A & N – Nympho Ninjas Submission (2014)

Diptych ought to be read seamlessly.

The trouble–which in the end isn’t really trouble at all since it allows a far more benevolent interpretation–is that I initially see these images discontinuously.

There’s the obvious discrepancy in visual langague. The first frame being one of the most infuriatingly egregious examples of #skinnyframebullshit I’ve posted.

Plus, it is oblivious to the politics of frame edge dismemberment. (To anticipate the counterargument: preserving anonymity is a downright lazy justification. There are literally a thousand ways to obscure identifying features that don’t require decapitation. Yes, it just takes a bit more effort on the part of the image maker…

Pairing the first image with the second presents an interesting dichotomy. (It maybe even alleviates the tiniest fraction of the goddamn piss poor decision to opt for portrait orientation in the first image since it allows both images to fit together more intimately within the viewer’s visual field.)

The second image is very nearly perfect. Yes, I have a bias to frame-within-frames and viewfinder peaks but although the second image is great on its own, I think the interplay between it and the previous image are fascinating.

This interplay–as I read it–is a studied subversion of the male gaze.

The leftmost image presents a sample of said gaze; the right explicitly presents the viewer with a female POV.

All sorts of tangents and rabbit trails emerge. But what’s most important is to note that the male gaze is in-built, assumed. It sees the female bodied subject regardless of whether or not she sees–here she literally cannot see as she has no eyes.

Because the initial image informs the following image the female gaze sees but it is seen in its seeing.

(Whether intended or not, the fact that the male bodied subject does not acknowledge the camera is a sophisticated bit of conceptual reflexivity.)

The first frame contextualizes the second. Were one to draw a parallel with art historical tradition and subsequent influence in practice, one would go straight to the head of the class.

In the context of the first frame, the second frame’s richness diminishes the first; underscoring the glaring impoverishment–not to mention bias–of the male gaze..

This is as thoroughly subversive. And it occurs to me that unlike most -isms that take on definition by prioritizing this above that; feminism is a rare ideology wherein the criticism is also a performance of a suggested solution. The act of saying: voice like mine have been silence for centuries, what I have to say is as important as any thing anyone else has to say: therefore I will speak.

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