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Gendered Museums

In: Other Topics

Submitted By anort777
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The museum offers a space to the public for education, meditation, reflection of the self and others. The issue of gender challenges, if not simply questions, an institution with a profound sense of power in deciding what makes history, what is representative of culture, and how individuals can be identified among a greater scheme of social construction. Feminist critique reveals museums to be generally colonising spaces of the female body. In a profession now largely occupied by women, there appears to still be a gender disproportion in directorial and curatorial positions. ‘The women’s movement has largely bypassed museums’ (Glaser & Zeneton 1994). Even with noticeable changes to gender perspectives in Western society, women have much to remodel in a museological world that is still dipped in a long-established and well-governed androcentrism.

Museums are extraordinarily powerful institutions across the globe today. They present the past and present in ways that rule entire schools of thought, dictate truth and notions of common sense, and shape the ways in which people perceive and interpret meaning through culture and history. In assessing the status of modern museum culture, it is important to understand the politics by which an institution runs and governs itself. This issue is often overlooked in museum studies; historically museums have acted at their own discretion without much, if any, cultural, political, or social supervision; thus, despite a reputation for being objective, museums are themselves very subjective inventions of modern civilisation (Hooper-Greenhill 1992:3). Upon personal or organisational taste, certain objects are represented and interpreted, revealing what a widely respected educational machine values as important and true. It is through feminist critique of the museum that we see, like most structures in society, the museum is a...

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