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The Ermine Portrait of Elizabeth I of England

Discuss about the Social Work and the Arts.

Art is a good source to convey messages to the art lovers and to those who understand art works. The world has seen many famous artists and painters who have dedicated their life in portraying different images of social facts through their imagination. Such names are Picasso and William Segar. The different kinds of art works portray the description of different social issues or messages in brief. The messages are not understandable to the naked eyes unless it is being read by some knowledge on the art works. A particular art conveys a particular message (Tröndle & Tschacher, 2012). In this paper, the Ermine Portrait of Elizabeth I of England has been chosen to understand the social messages that the art conveys to the human being especially to the women. The main purpose of this assignment is to understand the message that the art work conveys with the help of different sociology theories such as empowerment, oppression and feminism.

The chosen art work for the assignment is “The Ermine Portrait of Elizabeth I of England”. The art work is painted by William Segar in the year 1585. The work is currently located in Hatfield House in the United Kingdom (Tittler, 2013).

Figure 1: The Ermine Portrait of Elizabeth I of England by William Segar

Source: (Tittler, 2013)

This portrait of Elizabeth portrays the power, which is rarely observed in women. There have been only few women in this world who have proved them as powerful women. They had authorities in their hands. They taught the world especially to the women group that power is not confined just to a group. It is rather a characteristic of every single creature in this world who have dares to go against the odds. This particular portrait depicts the radiation of power, which is visible in most parts of the art. The piercing stare of Elizabeth I and her long dress certainly makes this art an eye catching. The theme behind the work is to portray the importance of power to women. In the ancient times, women had no justice for their rights. They were not allowed to share common places at the different social gathering places. They had no status neither they had any choices for their kind of lives. Sati Pratha in India is a very good example of such art works. Women according to sati pratha had no rights to live in this world after the death of their husbands (Watson, 2015).

The Importance of Power for Women


The chosen art works can be understood with the help of some popular social theories such as feminism, empowerment and oppression. The theory of empowerment suggests the self-determination in people. The theory suggests the feeling to live the life on the self-determination and the self-authority. This is to make people realize the importance of ways to overcome their feeling of powerlessness (Kiraly, 2014). There are numbers of women who have no realization about the power, which they could inhibit in them as well. The art works rightly suggest the importance of power for women as well. The contemporary world is changing now, but it has not yet proved its uniform behavior with women. According to the theory of feminism, women are not compensated with fair wage payment for their works. Feminism concept is very important for a social cause, which has investigated in lowering the authority of women. Feminism along with empowerment is two very important sociology theories, which advocates the right to justice for women (Donovan, 2012). The contemporary world is being popularized as a world, which gives equal rights to women. However, biasness in paying wages to women workers is highly observable across the globe. The problem is continuously expanding with the passage of days. The chosen art work does clearly speak about the possibilities of high status for women as well. Elizabeth I in the art work have been shown wearing a very expensive dress. The highly expensive dress up and a confident staring do clearly suggest the possibilities of self-determined and equal rights for women. The theory of oppression investigates the ways in which women are oppressed. It is very much related to both the sociology theories such as empowerment and feminism. When a woman is not empowered she is oppressed. The social lives of women have remained affected from a complex thinking of the society. They have suffered in the past. They are still suffering; however, the definition of suffering has been shifted from a social boycott when they were divorced to an unjustified social life. Theories of empowerment, feminism and oppression do investigate the lost power in women. These theories thus try to communicate a changed way to live their life. The life where they would feel like such as the character of Elizabeth I depicted in the art works (Vogel, 2013).


The chosen art represent a vital social issue, which still persist in various developed and developing countries. An unfair behavior with the female employees at the workplace is a significant concern for the social lives across the globe. The male employees are paid high wages for the same nature of works; however, women are paid less than them (Goldin, 2014). The particular issue is validating the points of feminism concept of sociology. The piece of work represents aspect of human experience, which has concerns for various social works. The women were burnt alive on the debris of husband just because of sati pratha in India. Women had no rights of living their own lives. They were treated as if they were any slave of their husband, which is why they were burnt alive with their husbands. In the contemporary world, unfair wage payment to male and female staffs is another social concern, which the art work is degrading. The art work has shown a self-determined queen, who is well dressed up with some highly expensive clothing. The way the queen Elizabeth I dares is simply a message to the entire such women who are yet to consider a self-determined life. They would supervise such lives. It is a big social concern, which still persists in the contemporary world. Women have freedom to work in most of the places; however, their freedom is not accustomed with the equal rights as well. They are not paid fair wages for a same nature of work as done by the male workers. The chosen art conveys very limiting but powerful messages, which is yet to be realized entirely in the contemporary world. The unjustified distribution of wages among male and female workers is not only the social problem, which the contemporary women have today. In addition to this, they are also being utilized from the higher officials at the workplace. They are not believed to be a partner worker but rather they are believed to be a partner of sexual relationships (Koellinger, Minniti & Schade, 2013).

