The Politics of looking

Lecture by Dr Matt Bowman

This lecture was based around art and design and different ways of viewing it, it featured some interesting quotes and points such as the biological element of looking “I see but I do not observe” which is the basic action of looking at something however, the brain doesn’t recognise desperately values to the object. One area that Matt focused on was the optical illusion of the duck/rabbit image featured below. I found this image very interesting and it reminded me how a slightly different perspective on something can change the whole way it is viewed. I found I was able to relate this to my own work, I may not find my own work pleasing but someone else could and I may not enjoy a certain brief but looking at it from a different perspective may allow me to engage with it more.


Voyeurism was another topic which was covered, I found this interesting as I had previous knowledge from when I covered it in A-level Media studies. “The practice of gaining sexual pleasure from watching others when they are naked or engaged in sexual activity” is the definition from the Oxford dictionary, particularly in relation to fashion this could also be described as vulgar. Voyeurism in fashion advertising and designers who express collections around voyeurism display women for the male gaze and sexual pleasure.

A popular advertising campaign was Gucci which featured a sexualised male and female in a compromising position, for a high fashion brand to sexualise an advertising campaign I find saddening as this would have a knock on effect for young women reading the magazine. It is also interesting how the woman in the advert is only wearing heels, knickers which she is pulling down to reveal her pubic area and a silk kimono. In contrast the male is fully clothed and even looking away from the woman.





A sexualised image from the fast fashion retailer American Apparel- who recently announced they are shutting their UK stores due to financial issues and are likely to repeat the action in America. The image shows a model with her breasts exposed and only covered by the words “made in Bangladesh” without reading the text at the bottom, one would assume the advert is talking about the jeans when in fact it is talking about the female in the picture. The text draws your eyes to the centre of the advertisement and inadvertently her breasts, with American apparel known for controversial adverts.



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