The self-initiated project “You gaze, I gaze - How we internalise the male gaze” deals with the phenomenon of the male gaze. How does it influence women in everyday life? How do they handle it? A series of posters and an accompanying small magazine provide insights and inspire to reflect.
The term “Male Gaze” was first used in 1975 by feminist film theorist Laura Mulvey in her essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”. It describes the phenomenon of the objectifying and sexualising gaze of men on women. However, the “Male Gaze” has long since ceased to happen only through the eyes of men. Women having faced the need to adapt to this gaze for centuries, unwillingly reproduce it every day. In consequence, their actions and self-esteem are influenced by unrealistic expectations of themselves and others. A vicious circle of which society itself is usually unaware.
In the SIP “You gaze, I gaze” a group of female KISDies explored this issue. The result was a series of posters as well as an accompanying magazine conveying the topic through personal texts about the individual group members’ very own experiences.
An intimate topic that required – and initiated – self-reflection on the part of all participants. It showed that the female students have all had similar experiences. For all of them, their appearance has been addressed and evaluated by men and women. All of them have had their behaviour appraised in terms of whether or not they are attractive to men. This discovery has not strengthened the students’ confidence in our society, but has made them stronger, because “we have understood that we aren’t the problem, but society.”