John Berger Said That in Terms of Representation Men Act and Women Appear - Gender Essay Example
To understand the idea of the male gaze I willl be looking back on the development of the gaze and how it has developed into days society andespacially in the form of music videos - John Berger Said That in Terms of Representation Men Act and Women Appear introduction. John berger observed that ‘ according to usage and conventions which are at last being questioned but have by omeans been overcome – men act and women appear. Men look atowomen. Women watch themselves being looked at’(Berger 1972,45,47) Berger first saw the idea of the male gaze when he arued that in European art form the renaissance onwars women were deoicted as beinf ‘aware of being seen by a male spectator’ (ibid. 49) he advanced his thinking and the idea tht the realistic, ‘highly tactile’ depiction of things on oil paintings and kater in colour photography, in particular where they were they were portrayed as ‘within touching distance, represented a desire to posses the things depicted (ibid. ,83) In later writings from berger , he insisted that women were still ‘depicted in a different way to men – because the ‘‘ideal’’ spectaor is always assume to be a male and the image of the woman is designed to flatter him’ (ibid. ,64).
To back up bergers theory , in 1996 Jib Fowles still felt able to insit that ‘ in advertising males gaze and females are gazed at’ (Fowles 1996, 204). Also Paul Messaris adds that female models in advertisements addressed to women ‘ treat the lens as a substitute for the eye of an imaginary male onlooker,’ adding also that ‘it could be argued that when women look at theses ads, they ae actually seeing themselves as a man might see them’ (Messaris 1997,41) Such advetisments ‘ appear to imply a male point of view, even though the intended viewer is often a woman.
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So the women who look at these ads are being invited to identify both with the person being viewed and with an implicit opposite- sex viewer’ (ibid. , 44) The male gaze is the look that asserts dominance and control, that of the male dominance and he control he has over the woman. It has been described as a voyeuristic pleasure adapted by white males to a patriarchal society. The gaze objectifies and sexualizes the woman to his own viewing pleasure. The male gaze has developed and creaed a culture of sexualizing women and represents a production of reality. ith this women have been encouraged to dress and look sexy and desirable not for herself but for the benefit of men. The gaze has been enforced a self reflection and over consciouness of how we should look for both men and women however women have been more subjected to it. The male gaze is deemed responsible undermining womans work. This has been embedded over years through popular culture such as films, mahzines, advertisments and billboards. Women have been displayed as models, pinups and stripers, all utilizing women to secure market profits and to draw a male audience.
This strategy of using women to advertise products by turing them in to sexual objects has been seen as a very lucrative idea. According to Bell Hooks, the oppositional gaze is seen as a powerful look that goes on to challenge authority and serves as a powerful tool for colonized black people globally. Black women have refered to the gaze as a form of resistance to the well know male gaze and its perception of the ideal image of a woman. On the other hand the white male gaze has enforced he sterote and ideology of racial superiority and white supremacy.
The ideal women presented in different medias were white women who exhibited a sense of beauty and a oura of sexiness. Bell Hooks claims that black women are not granted the permisson to look. The oppositional gaze is a form of confrontation to the male gaze and its dominance in society . In reference to bell hooks, ‘‘Not only will I stare, I want to look to change reality. ’’ the opposestional gze is a look that gives women the power and encouragement to change the construction of reality.
Not allowing the streotype to be the main focus and allowing people to make the change theselves by what they see in the media wether they believe what they see or take from it what they want and form their own opinions of what the male gaze should be. Could bergers theory be outdatesd? with the rise in todays successful women are these women using the gaze to benefit themselves? In the world of music videos and the creation of ‘Divas’ do these stars use their sexuality to further their career.
In my opinion yes, strong female figures in the music business such as Beyonce, Madonna and lady gaga who are all well known for their musical talent and outrageous music videos. Sex and its glamorized portrayal have become a major componant in te creation and also production in todays music vidoes. The role taken by the government in the amount of sexual imagery and the use of vulgar lyrics that are permitted to be included in vidoes and songs has not been taken seriously, or to great lengths.
To days typical music video consists of both sexual imagery and vulgar lyrics to grab the views attention. As the the idea and notions of sex and ‘rude’ lyrics seem to appeal to the targte audicence. According to the record industry association of America, studies have been taken out by proffessors to reveal wether sexual imaes were randomly placed in music vidoes or if there was a pattern of their apperance was consistent. The results showed that ‘sexual images ane appeared in more than one in four videos’’. mong these were mages of provocative clothing , suggestive movements, kissing, sexual bondage and sadomasochism appeared. Since almost all music videos are directed primarily men, the music videos today have become more sexualy obsessed. Wether it be a male or female singer in the past 10 years most videos will show half naked men or women. From britney spears to 50 cent all show the female aspect of the video wether the singer or the backing dancer(s) to be half dressed and performing provocative dance moves. This appeals to the male views wo wathc the vidoes.
