The word “other” has been defined as something that is “used to refer to a person or thing that is different or distinct from one already mentioned or known about” or “Alternative of two” such as “the other side of the road” (Oxford Dictionaries, 2017).
‘Other’ can be viewed as a negative connotation, becoming inverse especially when used in the context of people. For example, Donald Trump’s statement about Mexican’s being “drug dealers, rapists and criminals” because they aren’t like him (John Miller, 2016). This was based solely on the fact that they were not “American’s” due to their different living-style. This further suggests that “othering” people is generated by the understanding of oneself and recognising ones culture as normal and standard. Does this then set minorities into the “other” category automatically? And if it does, who is the standard?
When you think about the whole spectrum of humanity, who is the least likely to be oppressed? The heterosexual white male. Throughout history, women have been portrayed in ways which western males idealise them; sexually available labourers. John Berger, author of the book “Ways of Seeing” (1972), highlights this by suggesting that women are taught to learn how they are looked at and internalise this expectation that they are a spectacle. It also incorporates the “male gaze” briefly. The male gaze has been described as “depicting the world and women in visual arts and literature from a masculine and heterosexual point of view” (‘Male Gaze’, 2017). Typically, the male gaze has been connected to power because it is able to objectify women into being studied unconsciously. An example of the male gaze would be (Newton, 1981).
Newton photographing two models and while his wife of 32 years glares into the camera holding a fed up look on her face (Newton, 1981).
McCord (2016) focuses on the fact that Newton’s work has been linked to the portrayal of confident and assertive women, however, it is evidently clear that she the model is unintentionally eager to please him while he actively observes her.
To go against the “male gaze”, a new hashtag has recently been born. #Girlgaze, “How girls see the world” (Ashley, 2016). The hashtag presents and uplifts female photographers photographing other female subjects to almost take back control and show the difference between the female and male gaze. They also allow ethnicity to play a part as they support black female photographers a great deal because of the lack of diversity there is within the creative industry as a whole.
Cindy Sherman is also another artist that battles against the male gaze. In fact, Sherman produced all her work around the idea of self portraiture. She explores into a number of different forms of identities to demonstrate the possibility there is within existence. Her recreations include historical figures to analysing gender types, she would create stereotypical photographs and allow the audience to focus on the constant positioning of herself as a woman (Sherman, 1977-1980).
Sherman playing against the idea of the male gaze by appearing sexually available and poise (Sherman, 1977-1980).
Ashley, M. (2016) [Twitter] 16 October. Available at: https://twitter.com/MathuraAshley (Accessed: 17 November 2017).
Berger, J. (1972) Ways of Seeing. London: Penguin Classics.
John Miller (2016) Clip #1: Trump Calls Mexican’s Rapists. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TML2cApMueU (Accessed: 15 November 2017).
‘Male Gaze’ (2017) Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Male_gaze (Accessed: 16 November 2017).
McCord, B. (2016) Dazed Digital. Available at: http://www.dazeddigital.com/photography/article/31247/1/your-ultimate-guide-to-helmut-newton (Accessed: 16 November 2017).
Newton, H. (1981) Self Portrait with Wife and Models. Available at: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/helmut-newton-self-portrait-with-wife-and-models (Accessed/downloaded: 17 November 2017).
Oxford Dictionaries (2017) Other. Available at: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/other (Accessed: 17 November 2017).
Sherman, C. (1977-1980) Untitled Film Stills. Available at: https://curatingthecontemporary.org/2014/11/07/subverting-the-male-gaze-femininity-as-masquerade-in-untitled-film-stills-1977-1980-by-cindy-sherman/ (Accessed/downloaded: 19 November 2017).