Reclaiming the gaze

In the light of the International Women’s Day, let’s talk about our policy of not giving platform to straight men portraying the female body.

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If you’ve been following Kink for at least a while, you know that we’re not ones to shy away from nudity or depictions of sex(y) situations. But what you might not be aware of is that we consciously refuse to publish works by straight cis men fetishizing the feminine. No, mister, take you B&W photos of nude girls somewhere else, goodbye.

Male gaze has been present for centuries. Visit a random art museum and chances are about 50% of displayed works will be portraits of women, painted by straight men. Male gaze doesn’t only work on the representative level, i.e. who is actually presenting a body that it not theirs, but on a defining level too – male gaze dictates what is beautiful, valuable, or virtuous, without asking those whose bodies are at stake.

In fact, male gaze is not only problematic in the viewing, but in the ownership, even much more so. Given that we’re almost 20 years into the 21st century yet human bodies are heavily policed and regulated by governments and institutions—think of trans folks having to “prove their transness” in front of committees to be able to be legally recognized, women’s reproductive rights being restricted by discriminatory laws, forced sterilization of people of color, or systemic asexualization of disabled bodies, to name a few—, the least we can do is to start reclaiming our bodies in the artistic sphere.

Instead of giving the space to men objectifying the whole female existence, we want to use Kink to queer the gaze. We want women portraying women, trans folks portraying trans folks, queers portraying queers, people of color portraying people of color. We want people being the ones who decide how their bodies are shown, be it through a selfie or by working with someone who does not try to creatively overtake their bodily autonomy. No more hierarchies of dominance (that belongs to the one who portrays) and submission (of the one who is portrayed), because that’s what male gaze, or colonialist/white supremacist gaze, is in its essence.

We’re tired of men getting a free pass on sexualizing femme bodies in the name of “art.” It’s 2019, male gaze is simply boring and old-fashioned, and it’s something we can definitely live without now. Long live queer gaze!

 

Text: Anna Wim
Photo: Paulina Matova

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