Exploring Sociology Theories

The art work does very well illustrate the courage to stand against the hardships. The way Elizabeth I dares and the way she has dressed in represents a gutsy image of a woman who knows no boundary for her self-determination. The art work supports the courage to stand against any hardship (Davies, 2015). Hardship can be in any form such as the dominating character of male people at the different social places. The women are still living in a male dominated world. They are less preferred for a work. The social inequalities are a concern for the social workers. The world has seen some renowned social workers such as Mother Teresa who herself represent the importance of a self-determined life where women would live freely without the dominion of male people. The contemporary they face at the different stages in their lives.


The art work on the Elizabeth I of England indirectly conveys a message that a large population of women has still not considered the lifestyle that the queen had portrayed in the art. The way Elizabeth has been shown through the art work shows the other part of women, which is hardly seen in the contemporary world. The ancient world had more problems; however, the contemporary world is not much different. The only difference lies in the definition of injustice to women. A high population of women were socially tortured in past in some places such as in India in the name of blind faiths. The contemporary women group is not much different. They are tortured at the different social places; however, they verbally support the equalities for men and women. In reality women are tortured for physical needs. They are used at some places as well. Nevertheless, they are promoted to some higher position just to use them for physical needs (Okechukwu et al., 2014).

The theme in this art piece is important for social works because a large segment of women across the globe are living an unjustified and powerless life. The contemporary world might give some examples of women leaders at the top position such as the Britain Prime Minister Theresa May. However, there are high inequalities in the ratio of population of male and female. There are high differences in their qualification and professional lives. For example, weight lifting is good for health. However, women are mostly disallowed by their male partner for physical exercises such as weight lifting. If both the groups have equal rights then why a healthy life is not a concern for women as well. The theme of the art work is very important for various social workers across the globe to raise the awareness regarding the highlighted issues. This is very important for a peaceful social life. Nevertheless, women are raped because they are treated as a resource to fulfill the wrong desire. If they have equal rights then they would have been asked at every instance of rape cases about their consent for the same. The chosen art is just to attract social workers more seriously towards the subject matter. The art work conveys a message that women can be powerful leaders who would have no external restrictions on their wills (Ibarra, Ely & Kolb, 2013).

Empowerment


My personal reaction to this piece of art is very familiar to what have been mentioned above. According to me, women should get equal rights. They should be treated equally at the different platforms of life. There should not be any bias behavior while choosing the leader. A leader should be elected based on his or her expertise. A leader should never be selected on the gender preferences. The unequal distribution of wages should be eliminated at the workplaces. The women participation at the different managerial positions should be encouraged. There should be a balance in between women and men in terms of sharing the power and authority. However, I also believe that hard physical works should not be assigned to women. They are not made for such things. The leadership position is my point of concern. Women should be encouraged and trained to be a leader.

Social works are a good source to raise general awareness regarding a social issue. The chosen works for the assignment makes a highly hidden fact visible to the entire world especially to the social workers. The contemporary world has mostly forgotten the importance of women. The contemporary world has tried to attract women participation at the workplaces but they have not favored their chances at the leadership position. This is due to such reasons women are not paid equally for their equal works as that of men. They are not encouraged for the rarest of thing such as physical exercises at the leisure gyms across the globe. They are considered at some places but those are negligible in comparison to the level of injustice done to them. The ancient world has seen the worst of behaviors with women such as in the name of sati pratha. The contemporary world is not any different to the ancient world. The condition of women is slightly improved but there is still a long way to go to implement a uniform living style for both men and women. 

References

Davies, S. (2015). The philosophy of art (Vol. 5). John Wiley & Sons.

Donovan, J. (2012). Feminist theory: The intellectual traditions. Bloomsbury Publishing USA.

Goldin, C. (2014). A pollution theory of discrimination: male and female differences in occupations and earnings. In Human capital in history: The American record (pp. 313-348). University of Chicago Press.

Ibarra, H., Ely, R., & Kolb, D. (2013). Women rising: The unseen barriers. Harvard business review, 91(9), 60-66.

Kiraly, D. (2014). A social constructivist approach to translator education: Empowerment from theory to practice. Routledge.

Koellinger, P., Minniti, M., & Schade, C. (2013). Gender differences in entrepreneurial propensity. Oxford bulletin of economics and statistics, 75(2), 213-234.

Okechukwu, C. A., Souza, K., Davis, K. D., & de Castro, A. B. (2014). Discrimination, harassment, abuse, and bullying in the workplace: Contribution of workplace injustice to occupational health disparities. American journal of industrial medicine, 57(5), 573-586.

Tittler, R. (2013). Portraits, Painters, and Publics in Provincial England 1540-1640. Oxford University Press on Demand.

Tröndle, M., & Tschacher, W. (2012). The physiology of phenomenology: The effects of artworks. Empirical Studies of the Arts, 30(1), 75-113.

Vogel, L. (2013). Marxism and the oppression of women: Toward a unitary theory. Brill.

Watson, A. D. (2015). Design Thinking for Life. Art Education, 68(3), 12-18.

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