chapter  6
4 Pages

Secondary Ideas

ByKarina Jakubowicz

A significant secondary theme in Griselda Pollock's Vision and Difference is the concept of "woman as sign". This phrase was developed by Elizabeth Cowie* in her article of the same name in the feminist magazine m/f. It emphasized the importance of signifying systems in the production of gender difference, and suggested that images of women were often signs and symbols for a variety of social meanings, instead of being artistic representations of a human being. The chapter receives far less attention than the rest of the work because it is less coherent, and shifts the focus awkwardly from painted matter to film and photography. Pollock's work on Elizabeth Siddall has received attention in light of Pollock's argument that women are used as signifiers. Pollock's argument that women in art are used as symbols relates to her overarching claim that paintings use a visual language (semiotics) in order to express complex ideological ideas.