chapter  43
12 Pages

FEMINIST AESTHETICS

ByKAREN HANSON

Feminism can inflect aesthetics in a variety of ways. This is not merely because feminism, as a political outlook or program, may take a number of forms, though this is surely true and relevant. But because ‘aesthetics’ may mean the branch of philosophy dealing with the creation, nature and reception of art, or a theory of beauty and its appreciation, or the study of sensuous perception, so ‘feminist aesthetics’ may convey, among other possibilities, the practice of searching for and remedying the exclusion of women from the history of art, or the critical examination of aesthetic terms and theories for male bias, or the development of alternative, ‘woman-centered’ accounts of art, its creation and its effects, or the interjection of gendersensitivity into accounts of sensuous perception. Feminist aesthetics may challenge or it may supplement other aesthetic traditions, methodologies and conclusions, and various versions of feminist aesthetics may be at odds with one another.