Sunday, 17 April 2016

The Male Gaze

Here's a snippet from London College of Fashion Student, Becky Faerber, on The Male Gaze:

There is a huge desire to satisfy the requirements of the male gaze within women's fashion. 

Materialism of women both sexually and maternally through film and advertising commonly objectifies them to the ‘male gaze’. Both the pleasure of looking (scopophilia) and the pleasure of being looked at (exhibitionism), implies that both parties are 'stimulated' by such images.

Rogue by Rhianna (fragrance) - Google Images

This advertisement has been banned from certain places for being too “sexually suggestive”. However, as the Guardian states, “The company believed the majority of women would not consider the portrayal of Rihanna to be demeaning, but rather she was depicted as being in a position of power, as indicated by the name Rogue, which suggested “one with the courage to challenge boundaries.”

Although the image is supposed to present Rihanna as powerful, it could also be seen to objectify her sexually. This then creates a sexualised culture making it acceptable to appear this way. Then encouraging this throughout society: creating a construction of the female ideal.

Society creates what culturally is seen as ‘beautiful’ and ‘unique’ and implies that women have to abide by it, but actually this is just a construction to which most people aspire. 
For example, in the modern day, the ‘pre-adolescent’ body is presented as the female ideal due to the media presenting these figures as perfect - but it didn't used to be this way. The female body is altered and changed to enable fashion to look appealing throughout the whole of history. This is seen through the use of the corsets, and in today’s society within the use of dieting and cosmetic surgery.
In the book ‘The Feminine Ideal’, Thesander argues, “In order to be accepted as a ‘woman’ it is not enough to have a woman’s body or to be feminine: you first have to meet the social demands of femininity.” This presents the idea that you cannot necessarily be biologically a female, but it’s the way you present yourself to society that makes you a female, through the way you dress and how you look...


I think perhaps there's this paradox of craving the attention of the male gaze yet also being repulsed and in fear of it (i.e. that potentially creepy looking man who stares at you in the street). 

Yikes. In my opinion, you've only got to look at images (or search particular #'s) all over Instagram [or need I mention Snapchat?] to see how many girls are posting provocative, sexually-enticing images of themselves for whatever reason - which I am not to judge. The terrifying thing is that I'm sure it's becoming more and more frequent - begging the question, has it therefore been normalized because it's a female ideal constructed by the media? 

Food for thought ey?! It strikes me that IF society objectifying women is acceptable because it's culturally attractive (and pleasurable because it draws the male gaze) and therefore becomes a female ideal then what lifestyle/challenge/issue does this present for women and young girls today?

Agree? Disagree? Thoughts?

I'll keep you posted.