Since the world has been turned upside down, it might not be a bad idea to look at it upside down. Reverse it to see it again in another way. The German artist Hani Hape must have thought something like this. Intrigued by the fact that we live surrounded by images of female nudes, but there are hardly any male nudes that show men as a desirable object for women, she has decided to bell the cat. Her project, almost an experiment, has consisted of recreating some blatantly erotic images of the legendary fashion photographer Helmut Newton, replacing the models with real men to see how the gender change suited them. First surprise: “It’s not easy to find men who drop their pants,” the artist admitted to the magazine. Monopol . He approached all his friends, made incursions into nightclubs and even opened a fake account on the gay dating app Grindr… Finally he managed to recruit psychologists, choreographers and waiters, and made them pose with their pants down to their knees, seemingly helpless. before the scrutinizing gaze of women who smoke comfortably lounging in armchairs; completely naked, about to be assaulted by businesswomen in suits inside a desolate parking lot or ready to ride on all fours on a bed, with their buttocks in the air and a shiny horse saddle behind them.
Hape has compiled the photographs into a book, sakura , but it is encountering many difficulties in displaying them. Suddenly, the same scenes fantasized by Newton that were published in mainstream magazines like Vogue either elle With the roles reversed – this is not only about sex, but about who has the power to look and who dominates whom – they are perceived as something threatening or shameful. We are a one-eyed society: the absence or invisibility of women artists for centuries has meant that the world was seen with only one eye, the male eye. And letting go of that embedded vision still sends chills of panic through the brain for many.
“Misogynists say they love women, but they represent them with humiliating images”
30 years ago the feminist Alice Schwarzer (German like Newton and Hape) warned: “Newton provides propaganda material for the war of the sexes. “Every year, higher doses.” She even went so far as to report him, unsuccessfully, to court. And in a meeting on a television set, Susan Sontag confronted him face to face: “As a woman, I consider his photos to be very misogynistic.” “I love women, it’s what I love most in the world,” Newton responded. Then, the philosopher and essayist replied: “That is what many misogynists say, but they represent them with humiliating images. The executioner loves his victim.”
I could say the same thing now to all the Rubiales, so entrenched in that machismo that had become normalized, that they are not even able to recognize the violence of their sexist actions. It’s not that they don’t want to, it’s that they can’t.