Male Gaze Essay example

2605 Words Jan 14th, 2012 11 Pages
Assignment: How have women been portrayed through photography?
16/01/2009
How have women been portrayed through photography?
The gaze deals with how the audience views the people presented in visual culture, in this case, adverts, magazines and Cinema. The ‘male gaze’ is the male ability to exercise control over women by representing them in visual means as passive, sexual objects of male desire. The power of men over women has always existed. They are seen as the more powerful and clever species. This control over women has been seen predominately in linguistics senses in past times. It is clear that there are more derogatory terms for women than there are for men. Men can also wolf whistle or cat-call in order to harass a woman but
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Sherman stands before her bathroom mirror, touching her shoulder and following her own gesture in it’s reflected image. [vi]The way Sherman has positioned herself, mouth slightly open, a longing gaze, her hand caressing her shoulder, head tilt back, neck extended and in a profile position, the reflection appears to an extract from an issue of Vogue.
A door is visible in the left of the image; this puts the viewer outside room, peering in at a moment where the subjects guard is down, a moment of privacy and emotion.
In 1981 Sherman produced a series of images called Centrefolds; here Sherman photographed herself in series of narratives which have a ‘soft-core pastiche’ to her Untitled Film stills and association her horizontal framing to that of the format of ‘cinemascope’. In this series Mulvey focuses on the characters and the ‘masquerade of felinity’s interior’, “The young women that Sherman impersonates may be daydreaming about a future romance, or they may be mourning a lost one. They may be waiting, in enforced passivity, for a letter or a telephone call. Their eyes gaze into the distance. They are not aware of their clothes, which are sometimes carelessly rumpled, so that, safe alone with their thoughts, their bodies are, slightly revealed to the viewer.”[vii]
Untitled #96 shows Sherman sprawled out on a titled floor, almost merging in with her orange ensemble, a warm tone on her skin also matching her outfit. Sherman is gazing

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