Should men be allowed to gaze passionately at cows grazing?
Men are regularly criticized, not for their involvement in wars, genocides, or environmental destruction, but rather for engaging in what is deemed the reprehensible act of applying the "male gaze" when portraying female nudes. The term "male gaze" refers to the way in which visual media and narratives are often created from a heterosexual male perspective, objectifying and sexualizing women as mere objects of desire for the presumed male viewer.
Renowned Dutch artists, such as Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Vermeer, and Mondrian, consciously avoided painting female nudes. But they often depicted bucolic scenes from the Dutch countryside. And these scenes were often filled with happily grazing cows.
In fact, the Netherlands, with its 1.6 million cows, boasts the highest density of livestock per unit of agricultural area in Europe. This has resulted in a nitrogen crisis which poses a grave threat to the Dutch soil. Despite this ecological nightmare, both visitors and Dutchmen alike frequently pause to admire these grazing beasts, demonstrating a truly astonishing passion for them.
This series sheds light on a social issue that is arguably far more important than the male gaze: the act of males gazing at cows grazing. Thanks to the kind participation of several models, this series presents countryside scenes featuring female nudes and grazing cows. Surprisingly, when shown to a random group of Dutchmen, few could recall even noticing the women depicted in the scenes.