Title

“What a Woman Is”: Marianne and the Illusion of Representation in France

Presenter Information

Sophia Vojta

Department

Arts, Languages, and Philosophy

Major

Undeclared

Research Advisor

Merfeld-Langston, Audra L.

Advisor's Department

Arts, Languages, and Philosophy

Abstract

In France, liberty and justice have been personified for centuries in the image of a traditionally Caucasian woman called Marianne. She has come to represent the French Republic and the ideal French woman. Since the 1970s, French women have been chosen as visual and thematic models for sculptures and postage stamps featuring the image of Marianne. Although modern representations have become more ethnically diverse, women of non-Caucasian backgrounds who model as Marianne are still subsumed by the abstract ideals that she represents. Though Marianne herself seems more diverse, true inclusivity is only an illusion; this demonstrates the power structures that still shape Marianne’s iconography.

Biography

Sophia Vojta is a dually enrolled student at Missouri S&T. She is a Peer Learning Assistant for Physics and a member of the Missouri S&T Chamber Choir. She plans to major in Physics and English.

Research Category

Arts and Humanities

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Document Type

Presentation

Award

Arts and humanities oral presentation, First place

Location

Ozark Room

Presentation Date

16 Apr 2014, 10:00 am - 10:30 am

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Apr 16th, 10:00 AM Apr 16th, 10:30 AM

“What a Woman Is”: Marianne and the Illusion of Representation in France

Ozark Room

In France, liberty and justice have been personified for centuries in the image of a traditionally Caucasian woman called Marianne. She has come to represent the French Republic and the ideal French woman. Since the 1970s, French women have been chosen as visual and thematic models for sculptures and postage stamps featuring the image of Marianne. Although modern representations have become more ethnically diverse, women of non-Caucasian backgrounds who model as Marianne are still subsumed by the abstract ideals that she represents. Though Marianne herself seems more diverse, true inclusivity is only an illusion; this demonstrates the power structures that still shape Marianne’s iconography.