Date of Award
Thesis - Open Access
Master of Arts (MA)
In recent decades, attention to textile art has flourished. The growth of contemporary studies committed to revising fiber’s hierarchical categorization represents a discursive turn heavily weighted within feminist inquiry. The interrelation between textile techniques and constructs of femininity and domesticity was at the base of a robust interdisciplinary field of feminist theory developing around the 1970s in the US. Often referred to as the second wave of feminism, this era experienced scholars and artists proposing the medium’s capacity to counter the elusive genre’s marginalization and, by extension, presenting textile’s ability to subvert notions of gender difference. This analysis aims to highlight the limitations of the frameworks driving mainstream Euro-American feminism during the second wave, specifically the problematic assumption that the disadvantages faced by women of color are the same as those of white women. This study investigates the limits of second wave feminism with regards to classed, raced, sexualized, and gendered constructs that influence how textiles have been critically presented since the 1970s. Highlighting the contemporary practices of Emma Amos, Faith Ringgold, Tschabalala Self, and Chiffon Thomas, the analysis reveals textile’s capacity for restitching history, engaging with subjecthood, examining identity, and communicating the complexity of the material and its alignment with the complexity of lived experiences historically omitted from canonical consideration.
Friedman, Meredith, "Contemporary Textiles: Unraveling White Feminist Discourse" (2021). MA Theses. 111.