Thursday, 2 May 2013

Feminism within design.

Just a few snapshots of the last chapter i read about 'feminism within design'. These are all quite modern views so in essence they are actually 'postmodern' views.

In this chapter it clearly states how the world of art is a male dominated world and that throughout history women have been forgotten. It also says that feminine artists sometimes get recognised under their husbands name instead if their own. This i think was quite a modernist view on female artists and recently with the works of Barbera Kruger and Griselda Pollock women are starting to become a lot more noticed now. Some artists are bringing back the modern traditional materials like oil paints. This is going back to what i said about how post modernity is all about recycling what once was and reinventing it. Male artists are being challenged by Females that have taken a more postmodern approach to art with their materials. Photography and other art forms are becoming a lot more popular and the idea of repetition is being used a lot more. This shows how postmodern sort of shows the end to modernism as nobody really paints like monet anymore.
I really like how they have talked about this master narratives not benefitting women that well as it's not just female artists who are using more postmodern materials, there is a chance they could once again be overshadowed by patriarchy.

Feminist theory video

This is a media presentation about 'Feminist theory' that i think was meant for some sort of lesson. (It has homework tasks).. Even though this doesn't talk about post modernism is talks a lot about very recent feminists and theories which are very post modern. I really like how easy this makes the differences between feminism and post feminism. There isn't a lot of terminology within this but it does talk about objectifying women a within media and they also talk about Nostalgia culture with looking at the style's of Amy winehouse who dress in a '50's' style but her lifestyle was ultimately male. This presentation looks at 'Queer Theory' and 'Binary Opposites' which is something that i really find interesting.

By watching this video it has given a simple yet clear understanding of terms within Feminism and Post feminism.. and ultimately shows that the Post feminism and people in todays society take a more post modern approach to everything, from actors in movies, to celebrities etc.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Modern Vs Postmodern

                                         Modernist Art. 
                   Vincent Van Gogh - 'Peasant Shoes'

                                          Postmodern art. 

                   Andy Warhol - 'Diamond Dust shoes'

When reading a chapter about feminism within art movements the essay talks about these two paintings being the most prominent examples between modernism and post-modernism. It's easy to tell which one is which, as from everything i've learned so far about postmodernity about opposing binaries is made so clear within all of Warhols work.

Fredric Jameson in this article doesn't actually define postmodern art but characterises it as 'sensationalism, titilation, frilliness, pastiche, dumbness and narcissism'. 'It's sole ambition is to please. It has no moral ambition...'
'Postmodern theory And Feminist Art Practice' - Janet Wolff. 

I can see what he means, well if Modernist paintings are all about expressionism, truth, the traditional then postmodern art seems to be it's exact opposite.

I can also see how postmodernity is more about repetition instead of 'one-of-a-kind' pieces. And i also really like how there is a lot of irony now regarding Warhols pieces as they designed back in the 80's have now been re-used and repeated on consumerist products and sold cheaply. I have come to the conclusion that Irony is one of the main traits of postmodernity and the idea of the post-modern recycling what has been is an aspect i find extremely interesting especially within the likes of Art and fashion.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Still trying to get my head round this..

Postmodern Feminism

Postmodern Feminists have built on the ideas of Foucault, de Beauvoir, as well as Derrida and Lacan (who I'm not going to talk about). While there is much variation in Postmodern feminism, there is some common ground. Postmodern Feminists accept the male/female binary as a main categorizing force in our society. Following Simone de Beauvoir, they see female as having being cast into the role of the Other. They criticize the structure of society and the dominant order, especially in its patriarchal aspects. Many Postmodern feminists, however, reject the feminist label, because anything that ends with an "ism" reflects an essentialist conception. Postmodern Feminism is the ultimate acceptor of diversity. Multiple truths, multiple roles, multiple realities are part of its focus. There is a rejectance of an essential nature of women, of one-way to be a woman." Poststructural feminism offers a useful philosophy for diversity in feminism because of its acceptance of multiple truths and rejection of essentialism." (p. 19, Olson).

This is in contrast to some other feminist theoretical viewpoints. Feminist empiricism, or liberal feminism, sees equal opportunity as the primary focus. They are concerned with "leveling the playing field." It does not question the nature of the knowledge or the structure of human interactions, but rather the events that go on within that structure. Accepting the idea that there is a single knowable truth has led liberal feminists to use the accepted methodologies in research, believing that they just need to be used in different ways.

Radical feminism has focused on how deeply entrenched the male/female division is in society. Women have been oppressed and discriminated against in all areas and their oppression is primary. Their focus has been to detail how the male dominated society has forced women into oppressive gender roles, and has used women's sexuality for male profit. Radical feminist proposals for change include creating woman-only communities to embracing androgyny. Criticism of radical feminism include that it suggests that men and women are two separate species with no commonality and that it romanticizes women and interactions between women.

So after struggling yesterday to sum up the bloody book i've just finished reading i managed to find these couple of paragraphs that sum up Postmodern feminism extremely well. This backs up what i was saying about self-reflection and how women are questioning the 'feminism' movement. From this and the book i know that there are 2 main theories about women, one positive and one negative. The negative known as 'the other' suggests women as inferior beings. Theorists like Lacan back this up.

I have now come to terms that with modernism and postmodernism, feminism and post feminism act on opposing binaries, just like masculinity and femininity. These movements need to be based on opposition to work and even though 'post' means after, it's extremely clear that they need to co-exist together like i have stated previously.

