Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman ‘Untitled – 175’ (1987)

‘Untitled #175 (1987), features the remains of female performativity with food and vomit in an outdoor beach setting. Amongst the bodily fluids are a beach towel, suntan lotion, and a pair of sunglasses that reflect an image of a distraught woman. This particular photograph represents binge and purge disorders. Writes Mulvey:

The late photographs are a reminder that the female psyche may well identify with misogynistic revulsion against the female body and attempt to erase signs that mark her physically as feminine. The images of decaying food and vomit raise the spectre of the anorexic girl, who tragically acts out the fashion fetish of the female as an eviscerated, cosmetic and artificial construction. (76)

The reflection of the individual in the sunglasses suggests the absence of any real essence in women participating in performative acts. No longer feeling worthy of the gaze, the figure is only a distant image. The desire for physical perfection has eliminated authentic female identity and replaced it with behavior and appearance that has come to define what femininity is. Her images critique the idea that femininity is coherent, beautiful and idealized. She parodies the glamorization of the body and attacks woman’s fear of undesirability (Doy 271). A lifeless figure represents the possibility that society constructs femininity but will ultimately destroy it (Mulvey 76). Sherman shows her audience that women who take part in these performative acts are killing their own identity and eventually perhaps their physical selves. While her earlier works suggest femininity as masquerade and socially constructed images making up our ideas about women, the Disaster Series focuses on the corporeal body (Heartney 178). Once the performative behaviors are taken away there is no fixed femininity.’

This passage is take from: Deconstructing “Woman” The works of Cindy Sherman JULIA PAOLI accessed 03.12.09

This image  for me represents loneliness, mental torment and self disgust – feelings I experience a lot as a teenager with OCD.


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