Who Does She Think She Is?

by chunte4

While exploring the lives of the five artists in “Who Does She Think She Is,” the movie kept returning to the private family lives of each of the women, and for almost all of them, uncovers the reality of divorce, or fundamental flaw in the relationship between the women and their husbands. This struck me as odd, but not because I was surprised by their husband’s resistance to their unconventional and time consuming occupations. This fear of empowered women and uncertainty regarding their place in the marriage was one of the central elements to the backlash against all three waves of feminism. Rather, I was confused as to why, in the present day, divorce amongst female artists would be considered an “epidemic.” Such a trend does not get brought up nearly as much with reagards to other professional women such as surgeons, lawyers, teachers etc, who all have equally, if not more time consuming careers than those of women artists. When talking about these women most media sources refer to them in the abstract: they ask if women can have it all not “women surgeons” or “women lawyers.” Out of all the career choices a women can make, everything I have read or watched points to the life of an artist as the most isolating. The movie never really explores what makes this job unique as it focuses more on the women themselves and their art, which I personally have no problem with. However I still would like to someday find an answer to this question so that I’m not left with only my assumptions, which point to the tendency of women artists to be possessing of radical thought and unconventional ways of living, which openly reject the traditional standards and values of the American nuclear family. Of course, as the movie showed, exceptions such as Camille Musser and Janis Wunderlich exist so this theory may not be altogether accurate. In the future I will try to seek out a definite answer as I think the conclusions will probably be more interesting and complex than what I can gather with only a small glance into the world of the established woman artist.

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