- There are similarities of the representation of women throughout history.
- Grotesque truth: most nudes are a depiction of Women. Naked paintings/photography are predominantly Women.
- Women are presented in a sexual manner as objects of beauty.
Image 1 shows a woman being portrayed as a form of Goddess. This is a more tradition approach to painting.
Image 2 is perceived as 'scandalous' - it shows a scene of a prostitute. For this reason she is being portrayed as less admirable. The Woman in the painting is looking directly at the viewer. She is therefore more challenging towards the viewer as she is looking back at them.
The connotations of each image become easily distinguished by 'the gaze' alone. It is evident that the 'Goddess-like' Woman being portrayed in image one, is seen as more desirable as she is more available to the viewer. As she is looking away, the viewer is able to look more freely at her. Not only is the woman looking directly at the viewer in image two, she is also shielding herself with her arm. The fact she is a prostitute also suggests that she is more in control of her body. As a prostitute, Men would be required to pay to look at her properly. This could be seen as less admirable, due to frustration of the confrontational gaze from the Woman.
-Women admiring themselves in the mirror forms a sub-connostation of Women being 'vain'. It suggests that they enjoy admiring themselves and this therefore gives Men an excuse/right to admire them. This is however an unfair assumption as the Woman appears to be unaware of the viewer. It could be argued that she is not giving full consent for others to view her. It has a feel of 'spying' on the Woman admiring herself.
-'Olympia' challenged the previous representations of Women with a more realistic approach. The use of a cat as the Woman's companion as opposed to a dog. The prostitute has a cat as her pet/companion on the end of the bed. The Goddess-like woman portrayed in Olympia is instead shown with a small dog as her companion. This adds an emphasis on the idea of loyalty as a dog is 'Man's best friend'.
-John Berger argues that: to be naked is to be yourself, to be nude is to be seen in a specific manner, unfamiliar to yourself.
Task for next week:Using the text Coward, R. 'The Look', write one critical analysis of a media image (advert / TV commercial / publicity poster / magazine cover / news story) which, in your opinion, constructs a particular type of gender sterotype, or reflects the dominant patriarchal concepts of gender, critiqued in the lecture 'The Gaze & the Media' (31/10/13). Use at least five quotes, referenced according to the Harvard system, in support of your argument.