I have chosen to focus on female diarists and not mentionarguably the most famous, Samuel Pepys because outside of being historicallyinformed, the blank diary as an object is decidedly delegated to women.
Themarketing of diaries is primarily focussed on young girls, drawing onhyper-feminised design elements for sleeves including, but not limited to: useof pink or pastel colours, butterflies, flowers, gems, hearts and princesses. Organisersand office planners do have more variation in colour scheming but are stillpredominantly feminine, shades of red, pink and purple, with the alternativesbeing luminescent or black. Mainstream media enhances societal condemning ofmasculine emotional freedom and expression of any form (diaries are private) byboth the frequent portrayal of women and lack of men regularly using a diary orsimilar device, in films often accompanied by a first-person voiceovernarration to simulate inner monologue. This trope is found in ‘chick-flicks’ inmany different ways, often a revelation of the diaries contents will inducenegative consequences for the author such as conflicts within intimate relationshipsor a more generalised temporary social outcasting. In Mean Girls a group ofteen girls collate a ‘burn book’ to manifest spiteful accusations andcriticisms regarding others who attend the school in which they areself-proclaimed royalty. Evidently, a series of events transpire that see allof them ostracised from their peers, yet all find redemption ultimately. In Sexand the City, lead female Carrie Bradshaw constantly has to withstand thestrain of her innermost thoughts ruining her personal life, specifically thetrials and tribulations of dating. A freelance writer, Carries diary entriestake form within her column for the New York Observer and alongside beingpublished provide the storyline and narration for each episode so the audiencecan follow where the inspiration for Carrie’s honest social observations stemfrom.
Aside from getting Ms Bradshaw into trouble within her TV series, it alsogarnered negative reception from critics deeming the character as narcissisticand self-centred. (FOOTNOTE) It is notCarrie’s thoughts that inspire negative assumptions about her; it is herrecklessness with displaying them outside of their inherently private domain.Angela McRobbie has taken issue not with Carrie’s unapologetic declaration ofself but with the focus of her diaristic content; the fantasies and anxietiessurrounding ‘traditional forms of happiness’ and loneliness that subscribe tobeing with or without a man. Carries commercialised sexual anxieties of the90’s see her posing questions within her narrated articles such as: ‘Are men in their twenties the new designer drug?”Is there a secret cold war between marrieds and singles?”In a city of great expectations, is it time to settle forwhat you can get?”Has monogamy become too much to expect?”Is it better to “fake it” than to be alone?”What are the break-up rules?”Can a relationship bring you back to life?”Can even the hottest relationships stop cold?”Are there still certain things in a relationship one shouldnever say?”Do you have to play games to make a relationship work?”Just how dangerous is an open heart?”Do we need drama to make a relationship work?’ McRobbie puts forward that although not ‘rabidanti-feminist’ ideals lie in the premise, feminism has been taken into accountand implicitly or explicitly disregarded as the character asks ‘what now?’therefore normalising post-feminist gender anxieties so as to re-regulate youngwomen by means of the language of personal choice. In the same essay, McRobbierefers to another “post-feminist” fictional protagonist, Bridget Jones.The film Bridget Jones’s Diary reimagines Jane Austen’sPride and Prejudice (adapted from Helen Fielding’s novel of he same name) and focuseson endearingly clumsy in love Bridget as her life whilst recording thoughts andevents in a neat red diary. What diaries do andachieve for women Diaires contain a vast ranging manner of topics about theself that are free to be explored within the privacy of the page.
Fromdetailing strained relationships, insecurities and secrets, infatuation They also contain narcissistic Diaries enable women to subvert emotional trauma andmicro/daily aggressions through construction of their own narrative. I can only speculate as to how the effects of diary writingwork within those of non-white females because there has been so littleresearch done and little published. ‘even a self-effacing or monotonously repetitivediary embodies a marginal form of resistance against prescriptive notions offemale silence and exclusion from the literary world; as Blodgett again putsit, such a diary “by the daily time that it claims for itself, counters thepatriarchal attack on female identity and self worth”.
