The Gothic Mirror and the Female Gaze
Visualization of sexuality during the medieval cultures is an exciting aspect of art. The concerns of various visions that anticipated in visualizing female and male representation in the medieval culture have depicted some gender roles and male dominance in the society. At the closure of the 13th century and the sunrise of the 15th century, hand mirrors designed in a curved ivory case were prevalent among the luxury artworks handled by women (Smith, 2003). The presence of these mirrors among women tries to show that women are destined for beauty and decoration. This separates the nature of men and women sexuality during the medieval cultures.
The existence of these medieval Gothic mirrors and women gaze encouraged frequent condemnation by the medieval evangelists and preachers (Smith, 2003). Moralists claim that women using Gothic mirrors fails to convince other women to denounce their undesirable trinkets. It is against the morals and religious to add beauty by adding make-ups and additional beautifiers like pieces of jewelry. Therefore, along with combs and caskets created from the ivory, the gothic mirrors for women provide opportunities for these women to practice medieval art outside the religious framework practice.
However, among other luxury objects, gothic mirrors depicts some special interest in women. The mirror solicits the practice of women to look at themselves for admiration and enhancement of beauty (Smith, 2003). Therefore, medieval art integrated women in the culture where women are related to their activities as beholders. Just like today, mirrors during medieval cultures were used by women for grooming. The more the women admire at herself, the more the self-esteem. Therefore, giving an opportunity for women to be part of the culture increases women participation in society.
Smith, S. L. (2003). The gothic mirror and the female gaze. Saints, Sinners, and Sisters: Gender and Northern Art in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, 73-93.