Judy Chicago’s Representation of Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger, a powerful strong-willed women of the 1900’s was one of the women Judy Chicago chose to represent through her work of art, The Dinner Party. Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party was not what I expected to see as I turned the corner to enter the installation.

I walked around The Dinner Table searching for Margaret Sanger’s plate anxious to se what it looked like, and when I found it although taken aback by its abstractness it made sense to me and I was able to see Margaret Sanger in the plate that stared me in the face. It was red, the color of anger, passion and furry, emotions that I think described Sanger correctly, as she was angry that women had no choice over their own bodies and she passionately fought for their rights.

The shadowing on the plate was in black, which to me signified the struggle of women and of Sanger as they fought for the rights that belonged to them. As I stared at the plate, it began to look like something had exploded from the center of the piece and that something was her anger. To me the anger had been kept inside for so long that it boiled over and exploded and spilled into the plate red with fury and blackened with pain. I believed that Judy Chicago accurately portrayed Margaret Sanger in her dinner plate collection, but one thing I questioned was why did almost every plate have some form of vaginal imagery on it? I thought perhaps it was to show that even though all of these women had the same body parts they could still be so radically different from each other and from those around them in their time, but at the same time I questioned why wouldn’t these women want to be seen as more than just a body part, wouldn’t these women want to be seen for their brain and intellect and not for what laid between their legs?

But it was brought to my attention that women were portrayed in art works with their breasts and buttocks showing and these things were seen as beautiful, but Judy Chicago wanted the vagina to be a body part revealed in art and seen as beautiful and I think the vaginal imagery in her pieces says a lot about the women they are molded after and a lot about the time period those women came from. Margret Sanger was fearless and fought for the rights of those that couldn’t fight themselves or didn’t know any better and it is because of her persistence that women have the right to contraceptives and the right to choose, and I think that she truly deserves her spot at The Dinner Table.

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