Marisol, Women's Equality


Women's Equality, 1975
Marisol (1930–2016)
15-color lithograph
34 1/2 × 29 3/4 in. (87.6 × 75.6 cm)
Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Lorillard, a Division of Loew's Theatres, Inc., 1975
© Marisol. Licensed by VAGA/ARS, New York, NY

Marisol's Women's Equality presents two of the leading American suffragists, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, in an almost heavenly, iconic form. Their hands are linked, while a third, disembodied hand reaches up towards them, as if representing the future generations of women who look to them for guidance and inspiration in the fight for equality.

Marisol's rendering similarly elides the more complicated story of the fight for women's suffrage, including internal splits within various caucuses of the women's movement, the exclusion of women of color from their ranks, and the class divides that existed between the women who became known as the suffragists and the working-class women also agitating for the vote. 

Indeed, the work seems to be deliberately apolitical; in his introductory essay for the Kent Bicentennial catalogue, John I. H. Baur writes: "Marisol has given us a personal fantasy that defies alliance with any movement."

In 1975, there was reason to celebrate advances in women's equality: the Equal Rights Amendment had passed Congress in 1972 and was traveling from state to state in order to be adopted into the United States Constitution. However, the deadline set by Congress in 1982 was not met by the required three-fourths of the states, leaving the Equal Rights Amendment in a potential state of legal limbo.

Question to ponder: 

  • What women's rights activists of today would you memorialize in a work of art?