Photography + Illustrations + Words by Nina Canala
Models Jake Yang + Olivia Mannella
The Male Gaze: not only do we exist to perform for it, but we all see through its lens. It is central to everything we know; we are all born into a space that was made for the heterosexual, cisgender, white man and are unconsciously taught, through social behavioural codes, that we exist to appease it.
To me, the female gaze does not exist as a parallel to the Male Gaze. Instead, it acknowledges the full and complex life of individuals wherein our existence is not a performative act.
There has been a significant amount of discourse on the Female Gaze in recent years. To me, the female gaze does not exist as a parallel to the Male Gaze. Instead, it acknowledges the full and complex life of individuals wherein our existence is not a performative act. I think that when we start to examine the intrinsic beauty of people as they exist alongside us, we learn to appreciate our own beauty in the same way, leading us to a fuller, more appreciative lifestyle that isn’t governed by others desires.
We are all multifaceted and flawed, so wear whatever the f*ck you want and just be a nice person.
You could argue that this set of photos still acknowledges the Male Gaze, even if defying it, but it is so much more than that to me. I met Liv and Jake while studying in my first year of Contemporary Arts. I appreciated their fashion respectively but was drawn to them because they always came to class with confidence in what they wore. In my eyes, these are two individuals that define true beauty through the Female Gaze. Their actions, their temperament and the way that they hold themselves, even when they think that no one is watching, is compelling.
For me, it is much easier to see others through the Female Gaze than it is to see myself in that way. So, I took an outfit that makes me feel pretty, and one that makes me feel bold, and gave them to two people I already adore for so much more than their appearance, in the hopes that I can begin to see myself through the Female Gaze too. We are all multifaceted and flawed, so wear whatever the f*ck you want and just be a nice person.
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