Tuesday, May 6, 2008
what the fuck am I looking at?
Feminine: adj. 1. Having qualities traditionally ascribed to woman, especially delicacy and prettiness
Feminism: 1. From 1851 – state of being female
2. From 1895-advocacy of women’s rights
I am looking at myself in context to historical representations of woman, paying particular attention to what is called 'the male gaze'; the idealized representation of women by men within the visual arts. I am looking at the dichotomy of woman as wife/mother/domestic goddess and adulteress/object/prostitute.
In these photographs I am representing the woman and I am representing the self. By investigating the male gaze and using myself as the subject, my intent is to dispel the theory of the gaze concept and somehow take the gaze away from gender. By dispelling the abstract concept of the male gaze I am asking why we should be looking at each other (if indeed we can) not, from the viewpoint of our entrenched ideas, our learned differences in gender, 'female distress and male valour'2, but from the view of our similarities as human beings. In this pursuit I have to first look at myself and I have to look at myself objectively. I have to question; how do I look at myself? With all these layers, all these expectations, how do I look at myself? My sex is female. I am an adult female therefore I am a woman. I am a woman who is not waiting, nor absent or idle. I am not a mother nor am I a wife. I am not an adulteress. Neither am I an object or a prostitute. Upon asking myself who am I , I am met with who I am not. So my question becomes more emphasized within me, within my minds ear until i am bursting with the repetitious mantra; who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Eventually my question takes on more depth, becomes more pronounced, until broken into two parts I exclaim;
Who the fuck am I?!
What the fuck am I looking at?!
1. Nunn, G.P Problem Pictures, Men and Women in Victorian Pictures (1995) P.65
2. Nunn, G.P Problem Pictures-Men and Women in Victorian Paintings (1995) P.109
(Much gratitude to you E )