IC - 9 The cultural gender stereotypes push back / by Chris Chucas

I talked about all the problems with the male gaze being over dominate in todays visual culture and how media outlets and social media perpetuated the damaging and un archive-able ideals people have come to adopt as a bench mark today. There is a lot of positivity a movement almost in challenging these 'cultural standards' how fast it's actually making significant change is questionable but much like the feminists photographers working int he 80s onwards  ( Kruger, Nan Goldin, Sherman ) the trickle down effect in everyday culture is apparent today almost 20-30 years later it's a long progress but perhaps the power and reach of the internet and social meda can make speed it up. There are a lot places on the internet that are furthering this male gaze dominated view but also many that are not. I feel that we as photographers and visual artists have the means to make a change. It's perhaps a little harder to stand out from the noise with the abundance of information and images that exist in todays world. It's easy to ignore an image when there are so many of them . 

An interesting historical portrait that I keep coming back to me is one of Dorothea Lange's . Her Migrant Mother shows a women is very difficult situation but I don't find her weak or powerless. i just thought it was interesting that a women in a very difficult situation can be portrayed ( to me ) as an icon of power. Perhaps coming from the stereotypes of the mother being the primary care giver and protecting her family. I think Lange's intentions where to be as objective as possible, her work was commissioned to highlight the problems in the dust bowl areas and creating an empathy for families stuck in the hard conditions with other Americans.

It seems a bit lacking that culturally we jump the gun and mostly depict women as objects with reference to sexuality even when marketing to women themselves. It's obvious when people have juxtaposted the same scene but swapping a male in place of the female. 


“The spectator-buyer is meant to envy herself as she will become if she buys the product. She is meant to imagine herself transformed by the product into an object of envy for others, an envy which will then justify her loving herself.” ― John Berger Ways of Seeing
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Essena Oneil
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