‘…how she appears to men, is of crucial importance for what is normally thought of as the success of her life. Her own sense of being in herself is supplanted by a sense of being appreciated as herself, by another…. men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at… Thus she turns herself into an object — and most particularly an object of vision: a sight.”
from ‘Ways of Looking’ by John Berger
Five years ago, innocent photos of a then 17-year-old Em Cole began circulating anonymous forums online and she became a victim of violent, sexualised and degrading harassment from faceless men. The emotional effects relentlessly following her into the present day, she decided to no longer feel ashamed as she realised the sexualisation wasn’t her fault. Finding empowerment in knowledge, she works to uncover and show how increasing issues of sexual harassment that women experience online do not stem from the internet itself, but are in fact deeply rooted throughout history’s depiction of women.
‘I’m Your Venus’ is a critique on the objectification of women in contemporary culture. Referencing John Berger’s ‘Ways of Seeing’ and Laura Mulvey’s Male Gaze in 70’s Hollywood film, the latest offering from upcoming artist Em Cole see’s a strip tease with a twist, blurring fantasy with the digital to reveal the hollow nature of the female ideal.