Gender and the Artist Archetype

Congratulations to Doctoral Candidate Diana Miller who recently published an article that reviews scholarship on gender inequalities among creative and artistic producers. The article is currently behind a paywall but here is the citation and abstract.

Miller, D. L. (2016) Gender and the Artist Archetype: Understanding Gender Inequality in Artistic Careers. Sociology Compass, 10: 119131. doi: 10.1111/soc412350.

Women artists are systematically disadvantaged across cultural fields. Although some of these disadvantages resemble gender inequalities in non-artistic work, such as lower pay, underrepresentation, work–family conflict, and symbolic devaluation, others are unique to artistic careers. In this essay, I extend Acker’s work on the implicit gendering of the ideal-typical worker to show how gender implicitly organizes social expectations around artists and artistic work. I highlight themes emerging from past research on gender relations in artistic careers, which suggest that the ideal-typical artist builds on a masculine model in at least three ways. First, collective understandings of creative genius center a masculine subject. Second, bias in aesthetic evaluations systematically favors men over women. Third, the structure of artistic careers, particularly the need for entrepreneurial labor and self-promotion, requires artists to engage in behaviors that are more socially acceptable in men than in women.