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Gérôme, A Roman Slave Market, 1884

She repeatedly appears in front of us. She does not have much cloths on. More often, she does not have any cloths on at all. She can be on the water, in the forest, or in her own chamber. She is lying there, as if her body contained no strength. May it be her voluptuous flesh, or the linen or water or grass this silky flesh is resting upon, they all feel so soft in the eyes of the viewers. You are almost drawn to lie down with them, or on them... such reproductions of her image show us one thing: a woman’s body is (and can be) widely open to her (male) painters and viewers.

Intriguingly, she herself is aware that her naked body is being viewed. She does not resist it. She even flirts with us. Men utilize their own eyes to survey women. Women utilize men’s eyes to survey themselves. In such process, women join men in turning themselves to an “object of seeing”.

20th July 2016
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In ancient China, women were excluded from any standard education. Women did not need to know how to read and write since their main function in society was to be virtuous wives and caring mothers. It was even considered better if a woman did not know much, as she would not be able to challenge any man, especially her husband. Therefore, there was never any formal education for women until the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) and only those parents who were rich enough to “waste” money on the education of their daughters would hire private tutors for their girls.

Even though poor women were deprived of the right to receive any standard education, some still found a way. They created their own language—nushu; as of now, it is the only written language developed by women that has been discovered in the world.

14th July 2016
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