Tp1011: spectatorship- gaze


The publication of “The Feminism and Visual Culture” edited by Amelia Jones is the introduction to feminism and visual culture. Several essay (each written by feminist) offer many theoretical and political points of view. It is a useful resource of knowledge about feminist.

Rosemary Betterton in her essay “Feminism viewing: Viewing Feminism” makes me realized that feminism has taught me/ us: ways of seeing, being in, and representing the world in terms of sexual difference. All those cultural skills are connected to the ways of making and reading images that are only possible as a result of feminist fights about women’s rights.

Laura Mulvey

In her essay “Visual pleasure and narrative cinema” explains differentiates between two different types ways in which a woman can be viewed. The first is the “voyeuristic” gaze, in which a woman is a highly sexualized object of desire. The second is the “fetishistic” gaze. In this gaze, the woman is still a sexual object, but has become untouchable and therefore de-sexed. She is now in a position cinematically to support her man: “as the narrative progresses, she falls in love with the main male protagonist and becomes his property, losing her outward glamorous characteristics, her generalized sexuality, her showgirl connotations; her eroticism is subjected to the male star alone.”  She becomes a possession of both the male protagonist and, thereby, of the spectator, and is a representation of the way in which women are classified, viewed, and expected to function within society…

John Berger

In his essay “ Ways of seeing” notes that there is the unwritten rule applies to all artworks of European art: the man works, women shows up.

“Women has to survey everything she is and everything she does because how she appears to others, – how she appears to men, is of crucial importance for what is normally thought of as the success in her life”

“How women appears to a men can determine how she will be treated”

“Every women’s presence regulates what is and is not “permissible” within her presence. Every of her actions-direct purpose or motivation- is also read as an indication of how she would like to be treated”

It is hard to comment John Berger’s words. He has got the ability of explain the whole essence of the case. His observations are so accurate.

Everything he says is so true, and so sad because it is true.

Why I have never thought about being women in such a way?


Katarzyna Kozyra

Is a polish artist, citing problems in its work of disease and death, indirectly talking about their own experiences. Work entitled “Olympia“, referring to the already cited by Eduard Monet’s image consists of three photographs: the artist with a shaved head lying in a hospital room posing as “Olympia”, an old woman with a nursing home and one’s own image, which lies on the couch by adopting drip, Which is the evocation of the artist’s experience of disease and ongoing therapy for almost two years. Kozyra causes anxiety in the viewer by using the image of “Olympia” with images, to which we are not used, which we reject.

Artist reveals social stereotypes of the female body, dictated by the male gaze. They strike a seamless image of a woman, presented in ancient art and contemporary visual culture. We do not have to like it. But it forces us to ask the question: How do you want to be shown, how do you want to be viewed? Do we want to be just objects for the male gaze? Or maybe we prefer to be invisible? Do we want to create our own image, to show the truth about ourselves?

Ill and old bodies shown here in today’s culture are doomed for absence. They were removed from the discourse of visibility, because they are a negation of the ideal female body created by former art and media. The shell is always closed, healthy, intact.

You cannot show what is hidden inside- the drama of the internal body. “Olympia” – sick and old stands up for her rights, including the right to be visible.

It is also not by accident, that the film from the video installation “Łaźnia” (“Bathhouse, 1997) (photographs) begins and ends with paintings of Rembrandt and Ingres, showing that the canon of beauty in art is variable. With the aid of a hidden camera, Kozyra filmed the interior of a female bathhouse. The elder women, immersed in personal hygiene, rather naturally took on poses from old masters’ paintings. Again, the artist confronted the beholder with a view of aging, and therefore, excluded body. This work was the first instance of the artist thoughtfully arranging video works in exhibition space, a strategy that she continued in her future projects. “Łaźnia męska” (“Men’s Bathhouse”), shown at the Venice Biennial in 1999, and being a pendant to “Bathhouse, cast new light upon the above mentioned work. This time, to be let into the bathhouse in Budapest, the artist had to take on the guise of a man (fake beard, silicon penis). Inside, her friends, who had smuggled in cameras, filmed her. In this deceitful manner the artist gained access to a men’s world hitherto inaccessible for her. It turned out that the men’s behavior was extremely different from that observed earlier, in “Bathhouse. Whereas the women, out of reach of the male gaze, engaged in personal activities, seemingly not taking notice of each other, the men, while among themselves, still seemed conscious of the presence of others.


French performance artist has undergone numerous plastic surgeries to transform her face and body to challenge traditional perceptions of beauty. She says art “has to shock.”

Has engineered art projects around nine operations, which remake her appearance, and the series, as a whole is entitled The Reincarnation of Saint Orlan or Image-New Images. Orlan deals with the problem of dissection, peeling, and unveiling which feminist theorists have critiqued as masochistic compared to the sexual sadism of the “anatomist’s ruthless penetration — the thrust of the male creator. But her work is also a task of incorporating the image of goddesses from mythology and art history — such as Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and the goddess Diana — as a computerized process of hybridization. Orlan explains: “…I devised my self-portrait using a computer to combine and make a hybrid of representations of goddesses from Greek mythology. I chose them not for the cannons of beauty they are supposed to represent, but rather on account of the stories associated with them. Diana was chosen because she refuses to submit to the gods or to men, she is active and even aggressive…” (Goode, 1997)






About Martyna

An Artist, a student- again,
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