Reclaimed Male Suits is a project that celebrates sisterhood. It’s a mixture of activism, performance art, fashion, advertising and is showcasing a female gaze, as an alternative to the male gaze that’s present in the visual culture. It’s reclaiming women’s rights, ownership, leadership and above all ''female identity''.
Official launch soon...
In my research document, I searched for the answer to ‘with which visual expression can I reclaim inclusive female identity, based on the female gaze?’. My research showed that being female is part of being gender. Gender is based on the social construct. This social construct exists of stereotypical gender norms and roles that come with your biological gender. This expresses itself in the way you’re expected to walk and talk, but can also express itself by the opportunities society gives you or the way society views you. This can be limiting and create a negative internalized limitation. The social construct is heavily present in the society we live in. We can’t escape it. But Judith Butler’s theory ‘gender is performative’ gave me hope. Because when gender is performative, we can change it. Rethink and rebuild it.
Identity is formed by our surroundings and our surroundings are heavily influenced by the male gaze that’s present in the visual culture. This influences the way we view ‘female identity’. It even influences the way we, women, see ourselves. We call this an ‘internalized male gaze’. We have to acknowledge our surroundings and acknowledge that there’s a present male gazed vision on what it means to be women that media is telling us for centuries long. And that even our own vision of what it means to be women, is not a pure gaze anymore.
Transformation is needed. From the masculine, patriarchal vision to a female gaze on what it means to be women. We live in a world led by men, but half of this earth is female. We, women, have to start the conversation of the power of being female*. Whether that’s masculine, feminine, or everything in between. We shape female identity, whether that’s aggressive or vulnerable and soft.
This project shows the exploration of what it means to be women, in a world led by men. It’s about reclaiming our position in society and about regaining strength. About reclaiming ownership and decision making over our own bodies. About what it means to be woman in all of our diversity.