activities. Walker’s story concerns some quilts, their production, their multiple meanings and their rightful ownership. Dee, the successful, educated daughter of a poor, black family from the Southern States, makes one of her infrequent trips back to her mother’s house to claim the quilts which she wants to display in her own home.

Keywords

Cultural Production Symbolic Capital Magazine Article Pure Possibility Symbolic Violence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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Copyright information

© Mary Eagleton 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Eagleton

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