The poem is simply a monologue by an artist’s

The poem “Standing Female Nude” by Carol Ann Duffy, at first gives us the impression that this poem is simply a monologue by an artist’s model being painted in his studio. While she appears to simply be trying to earn a couple of francs for her own survival, the artist seems to be out for more. However, if we take a closer look at the poem, we notice Carol Ann Duffy using several different language features in order to give the idea that not only back then, but still today, women are being objectified and not seen as what they really are. We don’t even have to read the poem in order to know what one of the main talking points is. Its name, “standing female nude” already identifies the woman, who is also the speaker, as an object instead of a person in her own right. This is then immediately followed by her deconstructing herself into several body parts when describing the painter’s process, “Belly nipple arse”. This refers to the idea that the artist is simply reducing the woman to those very particular features of her body by painting them on his canvas while altering the rest of her body in an unrecognizable manner. This is further shown by her comment on the painting within the last line of the poem: “It does not look like me”. Once we have read the poem in its entirety, we realize that something else is happening within the writing itself. The lines of her poem are completely unrhymed and with a constant text flow which does not stop at the end of lines or stanzas. This creates a so-called “poetic prose”, allowing the reader to focus more on the contents of the poem. Throughout the poem we are able to observe the artist actively objectifying the speaker. During the painting process the speaker mentions “he drains the color from me” and that the artist “posses me on canvas”. As the painter is draining her of color, the author is not only referring to the analogy of the painter slowly owning her, but also refers to the poor girl literally having her life power drained out of her, as she is standing there, in the “cold” and for “six hours”. Later on, we notice the artist commenting negatively on the woman’s figure “You are getting thin madame, this is not good.” Given the beginning where it was stated that she has to do this job “six hours like this for a few francs” and that later on it is mentioned that “He is concerned with volume, space. I with the next meal.” It is almost ironic that the artist is paying her so little, as he seemingly requires her to be well fed for his art, though does not seem to be willing to give her any more money and therefore pushing her into a vicious cycle, which could possibly lead to her death. This then is just another example of how the artist sees the woman as an object and not as a person, as a piece of equipment he requires in order to progress within his career and become famous for hanging his “art” in all those “great” museums.This description also introduces an element of sarcasm to the poem. Another very important point that the author makes within the poem is when the speaker refers to the painting of herself which will be “hung in great museums” as that of a “river-whore”.This self deprecating description, even if intended mockingly at the time, in combination with the fact that at the very end of the poem the speaker simply states “It doesn’t look like me”, shows that even though the artist was complaining about posture and health throughout the whole of the painting process, in the end it would’ve made no difference. Ultimately, the artist simply used her body and her sexuality in order to put these pieces of “Belly nipple arse” together with what his ideal of a woman looked like. This fact evokes a certain feeling of sympathy within the reader for the model, as it basically means that this poor girl was standing there for a whole six hours, and that for just a few francs, only to realize that the picture which was supposed to be seen by the bourgeoisie did not even resemble her. By the end of this poem the reader is prompted to take a more critical stance on nude art in general. In the poem the reader is able to observe the exploitation of a woman’s body. Through Duffy’s use of imagery, especially sexual imagery, and her use of the three different, main perspectives she enables the reader to identify and understand the gender conflict that exists behind these paintings.