Posted in Contextual Studies Year 2

Exhibition – Primary Research

While in London, I visited the Photographers Gallery where they were exhibiting a large catalogue named Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s. The exhibition held over two hundred works from forty eight international artists. The exhibition was split into four main categories to piece the work together. The work focused on practices that contributed to the feminist art movement of the 1970s. The women artists focus on challenging assumptions about gender and art.

During the 1960s-70s, artists began focusing on the construction of identity and gender roles in the media and in the male-dominated traditions in art history. They experimented with many things like dressing up in costume to explore how people perform gender in a way that meets social expectations.

Domestic Agenda – this set of work was about addressing the stereotype of the woman’s place being in the home. In this section was use of photography, video and performance. These two images were very outstanding to me. They show the series by Karin Mack – Zerstorung einer Illusion (Destruction of an Illusion) 1977, where the image of a stereotypical homemaker and housewife is pierced and eventually destroyed with needles, showing the destruction of the stereotype.img_4732img_4733

In My Skin: Normative Beauty & the Limits of The Body – feminist art challenged attitudes towards the female body and beauty. The work was about measuring, fragmenting and reconstructing their own bodies to create a new image of female identity.

Alter Ego: Masquerade, Parody & Self-representation – the feminist movement argued that identity is not something we are born with but is formed through social conventions and taboos. Simone de Beauvoir famously wrote “one is not born, but rather becomes a woman” (The Second Sex, 1949). Many artists of the 1970s used performance to deconstruct representations that form stereotypes. Martha Wilson’s series Portfolio of Models, 1974, showed female stereotypes that have been created by society such as the housewife, the Goddess, and the Lesbian. Eleanor Antin produced a self-portrait called Portrait of the King, 1972, which saw herself dressed up as a King from history, discovering the nature of cross dressing. Cindy Sherman used role-play and masquerade in her series Untitled (Bus Riders I), 1976, to engage with and question gender identity. She dresses up as a series of male and female characters observed from everyday life, whose identities are determined by their visual characteristics, clothing and poise.


The Seductive Body: Sexuality and Objectification – one of the main goals of the feminist movement was the sexual liberation of women. They tried to highlight the continuing oppression of female sexuality and the sexual objectification of women. Valie Exports image from Aktionshose Genitalpanik (Action Pants – Genital Panic), 1969, challenged the dominance of the male by dressing a female in the same way, using props like a gun to pass the power to females. With her crotch less trousers, she defends her female body with the gun, demonstrating the symbol of power to be a prosthetic and its possession to be a product of role play.


  • The Photographers Gallery. 2016. Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s. Catalogue of an exhibition at The Photographers Gallery. 7th Oct 2016 – 29th Jan 2017. London: The Photographers Gallery
Posted in Contextual Studies Year 2


  • Mainstream television does not reflect the civil rights gain progress, and still lacks the portrayal of diverse sexual forms and still focuses on reproducing hetero-normativity

Gurr, B.A. (2015) Race, gender, and sexuality in post-apocalyptic TV and film. Hampshire, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Adverts always use women as objects to be surveyed – passive and sexual desire – fashion photography also adds to this voyeuristic approach
  • Body language used to perpetuate gender roles

Wells, L. (2004) Photography: A critical introduction. 3rd edn. London, NY: Routledge.

  • Film, video and photography allow an arena in which to explore gender identity
  • Photography’s aura of realism promotes a fantasy of gender transformations
  • The equality between men and women during the period between the two world wars created fear that women were becoming men
  • Masculinity and femininity are masquerades created by performance and dress
  • Judith Butler – gender is an impersonation – becoming gendered involves impersonating an ideal
  • Cross dressing is seen as performance
  • Throughout history there have been attempts at creating a third sex – the androgyne
  • Hannah Hoch’s montages mixing boyd parts and clothing – fantastical creatures – titles of montages (eg. Vagabonds, clowns, dancers) refer to performers who are often ostracised for their lack of conformity with society’s norm – the freak

Blessing, J. (1997) Rrose is a Rrose is a Rrose: Gender Performance in Photography. New York: Guggenheim Foundation.

Posted in Contextual Studies Year 2

Interview with Transgender


From my interview I wanted to find out the story of a transgender first hand. The questions I asked were to try and build a story of the individual, to try and empathise and gain some education on what life is like for a transgender. My main focus from the interview is with questions 7 and 8, as I feel these questions and answers give me some research that would be beneficial to answering my essay question. It’s given me some primary information on the abuse that trans people receive as well as how common it is for trans people to abuse themselves, to help back some of the points I hope to make within my essay.

  • Hand, D. (2016) ‘Ollie – a Transgender Teen’. Interview taken place 29 November 2016.
Posted in Contextual Studies Year 2

Celebrity Influence – Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner Arthur Ashe award for courage

  • 20% of transgender people are homeless
  • 41% of transgender individuals attempt suicide at least once in their lives
  • Dealt with situation on own in private, Made experience educational but frightening
  • Young people learning they are different, getting bullied, murdered, suicide
  • Power of the spotlight – attention brings responsibility – actions are observed and absorbed
  • Wants to tell story the right way to keep learning and remake landscape of trans issues
  • Promote simple idea – accepting people for who they are – learn as much as you can about another person to understand
  • Transition was harder than anything could have imagined and is the same for most trans people – they deserve respect for their courage and decisions
  • Coming to terms with being true to who you are shouldn’t mean having to deal with hate crime
  • Deserve a more empathetic society

22transphobic hate – “freak” – not going to affect everyone within society

nvkdlInspired by Jenner’s work – could be a positive thing for the trans community

45% of US adults believe that celebrities can make a positive difference to issues they are promoting

One in four teenagers admit they are more influenced by celebrities than people they know, according to a new survey.

With this amount of society so affected by the lives of celebrities and the mass portrayal of celebrity lives in the media – should have a positive affect of views of transgender community