Date of Award
Master of Arts in Art History and Visual Culture
Professor Kelly Scheffer
Dr. Melissa Elmes
Dr. Jonathan Walz
This thesis looks at examples of women’s bodies and their fluids being used as both subject and media in performance art. These selected works of art are analyzed for how the inclusion of these images and issues creates resistance through visibility in a society that seeks to sanitize and commodify women’s bodies. This thesis will focus on women’s bodies as a medium in performance art. It will also describe menstrual blood as a medium and how this seeks to highlight and make visible and normal this important and natural bodily function. It also looks at the use of other bodily fluids such as breast milk and how the inclusion of these fluids in feminist art creates a space for discussion of these topics. Feminist artists have used these media as an act of resistance in a patriarchal society and art world. Women were historically excluded from the art world and did not have the same access to training and exposure to money, materials, and publicity as male artists. The second wave of feminism in the 1960s and 1970s and all the changes these activists sought to accomplish bled into the art world and helped artists create a space for women’s bodies, art, and ideas not just in the art world, but in society as a whole. Feminist artists have used these media as an act of resistance in a patriarchal society and art world.
Page, Laura Alice, "Bodies, Blood, and Fluids as Resistance in Feminist Art" (2021). Theses. 48.