Exhibition "Female Beauty 2019 - Celebration of the Feminine"
All of March 2019 on Nytorv in Copenhagen
The two sexes' different reactions to my exhibition at Nytorv
"Female Beauty 2019 - Celebration of the Feminine"
Posted on March 27, 2019 in BT (Danish News Media)
by Mathilde Grafström, nude art photographer
"Here in March I have my second big exhibition at Nytorv of natural naked women in nature. I visit the exhibition every day to talk to people about their reactions and to explain my project about fighting the negative self-image that torment so many of today's women.
I have noticed that the two sexes have very different reactions.
The men mostly smile and express how beautiful the exhibition is. The women, on the other hand, often look worried, sour or angry. Some scold me and ask: Why haven't you photographed the ugly girls?
The women sometimes get so angry that they give the exhibition the finger and walk out. A young woman in her twenties had an out burst one day and said: "This is horrible!" And quickly went her way. Another woman, about 45 years old, exclaimed loudly and angrily "SKINNY BITCHES!" And left the exhibition in anger, before I could talk to her.
Many women react with accusations and blaim me of merely showing beautiful girls, saying that there is therefore nothing new in this art show - which just makes them worse with themselves!
But these women I show pictures of, are beautiful because I have photographed them - in a moment when they just forgot themselves, and therefore were natural and brilliant. My models are ordinary girls, and not the traditionally beautiful women.
The more positive visitors tell me that they find the girls brave because they dare to take the lead in the fight against prudishness and display themselves no matter what others think about them afterwords. But also because they dare to follow their heart and their own will, even if they risk being looked down upon by their family and friends.
For me, the two different reactions reflect the problems we women have with our sexuality.
The men's mostly positive reactions show that they do not have a hard time doing what they need to do as men, namely to love and admire the woman.
The woman's sexuality is more pretentious because we need to enjoy ourselves through one who enjoys us. The negative experience we often have of ourselves as women, with non-perfectly-perfect women's bodies makes this difficult.
The characteristic of the negative self-image is that we constantly compare ourselves with others, compete and feel envy towards women who we believe look better than us. Therefore, the majority of female visitors react with strong emotions such as envy, anger, disgust, indignation and fear.
The women I talk to often express disappointment, discouragement and annoyance. They feel let down by me and my exhibition. They say they want to be free, and now feel provoked by the pictures of young, beautiful women.
So I try again and again to explain that my message is that all women hold this unlimited beauty, independent of body, form and age. Even the young women in the pictures are very dissatisfied with themselves. A beautiful 19-year-old model I photographed told me that "At my school, everyone I know, hate their own body." But isn't that thoughtful?
If you now go down and study my exhibition you will see that there are also pictures of older women, of a spastic paralyzed model in a wheelchair, and of chubby women with dells.
Because the models on my pictures are so sparkling beautiful, you just can't believe they are not classical well-shaped beauties - but they are not. The body shape just means very little when it comes to beauty, the beauty is created by our love for ourselves. That's what is so amazing.