Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Art
Pageant: Manufactured Beauty explores why the female body is abject and how that body is mitigated through sexually objectifying images. This paper discusses how the female body has been objectified in order to “correct” the elements of the body that are considered abject, through an exploration of psychological studies, philosophy and analysis of contemporary art and popular culture.
The effects of these images on the women who view them is often a desire to conform their own bodies to the images in order to gain social acceptance. Clothing and the decoration of the body, it is argued, are the methods women use to objectify and manipulate their bodies.
The doll, in both popular culture as well as in my specific artistic practice, is used to represent the objectified female body. The doll is presented as the so-called perfect woman because it represents a physically ideal female body that has been cleansed of all abject features. In addition, the doll acts as a learning device for the girls who play with it, teaching them through play what the ideal female should look like and how she should act.
Finally, it is argued that the effects of sexual objectification on both girls and women have resulted in unreasonable societal preference for a hybrid between the two age groups. My artistic practice focuses on recreating this uncanny middle ground between girls and women through the creation of dolls that do not easily fit into either category. The disturbingly humorous results critique the absurd expectations society has placed on women
Program Director's Department
Graduate School of Art
Penny, Caitlin, "Pageant: Manufactured Beauty" (2015). Graduate School of Art Theses. ETD 45. https://doi.org/10.7936/K7DZ06HT.