Two utilitarian and symbolic objects associated with womanhood in Cambodian culture are the stove and the pot. The pot is a symbol of both the womb and female sexuality; the stove is a symbol of gendered feminine labor.
This article argues that the sexist representations of the Khmer female body by modern Cambodian male artists demonstrate an inherited legacy of Orientalist stereotypes.
These images were formed : under French colonialism and often depict Khmer women as erotic/exotic native Others.
Starting in the 1970s, however, if not earlier, Cambodian women began to question the gendering of social roles that confined them to domestic space and labor. This form of social questioning was especially present in pop songs. In recent years, contemporary Cambodian woman artists such as Neak Sophal and Tith Kanitha have made use of rice pots and stoves in their art as freighted symbols of femininity.
Neak created an installation of rice pots from different households in their village, while Tith rebelled against this gendered role by destroying cooking stoves as an act of defiance against patriarchy in her performance art.