In her essay Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema (1975), feminist scholar Laura Mulvey coined the term: the ‘Male Gaze’, which defines the sexual objectification of women on screen and in print media, for the pleasure of a male spectator. According to Alessia Glaviano (2016), senior photo editor at Vogue Italia, “the most important thing to have happened in the last five years of photography is how women have taken back the gaze”.
The appropriately named ‘Female Gaze’ movement refers to photographers such as Petra Collins and Arvida Bystrom, who explore the female body, without sexualizing it. By recasting women in positive empowered roles, they are “somehow completely changing the way we look at the woman’s body” Glaviano (2016).
Taking inspiration from a myriad of photographers working from the point of view of the ‘Female Gaze’, this final collection, accompained by a 40 page zine, celebrates the movement, through colourful and informed photographs, exploring themes such as girlhood, female sexuality, fertility and body hair. The importance of the ‘Selfie’ and the role of social media, (enabling young women to create, curate and distribute their own imagery, without need for validation), is also acknowledged through photography, as well as the ‘Gaze’ itself.