s: Apr 11, 2014 – May 03, 2014.”4 These photos prove that society stages what the female body “is” through showing how they “should” act and look like.5 Sherman’s “1977-80 Film Stills” demonstrates that the framing of the female body in the media is a form of mechanical reproduction that destroys women’s autonomy over their identity because mechanical reproduction and its meanings reinforce repressive socioeconomic systems and gender stereotypes. Through reproducing familiar, general female movie images in photos, Sherman uses hyperquotationalism and irony to challenge social conventions that control and dominate the construction of the female self.
Sherman uses film allusions because film, according to Walter Benjamin, reproduces images that destroy the aura of art, and in this case, film destroys the art of autonomy on womanhood by creating gender conventions. Film is considered as a product of its context, where it can reflect social values and practices or question it. In other words, society creates films that create society. Benjamin argues that mechanical reproduction destroys the aura or soul of art because “the technique of reproduction detaches the reproduced object from the domain of tradition. By making many reproductions it substitutes a plurality of copies for a unique existence.”6 The reproduction process is a detaching process, or a process that takes away the human element from the output. Film, in connection, Benjamin says, also destroys art because it is manipulated (i.e. through editing and other content and cinematic techniques) to represent limited or distorted perceptions of reality.7 Films from the 1940s to 1960s, even up to now, are full of gender stereotypes. By being constantly made and viewed, films, in effect, are promoting these stereotypes as female standards.
Sherman uses photography to copy cinematic images that are “charged” with subjective meanings that decrease or make it hard to know difference