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Gender Masquerade: A Study on the ‘Mask Portrait’ by Modern Women Photographers

  • Journal of History of Modern Art
  • 2021, (50), pp.139-163
  • Publisher : 현대미술사학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Art > Arts in general > Art History
  • Received : October 25, 2021
  • Accepted : November 30, 2021
  • Published : December 31, 2021

Ahn YoungJoo 1

1홍익대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study examines the masquerade strategy represented in portrait photographs of women photographers in the early twentieth century and examines the subversive functions that masquerade brings to gender identity. First, a mask or masquerade reveals a coherent and single identity as an illusion by functioning as concealment and resistance in relation to identity. Joan Rivière introduced masquerade into the study of womanliness, pointing out that original gender identity is a fiction by asserting that there is no difference between true womanliness and womanliness as a mask. Judith Butler also discussed the concept of parody or performative gender, arguing that gender identity is produced through ‘a stylized repetition of acts,’ and that it is open to re-meaning because it always occurs through repetition and re-citation. Women photographers deconstruct the boundaries of gender identity assumed to be original through masquerade, and constitute temporary gender that does not assume essential attributes. They reveal through photographs that gender is an act, a performance and a manipulated sign, and their masquerade strategy is largely expressed in the use of genderized objects, the production of reflective images using mirrors, and stylized representations of gender. Mascarade can be said to be a gender parody strategy that breaks down the boundary between true femininity and disguised femininity and inverts and reverses the hierarchy between them.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.