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This essay demonstrates the comparison of “Woman seated
in the underground” which was drawn by Henry Moore OM, CH in 1941 during the
second world war and Louise Bourgeois’s who is well known as a feminist artist “Birth”
in 1994.Therefore, we are going to explore the two drawings that are picked to
compare the past and the current of feminism and the relationship between war,
feminism and women. How women were treated and thought before will be compared
with what people think about women differently unlike the past and also how the
thought and perspective of women in the society were changed.

As one of the drawings which are “woman seated in the
underground” deals with the war, we will also explore about the wars and how it
relates to feminism, women as a mother and as men went the military and got
sent to the wars to fight, what women could do and how they suffered from the
deaths of their sons, husbands and fathers in the wars as mothers and
wives.  Because these two drawings show
the different aspect ideal image of women good to be compared each other and
also show how women were thought has changed.

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By discovering the two artist’s different childhood and
background and as the artists have different genders, we would compare the
differences between the viewpoints of them from different experiences with what
techniques, mediums and effects they used to express their thoughts in the two
drawings of them in this essay. Moreover, as the power of women is growing, we
also could compare how women were expected to be and did in the past but how
they are regarded these days and also how we look at the drawings differently
as a feminist nowadays as they created the drawing in the different centuries.

In addition, the connections between women within war and
birth will be addressed in this essay with the relationship with feminism.


Birth is one of Louise Borugeois’s series
“Autobiographical Series” that she captured the painful moment of the baby
leaving the mother’s body. As she said she had three frames of references which
are her father, mother and her children and they are all stuck together in the
interview with Esther Harriet.1989, her works are mostly motivated by her
memory, and traumas from her childhood and her experiences. it was drawn by
drypoint on paper. And we can find the sizes of mothers and baby’s are the same
size, it emphasises the pain that the mother is having is excruciating and also
her expression makes the pain look strong. However, on the other hand, the baby
is sleeping in peace unlike the mother. It seems the mother is pushing her baby
out of her belly herself and her hair is holding the baby. She was inspired
from by a drawing that she drew when she had the birth of her second son in
1941. It shows the different situations between the mother and the baby. We
could find the mother is a strong material as she is handling the birth herself
independently. Tate modern says this work shows the trauma of birth.


In Woman seated in the underground, there is a woman who
sits down in the London underground, and we could see she does not sit down
with the other people in the back. It shows she is in another situation unlike
them and makes the woman more focused. As the artist used dark ink and water
colour, and gouache for the drawing, it could show the mood of sadness, anxiety
and loneliness and the artist may illustrate that the people and the lady were
covered by dust from the war and the gloomy atmosphere at that time due to the
war  is also shown by using a dark. And
she crosses her hands which looks she is waiting for something and feeling
nervous. On the catalogue entry of the drawing, it says this is inspired by the
war. Therefore, we could guess, the lady is waiting for her parents, father,
husband or son who had gone to the war also the other people in the back
evacuated from the war to a safe place where is the London underground. Henry
Moore illustrated the situation and the details of her clothes, hair, and the
anxious pose by crayon in detail. Especially, she is swathed in layers to
express the texture, wrinkles and shadows. Moreover, the technique that he created
makes this drawing look scratchy and sharp also brings fear. For representing
the distance between the space where she sits down and the back, he mixed
yellow to make the brighter dark tone and blue for the background. By the
distance, the lady stands our more in the drawing.

For comparing with Birth, Louise Bourgeois had used
drypoint more than the other techniques she used.



we may have been thinking why are women shown as the weak
and sex symbols? why do some artists show women always such as the role
expected of women in the wars is waiting for their husbands or sons behind wars
in the past and still? They could be shown as strong and independent women as
they actually are. As feminism is the imTherefore, as feminism is

In the Birth, we could found a brave and a tenacity on
the mum’s face it is shown she bears and overcomes a birth by herself.


Judith A. DiIlorio who is an assistant professor of
sociology and director of the women’s studies programme at the Department of
Sociology and Anthropology, at Indiana University and Purdue University says
“Men make war; women make peace. Men make war; women make children. Men make
war because women make children. Because men make war, women make children.
Women make peace because they make children.”




Henry Moore usually drew the Londoners sleeping or
escaping in the London shelter underground during the wars as he and also his
drawings were based on the women body as well. Therefore, we could find women
were at that time by Henry Moore’s drawing as his art

works are based on the people sheltering in the London
underground and the female body and they were drawn during the second world


We agree the first world war and the second world war may
have been fought by men mostly but, during the wars, men were not only victims,
people could think women did not get sent to fight and got killed as men and
soldiers. As in The War From Within p.22, men were thought with “soldiers”,
women were thought with “what are protected by soldiers” and “who soldiers are
took care of from” women suffer from losing their fathers, husbands and sons as
mothers and as wives. This was usually believed that what women did during the
wars. Women were usually thought as mothers and wives of men who provided
theirs sons and were sitting down for waiting for them coming back safely. But
in (year), according to, British women helped with.

Mostly women and child were drawn in the shelter drawings
because most of men were sent to fight in the war. they must had a hard time as
they provided their sons into the wars.


The stereotypes of women.


At that century, this male artist focused on the lady
waiting for her love in the war as people usually had the stereotype of the
women in the century. But in the century, in the UK, British women had helped
to men with () to support

British women were asked to work for war as mechanics,
engineers, munitions workers, air raid wardens, and also got trained for
driving bus and fire engine from March 1941. On the 2nd August 1914,
the Bavarian queen Marie Therese said, Hildegard, Helmtrude and Gundelinde who
are the daughters of her volunteered to help at the service of the red cross and
Adelgunde and Wiltrude were working in the welfare field from 1870 to 1871. And
it changed the stereotype, the position and the definition of women in war
positively. As  the Bavarian Queen Marie
Threse, Young women who aged 20 – 30 were summoned to work at first but the
percentage of single women and married women who were summoned to work in
factories and as nurses in hospitals in the area where the war was happening in
1943 were about 90 percent and 80 percent respectively. Moreover, they got a
uniform and lived in the area where they got sent to work as men.  A lot of women also were sent to help the
people from dying of hunger who were in the London undergrounds. Not only
British women, In the United States and Germany, they served during the world war
2 at home also in uniform as well.
Eleanor Roosevelt, who was an
American politician, diplomat and activist, said the following in 1860: “A
woman is like a tea bag.; we never know how strong she is until she gets in hot
water.” (The Wit and Wisdom of Eleanor Roosevelt, P199, 1996.)

people would not know the help from women would help the war
a lot and they would do the same works as mens they may not know women had a
power that they could do the same things as men did with before women were put
into the war.


As they have experienced and have a fear of the world
wars but as how they show women in their drawings differently, we could know
how they think women differently and how women were showed differently by
different gender, different centuries. As Louise Bourgeois said “everything I
do was inspired by my early life.” Her artworks are reflected her childhood
memories, traumas, and fear of abandonment, her mother’s illness and death also
infidelities of her father and the horrors of the first world war as she said she
was afraid of being alone, death in the diary of her on 24 November, 1994. Her
art is her experience.


According to previous historical periods, women were the
main key of the end of the war.


Angela T. Davis
who is professor of History of Consciousness, and Feminist Studies, at the
University of California Santa Cruz said ‘the main key of the anti- war
movement is women, even though we could not say they were the definite people
who spoke and were able to move past single issue syndrome that focused only
one ‘ending the war.’

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