The Personal is Political
Carol Hanisch, "The Personal is Political" speech
Ana Mendieta, Untitled a.k.a. Body Tracks (Blood Sign #2), 1974.











The Feminist Art Program was an experiment in teaching
  • Participants engaged in consciousness raising sessions
  • Collaboration was encouraged with the intention of forming a community
  • Only women allowed in the classroom and studio
Feminist Art Program Cheerleaders, 1971.











Womanhouse catalog

Womanhouse 1972
theme = women's work
aimed to "search out and reveal the female experience...the dreams and fantasies of women as they sewed, cooked, washed and ironed awyay their lives." - Judy Chicago
Womanhouse catalog











Susan Frazier, Nurtura Kitchen, 1972.





















Faith Wilding and Cheryl Zurligen in
Cock and Cunt Play

Faith Wilding performing Waiting











Hannah Wilke, S.O.S. Starification Object Series, 1974.


"People are frightened by female organs because they don't know what they look like" - Hannah Wilke
"I chose gum because it's the perfect metaphor for the American woman- chew her up, get what you want out of her, throw her out and pop in a new piece." - Hannah Wilke











The Dinner Party

Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party, 1974 - 1979.

"Meant to end the ongoing cycle of omission in which women
were written out of the historical record." - Judy Chicago











"A central core, my vagina, that which made me a woman" - Chicago

Emily Dickinson

Sojourner Truth

Dinner Party setting for Mary Wollstonecraft
setting for Emily Dickinson
setting for Virginia Woolf
More place settings











essentialism = the view that, for any specific kind of entity, there is a set of defining characteristics that the entity must possess in order to be recognized as that kind of thing. A classic example is the question of whether a tiger without stripes (an albino) is still a tiger?  The essential properties of a tiger are those without which it is no longer a tiger.























Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party, 1974 - 1979.


"Meant to end the ongoing cycle of omission in which women
were written out of the historical record." - Judy Chicago











Hortense J. Spillers, "Interstices: A Small Drama of Words," critiques Judy Chicago and the Dinner Party, asserting that, as a White woman, Chicago recreates the erasure of the Black feminine sexual self. Spillers calls to her defense the place setting of Sojourner Truth, the only Black woman of color. After thorough review, it can be seen that all of the place settings depict uniquely designed vaginas, except for Sojourner Truth. The place setting of Sojourner Truth is depicted by three faces, rather than a vagina. Spillers writes, "The excision of the female genitalia here is a symbolic castration. By effacing the genitals, Chicago not only abrogates the disturbing sexuality of her subject, but also hopes to suggest that her sexual being did not exist to be denied in the first place... Much like Spillers's critique, Alice noted in Ms. magazine, "Chicago's ignorance of women of color in history (specifically black women painters), focusing in particular on The Dinner Party's representation of black female subjectivity in Sojourner Truth's plate. Walker states, "It occurred to me that perhaps white women feminists, no less than white women generally, can not imagine black women have vaginas. Or if they can, where imagination leads them is too far to go."