A Comparison Of The Representation Of Women In The Northern Renaissance And Modern Day: The Occult, Female Sexuality, And The Media
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
AbstractIn this essay I will compare depictions of women in Northern Renaissance prints and the modern media in order to reveal the roots of stereotypical representations of women. Women who go against the status quo are represented as witches so as to prey on societal fears of female sexuality and dominance. Printmaking and the modern media both represent women with a binary understanding of femininity. How these stereotypes of women are represented in the media today have roots in Northern Renaissance prints that were heavily influenced by the Malleus Maleficarum, the first treatise on witches and the occult. This treatise utilized gendered stereotypes to describe witches, thus generating a fear of the occult that manifests as a fear of female power, particularly as it pertains to sexuality. Part one focuses on the Malleus Maleficarum as it was applied to various works of art during the 15th and 16th centuries. Part two will prove that the iconographic references utilized during the Northern Renaissance have continued on as unconscious bias within society, manifesting in the way women are represented in the media. Understanding these roots is an important step towards understanding why women have historically been relegated to a second-class status.