On Women as Works of Art

I am the father of a magnificent seven-year-old girl. Fatherhood, I’ve come to realize, is a supreme catalyst for the mind. Parenthood forces a new way of thinking on an individual. It expands the mind to include innumerable new ways of thinking. Most recently, I’ve been thinking about the world in which she is growing up, the world of the past that she will never know, and the world she will inhabit as an adult. The following are my incomplete ramblings on the subject.

The female body is a work of art. Few would argue with this, and few would fail to recall the Seinfeld episode in which Elaine describes this very truth (going on to add that “the male body is utilitarian... it’s for gettin’ around”). What we fail to recognize as the true works of art are the mind and soul of the modern woman. Because of this problem, through Industrial Age thinking, we’ve deprived ourselves of remarkable insights as a society, and as individuals.

Far removed as we seem, it wasn’t long ago (a hundred years or so) that women in the workforce was a laughable thought. Unless we knew a woman personally, we had no access to her mind, or to her soul. So, we fed on, and lusted after, what was instantly available to us: her body. When the photograph came around, we photographed women. With the advent of television, we put them on camera. To my knowledge, there were no television shows, or movies for that matter, that showcased the minds of women: for the most part, they were there for aesthetic pleasure. Only the body was visible to the world, and even this level of visibility was reserved for only the select women that were indeed put on camera.  The mind and soul were not available to us.

As a result, history has largely been written by only half of our collective intelligence.

Today, we’ve instigated what is being referred to as the Information Age. So many have access to so much information, and also have a medium with which to disperse their own information. Combine this with the results of so much hard work by so many people in the past half-century, and women are stepping up to an even pedestal with us males, the long-dominant gender. The effect is an exciting one: now that women are just as highly educated as men, just as driven, and society has finally recognized them as just as capable, not only can we see the results of their work, but they are now free to publish their thoughts, findings, and conclusions for all the world to see thanks to this Digital Age we live in.

The dichtomy of thought processes of men and women is as old as our species, but is probably best exemplified in the Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus series of books. Note that I’m oversimplifying here for the sake of making a point: men, traditionally, are logic-driven, and so the collective body of work regarding how we understand our world has been seen through a rational lens. So much of the human experience, though, lies in the emotional, and emotional observations are something at which men are sadly inept in comparison to our counterparts. (Again, this is not to say that all women are devoid of logic, and all men of emotion, but there is a morsel of truth in this massive oversimplification.) So the Information Age will bring us a new lens with which to view the world: the emotional, and it is only by looking at our reality, our experience, through both lenses that we can begin to grasp the full scope of what it means to be a human being.

This is why I'm so hopeful of the world in which my daughter is growing up, and why I expect more growth from it. The challenges, of course, are not over. Far from it. Women must keep doing what they’ve been doing: educating themselves, working their asses off, shedding the “I am only a body” image. We men will have our duties, too. We must begin to lust after the minds of women, as we’ve always lusted after their bodies. That is not to say that men will stop lusting after the female form- it's embedded into our survival instincts, and, as I said, it is a work of art, and works of art should be treated as such. It’s simply time to recognize the mind and soul of women as art of greater measure.