I really like how this section has highlighted different 'types' of feminists and how they see the discourse between masculinity and femininity. 'Feminisms' is probably the better term to use as it shows there are lots of different opinions and 'waves' within feminism, and there isn't just one basic/central definition. This in itself is extremely postmodern and i think that this is one of the reasons it has been so hard to define, as like post modernism you can't just pinpoint it to one specific thing.

Another Comparisons Table

Another table of comparisons between modernism and postmodernism by Martin Irvine, 2003 
Hope it helps explain stuff.

The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism

I've been coming across the theories of Frederic Jameson a lot lately so I thought it best that I read some of his work. Jameson talks about postmodernism as a movement in the arts and culture that  corresponds to the developing politics and economics based around transnational consumer economies and the global scope of capitalism, "late capitalism".

Daniel Clowes depiction of Jameson

 Below is an extract from Postmodernism or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (Jameson,1991):

The last few years have been marked by an inverted millenarianism in which premonitions of the future, catastrophic or redemptive, have been replaced by senses of the end of this or that (the end of ideology, art, or social class; the “crisis” of Leninism, social democracy, or the welfare state, etc., etc.); taken together, all of these perhaps constitute what is increasingly called postmodernism. The case for its existence depends on the hypothesis of some radical break or coupure, generally traced back to the end of the 1950s or the early 1960s.
As the word itself suggests, this break is most often related to notions of the waning or extinction of the hundred-year-old modern movement (or to its ideological or aesthetic repudiation). Thus abstract expressionism in painting, existentialism in philosophy, the final forms of representation in the novel, the films of the great auteurs, or the modernist school of poetry (as institutionalised and canonised in the works of Wallace Stevens) all are now seen as the final, extraordinary flowering of a high-modernist impulse which is spent and exhausted with them. The enumeration of what follows, then, at once becomes empirical, chaotic, and heterogeneous: Andy Warhol and pop art, but also photorealism, and beyond it, the “new expressionism”; the moment, in music, of John Cage, but also the synthesis of classical and “popular” styles found in composers like Phil Glass and Terry Riley, and also punk and new wave rock (the Beatles and the Stones now standing as the high-modernist moment of that more recent and rapidly evolving tradition); in film, Godard, post-Godard, and experimental cinema and video, but also a whole new type of commercial film (about which more below); Burroughs, Pynchon, or Ishmael Reed, on the one hand, and the French nouveau roman and its succession, on the other, along with alarming new kinds of literary criticism based on some new aesthetic of textuality or √©criture ... The list might be extended indefinitely; but does it imply any more fundamental change or break than the periodic style and fashion changes determined by an older high-modernist imperative of stylistic innovation?

A strong belief of Jameson is that in postmodernism there is no originality, only mimicry and pastiche. He believes that there is no longer any individualism; that all signifiers circulate and recirculate prior to existing images and styles: "in a world in which stylistic innovation is no longer possible, all that is left is to imitate dead styles, to speak through the masks and with the voices of the styles in the imaginary museum" (Jameson).
Jameson discusses nostalgia in his work, stating that in the postmodern, history is represented in pop-culture through the use of nostalgic fantasy images of that past. We view that past through idealism.
He states that history has become a "style" in the postmodern, that historical representations have blended with nostalgia:
"the disappearance of a sense of history, the way in which our entire contemporary social system has little by little begun to lose its capacity to retain its own past, has begun to live in a perpetual present and in a perpetual change that obliterates traditions of the kind which all earlier social formations have had in one way or another to preserve... The information function of the media would thus be to help us to forget, to serve as the very agents and mechanisms of our historical amnesia" (Jameson).

Saturday, 27 April 2013

More light reading...

So since i have been looking at feminism and post feminism within post modernity.. i thought, what better way to learn than to read a book with loads of pictures.
Oh how wrong i was.
This book, called 'An Introduction to Post feminism' is one of the most difficult books to understand.
It's taken me ages to get through it all, and after everything i still have difficulty understanding what everything means.

These are some pages from the book. 

Firstly Feminism stems from Modernity and if i had to define Post Feminism from this book in just a few sentences i would say that it goes against some traditions of Feminism. Post modernity has enabled waves of feminism to evolve and made feminists self-reflect and question their reasoning for challenging patriarchy. In this book it explains about theories like the Oedipus complex and 'Cyborg' theory, which theorists and psycho-analysists like Lacan & Freud have used to understand feminism and the physical and social differences between male and female.


The word ‘post’ in postmodernism suggests that it comes after modernism, however both postmodernism and modernism both exist together at the same time. Modernism seeks to give meaning and solid definitions to what things are while postmodernism denies the rules laid by modernism.
Postmodernism denies the existance of scientifc, philosophical or religious truths to explain everything for everybody, while modernism seeks to give meaning and solid definitions to what things are while postmodernism denies the rules laid by modernism. It allows for personal interpretation, with personal experience being placed above abstract principles which paradoxically means that postmodernism can not truly be defined.
Postmodernism spans various different disciplines including art, culture, architecture, literature, entertainment, technology ect, and focuses on de-structered humanity meaning that disorder and fragmentation are acceptable represention of reality for postmodernists. Modernists viewed this view of fragmented humanity as bad while postmodernists seems to celebrate this, accepting ambiguity.
There are no final truths or definitions in postmodernism, it is an attempt to give new meanings and interpretations to everything.
Throughout the coming weeks we are going to explore how postmodernism is evident in various different aspects in our society in an attempt to better understand what postmodernism is and how it affects our lives. We will be looking at examples of postmodernism in pop-culture and entertainment, feminism, architecture, and art and design movements.