As a photographer, Amanda de Cadenet is used to capturing her own way of seeing the world through a camera’s lens.
As an actress and TV presenter, though, she’s usually captured by male directors. And as a viewer, she’s frustrated at not seeing women’s points of view on screen more often. So she’s taking steps to change that.
De Cadenet is the founder of digital media company #GirlGaze, which promotes emerging female photographers and directors. “The female gaze is very under-represented in the media,” de Cadenet says. “We know this with directing; that’s finally changing somewhat, not fast enough, but it is.”
Often, she observes, male directors and photographers portray women as idealized objects of desire. Women, though, have experienced aspects of themselves that men have not, so their “gaze” is different.
“We see our bodies not just as sexual entities, but we see them as being nurturing,” she says. “They are sustenance for children. There’s a whole different relationship to your body. You would often portray that differently on camera, or in a film, than you would if it was a male perspective.”
Some films, says de Cadenet, do express that female gaze, and some directors are opening doors to that vision. One director de Cadenet especially appreciates is Jane Campion, known for such features as “The Piano” and for directing the TV series “Top of the Lake.”
“She is one of the most prolific women,” says de Cadenet. “She is a pioneer. She has opened the door for many women to come behind her.”
As CEO of a media company, de Cadenet is in a position to hire women as well. Female producers, she says, have been the key to empowering other women. “They are saying, ‘I want this woman director,’ ‘I want this woman DP,’ ‘I want this woman showrunner.’ That’s how it’s growing, from the women who have gotten in who are putting together teams of women.”
Another director de Cadenet points to is Kathryn Bigelow, who has worked a lot on “male” genres. She’s done action as well as war films such as “The Hurt Locker.”
“I would love to see a film where she has female leads,” de Cadenet says. “I’m just curious what that story would be, what those lives would be. But again, she’s opened the door for many women.”
*Titles subject to availability