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  • Sambhavi Sinha

Why Our History Has No Female Artists? Lets Try To Understand
'The Guerrilla Girls Talk Back' by the Guerrilla Girls, 1989

If you’re feeling particularly anti-feminist, you might say that women are just not as creative as the menfolk were. Women were not as artistically inclined, were not as skilled, ‘were meant to stay in the kitchen’.

Or you might go in the other direction entirely and say, ‘you’re just making a mountain out of a molehill, there are plenty of women artists throughout history.’

The stats can disprove only the second statement, sadly. But that's what the rest of the article is for.

A graph depicting the number of male vs. female artists represented in the Museum of Modern Art's Permanent Exhibit
MOMA NY - Permanent Exhibit Male vs. Female Artists Comparison

The artistic merits of male vs. female artists is a very subjective topic, because the interpretation of art in and of itself is highly subjective. We are not having a feminist debate today. This is a purely factual investigation. That being said; let’s take a walk.

What do we know about women? About their status in society?

The answers to that are a bit all over the place, but for the most part we can agree that women in general have enjoyed far fewer rights and liberties than men. Things are getting better, though. In a very ‘two steps forward one step back’ kind of way, but still. Progress is progress. Certain recent (extreme) regressions aside (*cough* Afghanistan *cough*).

Now you’re probably thinking, “Hey, you said this wasn’t a feminist article, why are we talking about women’s rights? You tricked me into reading about feminism!” To which I say; context is everything, lads. No one thing or phenomenon exists in isolation, especially not art. Art is linked to socio-cultural-political-environmental-etc. factors in many ways, the least of which is for those subjects to serve as inspiration.