Cindy Sherman and Representation

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Untitled Film Stills by cindy Sherman presents the ideas about the female identity Sherman is after.  On each of the images, Sherman photographs herself as a cliché of this identity as if she were an actress in a B-movie ,as the product of domesticity, the object of sexual desire exc.

Critic Arthur Danto points out that none of Sherman’s images is of herself.  They are of The Girl, for whom Cindy Sherman posed. The Girl appears in every photograph, and though she is familiar in each (because the model is Sherman), she is never expressing the same idea as The Girl.  She is being-there and she is not there at the same time, like a performer, and all the while she is able to convey these figurative portraits of femininity.

Modeling in several roles, she reveals gender as an unstable and constructed position, which suggests that there is no innate biological female identity. On the contrary, women adopt several roles and identities depending on their circumstances. Perhaps sherman is making a gender statement through critiquing women in representation. This is however questionable as she is willingly engaging in the subject she is critiquing. According to Mulvey the women is made into an object of male gaze. Thus making the man the spectator and the woman the spectacle. The man looks at the woman, and the woman is being looked at. This contributes and supports the stereotypical idea that men are to activity as woman are to passivity.

Her work also encourages self-reflection in the spectator. As Sherman argues. Sherman encourages viewers to create their own narratives when looking at her work. Perhaps by doing so, we become conscious participators in the story, or in the society that created these stereotypes in the first place. Depending on the narrative we create, her photographs could possibly help us to question our own ideas about gender and how it is represented in photography.
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