Monday, 4 November 2013


We started todays session by discussing some of the main points covered in last weeks lecture on 'The Gaze and the Media'.

Points covered:

  • Looking is not neutral.
  • Men act, women appear.
  • Women are objectified.
  • Art - Made by men for men.
  • The power of men spans all industries (including the arts).
  • Domination and exploitation of women.

We then looked at some classic examples of fine art paintings that objectify women in this exploitative manner.

Hans Memling - Vanity:

  • Painting shows nude woman.
  • Created as art for men.
  • Titillating content helps male owner feel comfortable.
  • Fantasy that never challenges you. 
  • Objectified, never meets your gaze.


  • Passive painting.
  • Woman gazes at painter.
  • Covers self.
  •  Not accessible.
  • Look at reality.

Alexandre Cabanel:

  • Painting is inviting.
  • Lady is looking away leaving everything exposed.
  • Very accessible.
  • Fantasy image.

The gaze is not only about the objectification of women, but also about the declassification of their place in society.

Next, we briefly viewed John Berger's  short video; 'The Ways of Seeing, Episode Two'.


  • Speaks about the gaze that governs women, speaks of women as an object.
  • Women are taught and persuaded from a young age to survey themselves. 
  • Women were always featured in nude paintings throughout history.
  • To be naked is to be ones self, to be nude is to be seen naked by others and yet not recognized as ones self.
  • Nakedness is a sight for the well dressed.

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