Throughout history, the majority of artists have been men, and quite often the women in their works have been featured as passive objects of male sexual desire. This sort of one-sided dynamic is ubiquitous; it can be detected in the vast majority of Western nude paintings, and even modern advertisements tend to conform to the same pattern (Berger, 1977). As a consequence, feminist discourse of the representation of women in visual culture has focused on the concept of male gaze. However, the proliferation of images in modern times has given rise to a “broad array of gazes and implied viewers” (Sturken, 2005, p. 87). Women are no longer simply objectified, nor is the business of directing the gaze relegated to solely a male domain.
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Sturken, M., & Cartwright, L. (2005). Practices of looking: An introduction to visual culture. New York: Oxford University Press.