The Empowered Ingénue

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  • Title: The Empowered Ingénue: Women Stepping Out as Solo Performers Onstage
  • Author(s): Melanie Enderle
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Arts in Society
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Arts Theory and History
  • Keywords: Gender Issues, Women’s Empowerment, Male Gaze, Entertainment, Femme Fatale, Class and Society
  • Volume: 13
  • Issue: 3
  • Year: 2018
  • ISSN: 2326-9952 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-1779 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2326-9952/CGP/v13i03/17-35
  • Citation: Enderle, Melanie. 2018. "The Empowered Ingénue: Women Stepping Out as Solo Performers Onstage." The International Journal of Arts Theory and History 13 (3): 17-35. doi:10.18848/2326-9952/CGP/v13i03/17-35.
  • Extent: 19 pages

Abstract

Images of female performers provide insight into the evolving roles of women as they have sought parity with men. Especially now, at this time of heightened awareness of men’s sexual behavior toward women, deconstruction of sexual biases is important to affecting change. This paper adds to the lexicon of the evolutionary process of women and details how the gradual achievements of women have been reflected in paintings of female entertainers in the United States over the past 170 years, from the time when the ideal of the New Woman challenged traditional conventions of proper female decorum. As women in society took more agency in their lives, solo female performers emerged and subverted restrictive gender codes. Close study of images by male artists can provide insight into society’s reactions to woman’s emergence into the public realm, and it is important to evaluate conventional images by male artists for their encoded gender significance rather than just for their perceived genius.