Artist Who Objectifies Women Declares Himself a Feminist

British artist Allen Jones seems to be going all-in on his Halloween costume this year. In an interview with The Guardian today, Jones—known for his sculptures of semi-dressed women in bondage gear, contorted to look like household objects—has declared himself a feminist.

That’s got to be his Halloween costume, right? RIGHT??

Appears not.

Jones, a well-established and respected figure in the art community, first drew feminist ire in the late ’60s with his three-piece seriesHatstand, Table and Chair. The series features fiberglass models clad in black leather and stilettos, tapping into the “circus, or stripper language” (his words, not mine). Their bodies are squished, the torsos contorted, and—all the while—their expressions remain placid. As their titles suggest, the women are arranged as furniture pieces; they’ve quite literally been objectified.

In The Guardian interview, Jones sidesteps his abhorrent perpetuation of misogyny and attempts to justify the series by self-identifying as a feminist:

I can see [that Hatstand, Table and Chair] are perfect images for an argument about the objectification of women, and if someone thinks that, it is very difficult to gainsay it. But it is a coincidental and unfortunate reading that has nothing to do with the work. As an artist, I have a responsibility to art. As a human being, I have a responsibility to society. I was brought up a socialist and I think of myself as a feminist and I don’t need to defend my political stance.

You’re right: you don’t need to defend your political stance. But imagine a world where artists’ supposedly feminist ideologies would seep into their art and—rather than continue to objectify women—create an alternative narrative for women’s bodies. How idealist and naïve of me. While we normally applaud celebrities announcing their feminism, here we’ll take a hard pass.

Happy Halloween?

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Toni licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.



Brianna Kovan is a reader and writer from the Midwest. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English.