Visual art is the most recognizable form of creativity, I believe. In Piirto’s sixth chapter of her book Understanding Creativity, she explores what visual artistry brings to society, whether it is through common creative ideals or other things.
As a feminist who reads about and discusses the construction of gender roles, it was fascinating to see what she had to say about visual artists being androgynous in their practice. Artists have end goals of creating something that emits a message or feeling. Feelings and messages don’t innately have a gender, so it makes sense that artists combine the characteristics that are typically denoted to a gender different than their own. Piirto brought up other studies that showed how the “psychology of creative men is a feminine psychology by comparison with less creative men; the psychology of creative women is a masculine psychology by comparison with less creative women” (150–151). Frieda Kahlo, one of the most creative women known to the visual art world, even tried to emit the essence of being a son to her father since he lost a son to infantile death. I find it fascinating that even in a world wear gender isn’t so explicitly a part of a job, the construction of a binary is incorporated in how we quantify creativity and how it is expressed. It just shows that it is easier for our brains to put things in categories like that.
It was interesting to see that Piirto pointed out how this androgyny tied into pacifism. Artists are more into loving and caring than fighting because of their ability to express emotions in multiple ways. Men usually are the ones to decide to go to war because of the idea that men aren’t in tune with their feelings as much, so creative people have a womanly ideal of talking and emoting things before violence becomes involved.
Creativity may be seen so clearly in visual arts and the artists that create it, but feministic ideas and the construction of gender is still so deeply intertwined to how we define this creativity.