Standing Female Nude
Carol Ann Duffy
A feminist reading
The poem ‘Standing Female Nude’ by Carol Ann Duffy represents the voices of thousands of women across the worlds, who have been used as the models for nude paintings. Duffy sets the model who narrates the poem in a pre-Euro using patriarchal France. France has a rich history of Art which dates back to cultural greats who are still mentioned to this day, such as Claude Monet, so instantly we get the sense of a great piece of work is about to take place. However, this does not turn out to be the case, rather the tone we get from the narrator is one of displeasure and boredom. “Six hours like this for a few francs.” Nude art has been praised in the past as an admiration and celebration of the human body, whereas in this case it is seen by the model herself as a chore rather than a privilege and an honour as we would think it to be. It also provides us with some context on the model herself, for her to be modelling for only a few francs, allows us to interpret that she is someone not highly held in society, and may be having to model nude in order to survive financially.
“Belly, nipple, arse in the window light, he drains the colour from me.” For the colour to be draining from her represents the lack of emotion and power she holds after being exposed in such a way that leaves her completely vulnerable to not only unfair criticism regarding her body but also judgement from those who may be financially stable and not have to resort to such an option as this.
The judgement of those around her also fits into; “I shall be represented analytically and hung in great museums.” As a model she is not very high upon the social ladder, yet she is still below the person painting her as he holds the power to shape her body to whatever he pleases, and can do so without being judged or told his work is not great. Instead, the blame will shift onto the model who will have no choice but to accept the...