But as mentioned before are the female singers producing vidoes like this only for the male benefit or for themselves showing them as a strong, successful individual. Many female singers have been pin ups on young girls walls for decades, showing role models and what they want to be when their older. This can been seen in a positive and negative light. Tepstivie is that it shows women can be successful and make money and live in big houses. However the negative side could be that this shows to young girls that the only way you can become like them is o look and dress like them, showing off your body, sometng for men to look at.
Additional roles that many women hold in music vidoes appeal to sexual fantasies held by many men. This includes women takng on the roles of strippers o exotic dancers, prositutes and even in some case dominatrix. To satisfy a young boys fantasy it is also shown that women dress as teachers and inturn for the older men watching , school girls. Others include the females to dress as cheerleaders, prisoners , playmates and even the elusion of lesbians. The role of the lesbians relates back to common theme of voyerism or of being watches.
This can also stem in the ideas of pornography, which a lot of music vidoes show but have to be blured out but with this it is stil prominent what is going on. All these acts and dress up are some of the common temes that tend to appear within these typical vidoes. Since it is made to show that the male controls the female’s sexuality and makes it into what they want, the women and their actual feelings on the sexuality have no voice. This similar tee holds true on other medias such as television , magazines and movies for examples.
When it comes to female artsits like mentioned earlier does the rules still aply. The story is greatly influenced by the individual artist as well as the ideas set in place by pre-existing womens movements. In many instances, the artist lyrics conflict with the images in the video. Hier main challenge is to tell a different type of story without losing the attention of the audience. Thi can be seen in Madonnas controversial vidoes. Although offensive to many, she claimed and acted as if she was doing good in the name of female sexuality.
Showing her self to take on male dancers, that she controlled them. That they were the sexual object instead of her. To gobck to he lryics conflicting with the images in the videos, it can be said in most females singers cases they sing and express that they want someone to look after the, to treat them right but whilst singing theses lyrics they show them selves as sexual onject by dancing round in next to nothing contradicting the image they are singing about in their songs.
One major song that examples these ideas is that of britney spears’ music video ‘not a girl, not yet a woman’ this song states how the singer is going through a change, how she wants to be seen as a women, for her heart not to be broken so on and so forth, however she shows herself in minimalist clothes looking seductively in to the camera. The lyrics are what he artist want to say but the vidoes are what they use to sell, to make money. Mulvey writes, “Going far beyond highlighting a woman’s to-be-looked-at-ness, cinema builds the way she is to be looked at into the spectacle itself. Sut Jhally has explored this “male dreamworld” of music videos in a series of documentaries entitled “Dreamgirls. ” Jhally argues that such portrayal of women in music videos shapes cultural opinion and expectations of women. MTV’s toughest critics have argued that the predominance of such male fantasy images has greatly influenced the fashion and sexual behavior of young, impressionable women over the past two-three decades. But the issue of expectation extends to men as well. Men raised on the images of MTV come to expect a certain submissiveness on the part of their female peers.
Such expectations are undoubtedly unfair but come into play in our culture on a constant basis. 50 Cent is by no means a feminist. In Pink’s “Stupid Girls” – a critique of seemingly counter-feminist pop icons such as Jessica Simposon and Paris Hilton, she sings, “What happened to the dream of a girl president? / She’s dancing in the video Next to 50 Cent. ” Granted, scantily-clad fantasy women are a constant star in 50’s videos. Yet, his latest, “Ayo Technology” explores this darker side of the fantasy world – yet its message remains slightly ambiguous.
Visually speak, “Ayo Technology” – which also features Justin Timberlake and Timbaland – is not simply a bikini filled fantasy, but a much darker dreamworld of voyeurism and sexual violence. Timberlake moves through rather confident, seemingly on a never-ending mission to revoke his teeny bopper status by continuing to make himself as creepy as possible. Similarly, Timbaland seems always eager to make himself seem as weird as he can. 50, on the other hand, steps through the video’s sexual fantasies somewhat awkwardly, almost embarrassed to reveal so much of his own vulnerability.
Lyrically, “Ayo Technology” is about sexual frustration. 50 and Timberlake have built these sexual expectations through viewing of music videos and pornography – only to find that the women of the real world in large part do not act like this. “I’m tired of using technology,” sings Timberlake of his unfulfilled sexual desire and inability to get off in the real world. Pathetically, he adds, “She wants it, she wants it,” singing to absolutely no one in particular. Are we to blame 50 and Timberlake for these expectations of submissive female behavior or are they simple naive products of popular culture.