The male gaze is the unwanted stare, that silent message of ‘I want you’, and the uncomfortable feeling on your back. It follows women everywhere regardless of how we look, and it causes us to feel like objects. John Berger says, “Me look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at.” This pressure that is put on women causes them to maintain a look that is ultimately unattainable. From the time that we are born that is the first thing a woman is taught to think about, how her dress fits, is her hair frizzy, and if our lipstick is red enough. The male gaze is what tells women that it is, with that said we seek that attention. It is a fact that as humans we are extremely materialistic , and we allow it to shape our minds and way of life.
Since we are materialistic, we look to different types of media to tell us what is “in”. From raunchy commercials and sensual car adds, to exploitation of women in the video industry. Young women especially are encouraged to believe that walking around with little to no clothing on is sexy and the style now. Our society creates a false status that many women wish to stand on, what they don’t know is that it encircles around disrespect. They are setting themselves up for men to believe that since they dress like that and respond to my cat calls, it must be ok to continue to do so with every woman. Unfortunately men are that simple minded, but back to women. This constant attention makes us feel powerful, we want the looks, we want to flaunt our hip and thighs. Some are just not willing to wait for that one gentlemen, they believe the self – told lie that is what’s sexy.
Bell Hooks focuses more on the oppositional gaze. It kinda gives us the recognition of our own power to react. This gives us some sort of leeway of being rebellious and brings an air of equality to the table. This may alter the playing field, but it does not pluck the root of the issue. Knowing that you have power allows you to have a sort of control over the situation. With Bell Hooks we see a battle of sexism and racism, and it attacks the lack of diversity in mainstream advertisement and media. By doing this she hopes to diminish ignorance and acknowledge reality through her films.
Now I am not going to sit here and try to say that all women and men are airheads that listen only to what the media says. That would just be the implement of pointing the finger. There is some type of hope. As a woman, I can only really see from one side of the window. I can only infer with great reasoning how a man thinks. One that note I can go on and say that were are not all sex crazed beings. Few have been able to be civil and to speak to one another without the disrespect. In retrospect this isn’t a sexist problem it is humanity itself.
If we were to speak up about these issues then we wouldn't have to stress this much. The battle between the sexes wouldn't be so rough. And if a problem did arise it would be less intense then the one we a fighting now. We point fingers without looking at the real problem, men and women can interact without women being objectified. Sadly since this is how it has been since the beginning of time, old habits die hard.