Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Yet I still enjoy a mostly naked David Beckham.

The male gaze is a form of typical and daily domination of women in our culture. Actually, not just our culture but a world wide form of domination over the female gender. In a way, it's the one thing women don't speak out about. Perhaps the thought of telling someone they aren't allowed to look at something that seems silly to the victim. Except it's not. It's not wrong that women feel uncomfortable when men gaze at them in a judging manner. The overly sexualized look is generally always undesired.
With the encouragement of the media, these gazes are almost impossible to fight. Think about all the ads with women behaving sexually to sell menial products. Just think of Sophia Vergara selling Pepsi and Burger King. In this Pepsi ad she her character revels in the sexual attention in order to achieve the satisfaction of drinking a can of soda, which is absurd. This wouldn't be expected of a man. Yet this fashion is accepted as normal by both men and women. 
From the readings you can see the trend is nothing new, look at the painting from the 1400's (bottom right) on page 57 of John Berger's reading then compare to the more modern photo (bottom right) from what I'm guessing is the 1950's and you can see the male gaze in both from both. The men within these images are blatantly gazing at the woman's body. They are not looking at her face, but specifically are staring at her body.
The male gazes a woman faces are often very different from the oppositional gaze described by Bell Hooks. Bell Hooks explains the oppositional gaze began as way to rebel against oppression. She gives the examples of slave owners forbidding slaves to look at them so that the desire to do the opposite grew strong and the ability to look became a precious commodity. This precious skill became a way to push back, a form of opposition. 
I understand the right to look at something is precious, even though it has never been limited to me though I do not agree with the man's perceived right to stare at women in such blatant and intruding ways. Media and the ads produced must take some of the blame for this intruding effect women face daily. It may not be a form of vocal harassment but it is enough to be wrong and unfair. Ads like this one by Armani should never be produced. In my opinion Armani is the worst offender as far as EXTREMELY sexual ads go. However, I too, have been trained to enjoy David Beckham, Fernando Torres, and Cristiano Ronaldo's mostly naked bodies. 

If those don't constitute as an intruding male gazes, then I'm not sure could. 

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