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Boundaries of intimacy for women artists in France (2006-2016)

Anaïs Chevillot

Research Framework: This article is based on a doctoral research in sociology conducted with contemporary French women artists.

Objectives: The goal is to demonstrate how the boundaries of intimacy are difficult to draw for these women whose profession is considered very « engaging » and that contradicts certain stereotypes related to the role of women in our contemporary western societies.

Methodology: I conducted a qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews with women artists between the ages of 18 and 75. I noted the discourses emerging from these life stories and identified the main salient features.

Results: We will retain as a result that three main reasons explain why the boundaries of the intimate are unclear for women artists. The times and places where they work are often private, maternity and couple issues often take a professional dimension and careers seem closely linked to their personal trajectories.

Conclusions: In conclusion we will highlight how, on the one hand, the profession of an artist is still marked by a romantic image inducing a total consecration to art and, on the other hand, how much this cliche is difficult to reconcile with the stereotypes that still weigh today on women and their domestic and family role.

Contribution: This work brings a sociological perspective on the professional situation of women artists, not very well-known in France today, and a reflection on their relative absence of instances of recognition in the worlds of art.