Ask Morgana 063: Gabrielle Ray

Before I mention today’s subject, please allow me to touch on another matter. Coincidentally to someone asking me what my position was on the publishing by women of erotic images of women, my attention was drawn to this video – hopefully you can see it where you are. It concerns one woman’s response to having had nude photographs of herself stolen and published on the internet. Hers is a very interesting response, and foregrounds the issue of consent.

On the question of the publishing of erotic images generally, most of which – let’s face it – are of women for men, that introduces a topic about which books could be written, and very probably have been written. One important aspect is that of ‘objectification’, which simply means treating a person as a thing. As a gay woman, do I objectify members of my own gender when I post an image of a woman dressed, half-dressed, or undressed? I would say that I am entirely aware that each image is of a person, but is in its own right an object, a two-dimensional, static depiction. Some would say that I am being disingenuous for saying so. As I shall shortly be blogging a series of posts about erotic art, this is an issue and a question for which I have no easy answer, but which I will be bearing in mind. See what you think, as we look at pictures of Gabrielle Ray, and do feel free to email me with your thoughts.

Gabrielle Ray, whom I am sure I have featured before, was one of the most frequently-photographed young woman of the first decade of the 20c. Her fame did not last long, however, and she spent a lot of her life in psychiatric hospitals. She died in 1973. I would like to share five pictures of her from a time when her flame burned brightest.






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