So many of the negative connotations associated with the word "feminism" have developed out of fear. In reality, these fears are unfounded and only serve to hold all of us—men and women alike—back. While we have come a long way in the United States towards this equality, we haven't come far enough. It takes consistent and persistent effort to overcome the status quo.
With as forward-thinking and progressive as many artists are, it seems like we shouldn't need to discuss the inequality of the sexes in the art world. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. Consider these numbers:
- Women run 25% of art museums with budgets over $15 million
- These female museum directors make $.71 for every $1 their male counterparts make
- 30% of artists shown in NY and LA galleries are women
Maura Reilly's Art News article "Taking the Measure of Sexism: Facts, Figures, and Fixes" takes a closer look at the current state of women in the art world. The Guerrilla Girls, who started their crusade in 1985, are still opening eyes to this inequality. More recently, sites like Gallery Tally are holding galleries accountable for these numbers with an ongoing tally of female representation in the art world. And the New York Times took on the topic with a great article, "The 'F-Word' in the Art World," by Siri Hustvedt.
All of this said, the real problem is not just with the art world. It's a larger, systemic cultural problem. I believe the only way we can address this issue is head on...no more excuses. Society needs to put more women in positions of power (politicians, CEOs, museum directors, etc.) to help make change possible. Parents need to raise their daughters to be unapologetic about insisting on equality and raise their sons to support and respect women as equals. And above all, women need to stand together.