Though these photographers follow a long line of women who’ve sought to subvert the covetous “male gaze”—a term, coined in 1975 by feminist critic Laura Mulvey, that addresses the way in which women are so often presented as objects for male consumption—a new generation has found itself armed with the means to broadcast new images of femininity via social media.
“The last five years have been particularly important with the emergence of so many more female photographers,” says Jansen. This increase, she says, was spurred in part by the front-facing (aka selfie) camera that was widely introduced to smartphones in 2010, and by the ability to share and view images via platforms like Instagram and Snapchat.
But Jansen also notes that the media tends to contextualize these women in a reductive fashion. “Photographs taken by women do not only exist as a counterpoint to the male narrative,” she writes in the book. Eager to complicate the representation of these women and their artistic concerns, Jansen embarked on a year and a half of interviews with 40 artists from 17 countries.