International Journal of Art & Design Education

Beauty and the Beast – Can Life Drawing Support Female Students in Challenging Gendered Media Imagery? (pages 352–361)

Volume 32.3   2013



How does life drawing impact on a group of 14–16-year-old female art and design students and their perception of body image? In contemporary Western society, we are bombarded with advertising, social media and celebrity culture on a daily basis, often with a focus on body image. This article questions whether, due to this visual assault, young female students have a democratic choice in forming a relationship with the body. Alternatively, do they feel pressured into conforming to a media led image? This article analyses the reaction of a group of GCSE fine art students to life drawing and a naked female nude. It questions their perceptions of ‘normal’ and discusses if art-based research projects can challenge contemporary issues and young female students' perception of body image.