Masking Herself

"In this series, women are expressing their sexuality and femininity within the safety of a magical realism setting, and behind the anonymity of the mask."

"Many women struggle with having a positive relationship with their sexuality and femininity because everything in their life is impacted by it."

#MeToo friendly

Masking Herself is a figurative visual commentary on the state of female sexuality and femininity, and how it is inevitably impacted by women’s struggle to achieve gender-equality, economic success and independence, and respect in the media. In the age of #MeToo confessions, can women finally reach their pinnacle, without losing their sense of identify?

 

With first-wave feminism, women came out of their shells. Now they hold the role of high positions of power like the CEO, government leader and accomplished athlete. 

 

Women continue to demand equality in every facet of their lives, but it has caused a loss of sexual and feminine expression for many. On their way to the top some use suppression within public and private relationships, in order to mask perceived weakness and vulnerability, qualities traditionally associated with female sexuality and femininity.    

 

In this series, the models are expressing their sexuality and femininity within the safety of a magical realism setting, and behind the anonymity of the mask. They wear the mask of an animal to represent women’s innately wild and intuitive sense of self, and act out the soft, feminine qualities women have come to suppress.  

 

At the end of both model series the women reveal their identity in order to confront the audience with their pain, power, bravery, and most importantly, their unwillingness to give up fighting for what they deserve - freedom of expression without societal judgment. 

 

Many women struggle with having a positive relationship with their sexuality and femininity because everything in their life is impacted by it – the job they’re after, the media that objectifies them, the romantic relationships they strive for. Women are often labeled with derogatory names such as “whores”, “sluts” and “arm candy” if they cross a line that society/men deem to be inappropriate. Where is this line in today’s cruel, fragile world? Where should women strive to place this line?

 

Masking Herself was photographed in Whitehorse, Yukon in northern Canada. The magical, wild and uninhabited landscape of the north gifted Emily and the models with a free sense of space to create images that express women's struggle with feminine and sexual suppression. 

© 2015 Emily Sheff PHOTOGRAPHER. Proudly created with Wix.com