Frederic Lix has illustrated a church full of women
with many activities going on all at once. As this meeting takes
place there seem to be many social classes defined and illustrated
within the drawing.
Whose that Lady (the speaker): The
one woman who stands out from all the rest is the women in the highest
position, she stands on a balcony above all the other women under
the same church. Her stance is strong as she raises her left hand,
almost to quiet the crowd and gain attention. Obviously a speaker,
she might have been in the middle of a very important speech and
might have aroused the women in the church to create a commotion.
Her attire is not of the poor class, perhaps not even the working
class, but she seems to be a representative for the poor and working
class. Her hat and dress with ruffles show that her clothes have
been tailored and that she is a person somewhat important to the
rest of the women attending the meeting. She is the main focus of
the picture, however, if one were to look at the picture for more
than a few seconds they would notice all the commotion going on
Among the sea of
women stands out groups in the foreground...
The women on the right hand side pointing her left arm towards the
speaker. She is indicating that the women on the balcony needs everyone's
attention. Her bandana-covered head indicates she is not of the
same social level as the speaker (the speaker wears a fancy hat).
Her occupation probably consists of a laundress or a seamstress
told by the clothes she wears.
The next two women below, in the right hand corner, are the next
to come into focus. One clutches her child and stands leaning back.
Her face shows a protective innocent look as to shelter her child
from the lady who stands with hand on hips. This second lady has
a strong stance, almost like a mother-figure punishing her daughter.
As she pulls at some of her apron it seems as though she interrogates
that women with a child. (These two women might indicate the relationship
between a Dame Visiteuse and a mother
she is inspecting. The Dame visiteuse represents an older women
interrogating the younger woman.)
Center Circle: Right below "the
speaker" (in focus) sits a group of ladies who are older and
in rages. Some of the focus is on the lady turned to the outside
of the circle with the child on her lap and finger pointing upwards.
The lady to her right is covered in a shawl, and sitting on what
seems to be a wooden stool. These ladies are not aroused but they
seem to represent the older women of the poor class, they have lived
through many things and are too old to actively participate in the
events going on, but they came to show their support. (The same
goes for the older lady in the bottom left hand corner)
A Younger Generation: All along the
left side of the picture stands young women intently listening to
the speaker or observing the events taking place within the church.
One woman has her head arched forward, ears turned towards the commotion
taking it all in. These women represent the younger activists who
saw women's rights as something to fight for and something new.
The Analysis: An
empowering picture of a women's club meeting. It's interesting how
a male choose to create a scene about a women's club meeting in
a time where female activists weren't taken seriously. Lix creates
a picture almost poking fun at some stereotypes of women at the
same time creating a picture of women in power The whole picture
shows a chaotic meeting, if sound was added to the picture on might
infer that you could barely hear the woman standing right next to
you. Lix draws some of his female characters turned away from the
speaker, talking to another person, and some just present and sitting
there blocking things out. He is saying that women don't pay attention,
its more of a social setting to gossip and than a rally meeting.
Children are brought from the home to this meeting to show how the
mother can never really be in charge of things b/c she always has
the burden of being the women; the barer of children. Lix plays
on a stereotype of the poor women in his picture of the women's
meeting. He acknowledges that women can have meetings, however,
he ridicules them for being women. Almost the idea that they can
have meetings, not not like men's meeting where everything might
be more organized. A meeting where everyone is paying attention
and no children from the home are brought.