by Ally Bailey
For as long as there have been men in the arts, there have been women as well. The problem is, until now, no one has spotlighted or even recognized most of their work, and it has been buried beneath the masculine sands of time. But the arrival of the internet and the rise of social media has begun to change this, providing women around the world with a more versatile and accessible means of creating art and allowing others to see it. Instead of being held back by the constraints of expensive materials or business contacts, female artists are being given a chance to operate on an equal footing with their male counterparts, broadening the diversity of the arts in a global way.
For a multitude of reasons, women’s work in the arts haven’t been remembered by history. Hannah Hoch, the German Dada artist responsible for the photo-collage craze of the 20th century, barely gets mention in most art history textbooks. Sofia Coppola is consistently outshined by her father in the media, though her work is undoubtedly more complex in many areas. There are too many amazingly talented contemporary female rock stars to count, but it’s Britney Spears and her auto-tuned backbeats that domineer the airwaves. Let’s face it: the standard for women in the art world is to be pretty, made up sidekicks, and not the opening act. But the internet has the potential to be the great equalizer: it has no automatic censorship that pushes women to the periphery, no built in prejudice or bias against the art that women create. The tangible, text-based publishing world of the 20th century that commandeered the arts is on the precipice, it no longer holds sway with the rising generations. The internet allows anyone to create and express as they see fit, pushing the boundaries of possibility to new heights through availability and equal access.
Another vital part of the internet as a mode of creativity is its aspect of intrinsic collaboration and the way in which it provides the space for multiple sources of inspiration to work together. Because computers and the internet are now so widely used, they can be platforms for creative partnerships that would otherwise have been difficult. This is especially applicable for women, most importantly in the realm of breaking with the man-dominated artistic spectrum. There is strength in numbers- if you want to make a change in the gender-slanted media world, the way to do it is by teaming up with fellow artists with a similar cause. The internet allows groups of women to work together to create something that can then be launched into the wider media stratosphere, and this puts them in the formerly unheard of position of recognition through social media.
The end is near for the male cornering of the creative market- to its archaic mediums and chauvinistic ideology. Social media, we hope, will signal the much needed change in this epoch of the shift from the male controlled to a more gender equalized creative product. Artistic women have always been speaking, it’s only now that anyone knows how to listen.