Stella Burns

The Performance of Femininity

Screen Shot 2019 10 16 At 11 33 01 Am

My films and research in this project explore the cinematic performance of femininity. I examine how the female body is constructed within a filmic narrative to convey specific rules of femininity. I question the purpose of this gender performance within my work by exaggerating and extending the fantasy of cinema and destabilising the ground it sits on.

Screen Shot 2019 10 16 At 12 32 48 Pm
Screen Shot 2019 10 16 At 12 46 07 Pm

The presentation of my female form within the domestic space shows the tension between my own individualised body and associations of filmic female body. I activate this space by performing feminine ideals and activities that connote traditional notions of femininity. Instead of making such tropes demeaning, they act as a broadening of what it means to be feminine in front of a camera as the female represented takes charge of how she/I want to look like.

I foreground my own meaningfully-clothed figure to show how the female body can perform femininity in a way that moves away from the male gaze. Instead the body aims to become an individual creative and desiring subject.

Screen Shot 2019 10 16 At 12 58 32 Pm

In my double image, the spectator is invited to literally view multiple sides of my presentation. I extend myself past one characterised woman to a multi-faceted presentation of how I see myself and want to be seen.

My use of self-portraiture creates a reflexive view of how I adopt stereotypes and fashion them into my own individual presentation of gender, applied with anxiety and pleasure.

Screen Shot 2019 10 10 At 11 23 59 Pm
Screen Shot 2019 10 10 At 11 22 16 Pm

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