I contend that the images of bathers, though limited in number, reveal a larger tableau wherein the canonical sensuous naked body of the female undergoes construction and deconstruction. In an attempt to discuss the nature and scope of these images, I will rely on the concepts of the “male gaze” and “visual pleasure” as formulated by cinema critic Laura Mulvey, as well as the notion of “third gender” developed, for instance, in Gilbert Herdt’s study as a theoretical tool in the study of gender. The “female” thereby transcends traditional gender boundaries and is no longer portrayed as a fixed perception.Her image acquires a new identity as a “third gender” and emerges on common ground with the male body. This turn of events creates a dissonance between anatomical sex, gender, and identity, what Judith Butler calls “gender trouble.” In my conclusion, I will test these interpretations against the probable cultural and contextual setting of the images—a Greek monastic community alongside its values and ideals.
[Read the Full Article