Women have always been objectified, especially in art. Growing from girl to woman I was always hyper aware of both my body and the representation of myself being objectified by the male gaze. In the act of representing and inevitably objectifying myself, I am simultaneously recognizing and disrupting the history of womanhood I was born into.
In this series, I updated the classic art history theories on the male gaze to the 21st century by using my iPhone or Webcam to recreate famous depictions of women, all made by men, for men.
In the past vanity was portrayed by the presence of a mirror in paintings. Today it is an iPhone screen / the act of taking a selfie. John Berger said in Ways of Seeing, “you painted a naked woman because you enjoyed looking at her, put a mirror in her hand and you called the painting ‘vanity’, thus morally condemning the woman whose nakedness you had depicted for your own pleasure.”
Historically, these women had no agency over their representations. They were anonymous naked bodies, depicted for the visual pleasure of men, merely objects for men to exercise their power over. As both the artist and the subject, I am taking control of how I am being represented. I turned the camera on myself and both directed and modeled. A naked female body will always appeal to the male gaze, but a woman representing herself should be viewed as a subversive act of protest.