In defence of sad girl art

There have been endless artistic reimaginings of women’s rage, heartbreak, and self-destruction – do these stories keep us in a state of perpetual victimhood, or are they brave and necessary? The ‘sad girl’ has always been deeply embedded in our art and literature. Viscerally expressing their sorrow through music, fiction, paintings, and poetry, progenitors of the sad girl movement include Sylvia Plath, Jean Rhys and Virginia Woolf. In 2014, LA-based artist Audrey Wollen developed Sad Girl Theory, which proposed that enacting one’s own sorrow is a form of feminist resistance against the patriarchy. “I think that a sad girl’s self-destruction, no matter how silent or commonplace, is a strategy for subverting those [oppressive] systems,” Wollen writes. In doing so, this makes the implicit violence of womanhood visible, “implicating us all in her devastation.” Read more >

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