Regarding my own practice, the content of this module has informed further understanding surrounding feminist art, and the objectification of women. My current practice surrounds the creation and distribution of MEAT magazine, and focuses on ideas surrounding “the body observed”. The concept behind MEAT is to comment on the objectification of women, which is particularly exploited within popular culture and magazine content. By replacing female bodies with images of meat, I connect mass consumption with the act of looking. Below, is my artist statement for MEAT magazine, and many of my influences have been encouraged by this module.
“The publication, MEAT, critiques the depiction of women portrayed by popular culture for the exploitative, objectifying consumer. Emerging from capitalism and culture, MEAT offers a critique of existing tabloid publications for their sexist portrayal of women. MEAT ironically exposes the patriarchal media; their misogynist perspective; and the systematic violence regarding gender constraints. As an artwork, MEAT’s precisely constructed content presents an argument regarding the purchasing of the sexualised silent image of female body. Whilst the zine features obvious irony through its bold title; explicit headlines; and statement flesh imagery acting as a replacement for the female body, it also holds content to be discovered by the reader. By scanning the publication’s barcode, you shall uncover its origins.
MEAT exists in the contemporary media marketplace, yet its influences remain heavily within the discourse of 1970s feminism. The legacy of artists: such as Martha Rosler; Linder Sterling; and VALIE EXPORT, have been influential within the making of this piece. The feminist agency in the work of these artists disturbed gender stereotypes of that time, and knowingly embraced the female stereotype in order to problematize it. With its utilisation of pre-existing visual imagery and sexist headlines, MEAT also takes a feminist stance. Laura Mulvey’s 1975 essay, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”, discussed the male gaze and sexual imbalance within the cinema setting: “film reflects, reveals and even plays on the straight, socially established interpretation of sexual difference which controls images, erotic ways of looking and spectacle”. Mulvey’s theory extends to contemporary popular art and culture. MEAT takes a stand against media culture and their demoralising sexualised, objectified depiction of women that is so prominently forced upon us. It aims to free women of their gender constraints.”