Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Art

Reader 1

Susan Rankaitis

Reader 2

Adam Davis

Reader 3

Hollis Cooper

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Rights Information

© 2013 Sara Myung-Su Chun

Abstract

Women of color are still trapped in the colonialist trajectory of Delacroix’s sexualized Women of Algiers (1834) and alienated from the world of Sargent’s Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1882) in contemporary media images that serve to exocitize, fetishize, and commodify non-white female bodies. These historical and contemporary images form a psychological weight both imposed on women of color by outside perceptions and by now-cemented internal perceptions. While women do not passively absorb media images, it cannot be ignored that the hypersexual Asian/American woman in representation “haunts the experiences and perceptions of Asian women” despite attempts to reject these images and efforts to identify empowering aspects of images of sexual power (Shimizu 2007). Ideas and expectations of sexual openness in women of color seep into our consciousness at many moments in our personal lives and cast doubt on Asian/American women’s engagements with sexuality. Resistance of and escape from objectification as an erotic racial signifier of difference are attempted through abstraction and self portraiture.

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