‘ (Sarah M Edwards) ‘The diary form has in recent decades been employedas an aid in psychotherapy; many women use the diary as private therapeutictool, in diverse forms. Some use the diary to preserve a sense of identity andthe patterns of everyday existence during a period of upheaval: examplesinclude wartime diaries … SECTION 2 -CRITICISMS In 1986 rosika parker and Griselda Pollock In Re-Viewing Modernist Criticism, Mary Kelly ‘In performance work it is no longer aquestion of investing the object with an artistic presence: the artist ispresent and creative subjectivity is given as the effect of an essentialself-possession….according to supportive critics….the authenticity of bodyart cannot be inscribed at the level of a particular morphology, it must bechiselled into the world in accordance with direct experience. The discourse ofthe body in art is more than a repetition of the eschatological voices ofabstract expressionism; the actual experience of the body fulfils the prophecyof the painted mark.’ (Reviewing modernist criticism Screen, Volume22, Issue 3, 1 September 1981, Pages 41–52) Kelly also comments directly on the image of the woman, ‘when the image of the woman is used in awork of art, that is, when her body or person is given as a signifier, itbecomes extremely problematic. Most women artists who have presented themselvesin some way, visibly, in the work have been unable to find the kind ofdistancing devices which would cut across the predominant representations ofwoman as object of the look, or question the notion of femininity as apre-given entity’ (“No Essential Femininity: A Conversation between Mary Kelly andPaul Smith.” Parachute 26 (1982): 31–35.
) Though Kelly herselfpresented her body in 8 years prior in Antepartum, 1973 (image and footnote) andher diary entries found in PPD explore her emotions concerning femininity andthe role of the female and motherhood. Amelia Jones acknowledges that Kelly’s critique was “highlystrategic at the time in that it served well the purpose of legitimating arigorous antiessentialist feminist art discourse and practice,” – a need forwork like Kelly’s to be made. The radical feminist must aim toresist visual pleasure, according to Griselda Pollock, a key thinker infeminist theory. Implementing and adapting Bertolt Brecht’s theories ofdistanciation to break the seductive bond between spectator and image, making the spectator an agent incultural production and activate him or her as an agent in the world (footnote). This model for Pollock is crucial because objectificationwithin consumerist capitalism is patriarchal. For Pollock, work that does notdistanciate is not effectively feminist. If Brecht asks ‘how should wealienate them?’ Mulvey asks, ‘who is (already) being alienated? Bertolt Brecht’s theory ofdistanciation was adopted and developed by british feminists as a model: theradical feminist practice must aim to displace and provoke the spectator,making him or her aware of the process of experiencing the text and preludingthe spectators identification with the illusionary and idealogical functions ofrepresentation. Framed within this discourse are Laura Mulvey and GriseldaPollock.
As body art practises solicit rather than distance thespectator and they also elicit pleasures it is clear to see how Feministcritics believed this form to be corrupting. seen by Marxian critics to be linked to the corruptinginfluence of commodity culture. Judith Barry and Sandy Flitterman “it does not challenge afixed and rigid category of ‘femininity’.” NARCISSISM The majority of articles on Hannah Wilke’s work begin with acomment on how good-looking she is. (Barbara Schwartz”art:Hannah wilke”, lilpicard”Hannah wilke sexy objects”, noel frackman :h.wilke” This reinforces the patriarchal idea of the gaze, theyshould know better than to objectify her and then lay the blame on her.
“Wilke’s self-exposure, which translates as some kind ofrhetoric of sexual freedom for women, is too facile, too simple a formulation.The work of artists like Cindy Sherman and Aimee Rankin has shown femalesexuality to be the site of as much apin as pleasure. The culturally acceptableforms of abuse of women have been giving way at a painfully slow rate,rendering Wilke’s position both problematic and out of sync. (Catherine Lui”hannah wilke” artfourm 28) These criticisms are based not on the work but on theinterpretation of Wilke being too generically attractive and taking pleasure inperforming herself, Wilke’s intention is not acknowledged and her associationwith 1970s feminist practice sees her labelled essentialist.
She has been deemed naïve and so therefore her work must betoo. Quote about wilke on her work By favouring Cindy Sherman over Wilke I am pressed todifferentiate between these two female performative artists other than By labelling these works asnarcissistic we label them not worthy of serious attention and reading. Elizabeth Hess Wilke Accused of regressivefeminine narcissism by critiques and feminists alike. “narcissism – theexploration and fixation on the self – inexorably leads to an exploration ofand implication in the other: the self turns itself inside out, as it were,projecting its internal structures of identification and desire outward.
Thus,narcissism interconnects the internal and external self as well as the self andthe other.” Emotion= bad Simone De Beavoiur, “it has sometimes been maintained thatnarcissim is the fundamental attitude of all women… Woman not being able tofulfil herself through projects and objectives, is forced to find her realityin the immanence of her person. ” “men can us beautiful, sexy women as neutral objects orsurfaces, but when women use their own faces and bodies, they are immediatelyaccused of narcissism … Because women are considered sex objects, it is takenfor granted that any woman who presents her nude body in public is doing sobecause she thinks she is beautiful. She is a narcissisit and Ancconci, withhis less romantic image and pimply back, is an artist.” Lucy lippard