Through the female gaze: women and work in Italy since the 1950s

Di Trapani, Maria Chiara, Favretto, Ilaria and Pizzolato, Nicola ORCID logoORCID: (2021) Through the female gaze: women and work in Italy since the 1950s. [Exhibition Catalogue]

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This exhibition explores the relation between women and notions of work and labour in Italy, through the photographic medium, as well as the pivotal role of female photographers and women-led archives and collections in documenting the shifting representation of female work.

The history of women photographers in Italy has been strongly intertwined both with the process and the movement of women emancipation and with the broader transformation of Italian society in the 20th century. This relationship, one in which the ethical, the political, and the aesthetic inquiry come together, has long remained in the shadows in Italy, and even more so outside of Italy.

Although women photographers have engaged with the medium since its inception, opening studios and photographic laboratories, experimenting with new techniques, reporting from wars around the globe, documenting political changes and raising social issues, their images often met a mute reception and lack of recognition.

It was only in the 1960s that their work began to acquire some visibility. The growth of the publishing industry and developments in the media expanded employment opportunities in sectors such as photojournalism that had long been dominated by men. Women photographers found at last some space, which they used to claim a ‘female gaze’ on women’s representation. Many of the photographers included in the exhibition were active feminists. With wit, irony and empathy their photos questioned cinema’s and glossy magazines’ sexualised depictions of women, famously described by feminist theorist Laura Mulvey as the ‘male gaze’, subverted conventional notions of femininity and challenged increasingly untenable gender expectations.

The photos document women’s growing participation in the labour market and changing position in society as a result of Italy’s accelerated modernisation. They also portray women's efforts and determination to build a more gender equal world

Item Type: Exhibition Catalogue
Research Areas: A. > Business School > Leadership, Work and Organisations
Item ID: 34264
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Nico Pizzolato
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2021 10:06
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2022 22:24

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