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Sonder 2022  •  22 May 2022  •  Showcase

Reclaiming femininity and the rise of the female gaze

The following paintings support the progressive representation of female strength in a society led by the male gaze. They stand as an attempt to destabilise the dominant narrative that places sexual empowerment alongside representations of lewdness.

By Shanelle George
Reclaiming femininity and the rise of the female gaze

Over time, the repression of female sensual energy has perpetuated itself and resulted in a culture that brands the naked female form as obscene content. Wearing skimpy clothes is seen as a signal of sexual availability, aligned with being coquette and promiscuous. Depictions of the nude female body in art are viewed as sexual content.

‘Beautiful Conviction’ is a mixed media piece that depicts the rise of feminine power throughout history. The black and white portrait sits in front of an array of mixed media elements that allude to the feminist roots of witchcraft as well as notable quotes from Sojourner Truth’s 1851 ‘Ain’t I a Woman’ speech. 

‘The Divine Feminine’ fragments the female body from the sum of its parts, encouraging viewers to reclaim the nude female form to represent female experiences rather than the male fantasy. That is, encouraging the rise of the female gaze in art. 

Both pieces beg the question; Is it possible to represent the naked female form without reducing it to the sight of lust and desire?

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