A few posts ago, I discussed some of the books that I was reading over the summer. I recently finished reading Mad Women by Jane Maas. This book reflected on what it was like to work as a woman in the advertising industry during the 1960’s. It was written in response to the hit show Mad Men to both prove and disprove its authenticity. Overall, the industry was not welcoming to women, even as some worked their way up from secretaries. Most of the higher-paying jobs in the copywriting and art departments went to men.
The art world experienced the same trend going back to the Baroque period when Artemisia Gentileschi became the first woman artist to gain fame equivalent to her male peers. Women in the 17th century weren’t allowed to study nude models, but Gentileschi’s father was also an artist and let her do so (shoutout to Dr. Brangers’ Art History II class for this fact). She was deserving of the fame and created powerful pieces such as “Judith Slaying Holofernes.” But before this period, I really didn’t see too many female names in my art history book.
Now it is 2015, and overall things have improved for women artists/creatives. They receive the credit and the careers that they deserve. I remember in my high school art class there was only one boy in a class full of girls. Take that, Baroque period. Take that, 1960’s Madison Avenue.
Bottom line is that art knows no gender. I believe that anyone is capable of creating, and I feel extremely lucky to live in a time where, as a woman, I could run my own ad agency if I wanted to. The pressure to fit certain gender standards has decreased and times are a-changin’. The creative world is open to both men and women, as all things should be in my opinion.
Featured image includes excerpts from Mad Women by Jane Maas and Dorling Kindersley’s Art: Over 2,500 Works from Cave to Contemporary.