I confront the male gaze and the toxic relationships it has with the female body. I oppose the sexualisation, objectification and dehumanisation that women have to accept as a part of life. Via my project I show how women are often seen as something that is far from human. Something that in contrast, is so much more than what is often believed. This is me releasing my anger and no longer accepting what we are expected to accept. We are human: we carry sensitivity, stories and a soul. No male gaze will ever take that away from us.
I don’t limit myself to one specific medium, even though I prefer to work around the visual language/ communication side of fashion. This way, I often use film and photography as my main outlet to send my message. This message always grasps a societal subject, currently specified around the female body and its relationship with the male gaze.
I have an unhealthy relationship with the men’s gaze towards my female body. I repeatedly felt sexualised and objectified by other men. Not only did this root a confusing relationship with men in general, I also feel very estranged to my own body. As a woman who’s body is what is considered ‘curvy’ , I have never fully felt safe to show skin or to show my full figure. This is not something I have had my entire life; it is something that has been taught to me. I have been taught to cover up my breasts and to not accentuate my waist. To not put too much focus on my legs and to never wear red lipstick when I am showing some cleavage at the same time. I’ve learned that I will get catcalled and that I get touched without consent. Men are undressing me with their eyes, like to take me home to force themselves on me. I have noticed that I am not taken seriously on a workplace where a man is in charge, as he got distracted by my “Big Tits”.
The female body is so much more than just breasts and a bottom. It is more than an object to have sex with. It is more than an empty vassel of flesh for others to admire. The body carries power, stories and perseverance. It shows who we are and what we have been through. The scars, the rolls, the hairs and the tattoos. Fuck the standard that we have to live up to. Fuck the system that continuously tells us that we are not doing good enough. We are either too dressed, too naked, too small or too big. Well, I say, let’s give those people something to look at. Here we are: wide open and fully naked. Except this time, nobody made the decision but ourselves. Grandly we stand there. Unapologetic. Do you think this is too shocking? Weird? Of poor taste? You did not seem to have any problem with it when you were talking about my “big tits”. Perhaps, the difference here lies in the fact that we take charge over our own body. Nobody will have any power over our bodies but ourselves.
I oppose the fashion industry and to how they portray the female body. I oppose the sexualisation and objectification of the (naked) female body that we see oh so many times a day. I fight the dehumanisation of the female body. I want to confront the male gaze and the toxic relationship it has with the female body. And the toxic relationship many women have with themselves as a result. I want to show how reality and fantasy are distorted while women are supposed to fit into this imaginary box. This is me releasing my anger and no longer accepting what we are expected to accept.
The beautiful women I have worked with carry their stories directly on their bodies. Fully naked they show themselves: not afraid of the toxic male gaze but proud of who they are and of the power they carry. Inspiring is their attitude towards past trauma’s and physical setbacks that hold them back every day, and the scars that remind them of what used to be. Magnificent they are in their humanity and grateful I am for the intimacy in which they let us in. We are human: we carry sensitivity, stories and a soul. No male gaze will ever take that away from us.