Women in the Picture: What Culture Does with Female Bodies

Art historian Catherine McCormack challenges how culture teaches us to see and value women, their bodies, and their lives.

Venus, maiden, wife, mother, monster — women have been bound so long by these restrictive roles, codified by patriarchal culture, that we scarcely see them. Catherine McCormack illuminates the assumptions behind these stereotypes whether writ large or subtly hidden. 

She ranges through Western art — think Titian, Botticelli, and Millais — and the image-saturated world of fashion photographs, advertisements, and social media, and boldly counters these depictions by turning to the work of women artists like Morisot, Ringgold, Lacy, and Walker, who offer alternative images for exploring women’s identity, sexuality, race, and power in more complex ways.

By Catherine McCormack
240 pages
Published by W. W. Norton & Company, 2021
5.5 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches