Challenging the Male Gaze Women Artists Reclaiming Representation
March 14, 2022
Have you ever heard of the phrase “the male gaze”? It was first coined in 1975 by film critic Laura Mulvey to describe how women are represented in visual arts and literature. She noticed that the women in movies, advertisements, literature, art, etc. were often presented as objects for the pleasure of specifically heterosexual male viewers. This pattern reinforces a power structure in which men control how women are represented and valued in society. The male gaze can be seen throughout art history where male artists – who are much more likely to be accepted into the “canon” or the group of artists who represent the ideal standard in art – depict the female body. In honor of Women’s History Month, the Escalette Collection of Art highlights three artists in the collection who challenge the male gaze and celebrate women representing themselves on their own terms.