Freedom and Control: Power Dynamics and Gender Prior to beginning work on this d

Freedom and Control: Power Dynamics and Gender
Prior to beginning work on this discussion forum, watch Influential Mestiza Writer: Sor Juana Inés de la CruzLinks to an external site(, Phillis WheatleyLinks to an external site.(, and The Story of Women and Art: Episode 2Links to an external site. Also read and listen to This Is the Amazing Story of Baroque Composer Barbara StrozziLinks to an external site.(
By Day 1 of the week, your instructor will post a discussion question. Respond to your instructor’s question with a first response, due on Day 3. In your first response, embed a multimedia piece, such as a short clip of a video, a link to an audio, or an image that supports or enhances the textual evidence in your response. Remember the multimedia enhances your discussion but does not replace it.
Week 2 Discussion Question: Freedom & Control: Power Structures and Gender Ideology
This week, let’s explore the dynamics of power structures in the lives of creative women during the Baroque Era (17th century) and later, as society—and the market for art—changed dramatically with the rise of the middle class in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Important to an understanding of power structures, is the concept of intersectionality which can be defined as the ways that interconnected social categories such as race, class, and gender interact to form experience and identity, especially as related to power. Some of the power structures were legal (women did not have equal rights under the law, for example); others were class and race biases (poet Phillis Wheatley was bought as a slave by her wealthy owners and Elizabeth Ratcliffe worked as a servant for her wealthy employers, for example). And then, there was the gender ideology that prescribed domestic roles for women, often with little or no education (discussed by Mary Wollstonecraft). And the church whose convents could provide creative spaces for women, but whose control could shift dramatically if women, like Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, overstepped the intellectual and creative boundaries expected of them.
For this question, discuss several factors that discouraged or limited women’s creativity during the 17th and 18th centuries and into the early years of the 19th century. Be sure to consider how different social categories impacted their lives and work (for example, race and class). How did women challenge these power structures that attempted to discourage their creativity? How successful were they with these challenges? Use examples in text and multimedia to illustrate your discussion.
For this post make sure that you take some time to acquaint yourselves to some women composers of the Baroque Period and what little opportunities they had to obtain patronage, as in an institution like the church, a court or a theater. The few that did manage to make a career of composing against adversity had determination and some powerful patrons, and in some cases, a supportive family in addition to great talent, as with Barbara Strozzi of Venice.
Also don’t miss watching A. Vickery’s video on the “Story of Women in Art” Part II. Here you will see a visually stunning video of women artists and craftswomen from the 18th c. in Britain to the end of the 18th c. in France and Italy. This century was known for its great talent in male painters and architects, as in Gainsborough, Hogarth, Reynolds and Robert Adam. However, there were women of enormous talent in both the crafts, painting, sculpture, print making and fashion. How did some of them reach the heights of patronage and fashion to make their own livelihoods? Did they all need aristocratic patronage, as did Elizabeth Vigee Lebrun? How did some influence fashion design in fabrics, like Anna Garthwaite in London? What became of these women latter in their lives? See this video for the answers to these questions.