In the 1980s, a series of posters began appearing on the streets of New York. The most arresting one — a yellow-and-crimson image of Ingres’s “Odalisque” wearing a gorilla mask that demanded, “Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum?” — informed the viewer that “less than 5 percent of the artists in the Modern Art sections are women, but 85 percent of the nudes are female.”
I repeat the quote: “...less than 5 percent of the artists in the Modern Art sections are women, but 85 percent of the nudes are female.”
Yes! Someone has finally vocalized a pet peeve of mine. Cinema as well as the fine arts has displayed more nude scenes with women - painted, sculpted or directed by men - than nude scenes of men (unless the male artists are gay, in which case we see nude men for obvious reasons). While there might be times when the exhibition of the female body truly furthers artistic expression, almost 100% of the time full nudity is optional to get the point across. So why the choice to bare female flesh?
It makes sense that a full-blooded male artist would delight in gazing upon a naked female draped on his couch for days on end. Or that a male director would get a rise out of watching his star actress bare all with the added titillation of crew members watching (even a closed shoot needs a cameraman and other key crew).
While this time honored act of "celebrating" the female body is viewed by the art community as simply tradition at its finest, a hard and sober look at the trend speaks of other traditions - such as the subjugation of women as sexual objects, breeders of children, or slaves.
In my part of the world, women in all fields are on the rise, but the old boys club still rules...and always will until over half of the population (women) speak up loud and clear.