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Feminism and Women Surrealists
The Surrealists have often been depicted as a tightly knit group of men, and their art often envisioned women as wild 'others' to the cultured, rational world. Work by feminist arthistorians has since corrected this impression, not only highlighting the number of women Surrealists who were active in the group, particularly in the 1930s, but also analyzing the gender stereotypes at work in much Surrealist art. Feminist art critics, such as Dawn Ades, Mary Ann Caws, and Whitney Chadwick, have devoted several books and exhibitions to this subject.
While most of the male Surrealists, especially Hans Bellmer, Man Ray, and Salvador Dalí, repeatedly distorted the female form, and depicted women as muses, much in the way that male artists had for centuries, female Surrealists such as Claude Cahun, Unica Zurn, Lee Miller, Leonora Carrington, and Dorothea Tanning, sought to address the problematic adoption of psychoanalysis that often cast women as somehow monstrous. Thus, many female Surrealists experimented with cross-dressing and depicted themselves as animals or mythic creatures.