Chicks With Guns: The Links between Violence, Sexuality, and Femininity in Images

By Rosemary Meza-DesPlas.

Published by The International Journal of the Image

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: April 5, 2016 $US5.00

Film images of fetishized-hyper-violent women served as the catalyst for a body of artworks I created in 2012-13. This series is a thoughtful examination of the relationship between violence, sexuality, and femininity. Jean-Luc Godard posited that all he needed to make a movie was a girl and a gun; the same premise seems to be embraced by today’s filmmakers. There is a plethora of images in film which depict women as sexual creatures in hyper-feminine attire toting weapons. Commercial potential is maximized by the trifecta: phallic weapon, sexy woman, and promise of gratuitous violence; however, there is a discrepancy between the mythic image of the female crime fighter/criminal and society’s multifaceted reality. There is something visually disfigured about a woman holding a weapon. The sight runs counterintuitive to "mom and apple pie." The veracity of the pose belies the notion of sexiness and the female figure becomes contorted with a quiet sense of impending violence. The visual perception of female empowerment in the 21st century has been packaged for public consumption with an eye for stylized clothes and hard, shiny steel. Visual artists re-contextualize these images and attempt to reconcile myth with fact.

Keywords: Arts, Viewers, Feminism, Sexuality, Interpretation

The International Journal of the Image, Volume 7, Issue 2, June, 2016, pp.33-39. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: April 5, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 499.329KB)).

Rosemary Meza-DesPlas

Professor of Art, Arts & Sciences Division, El Centro College, Dallas, Texas, USA