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Seminar Two - The Gaze & The Media

Continuing from last week and Freudian theories, we start to unpick the gaze and the media.

Social Control links the first three lectures, or the way we mentally control ourselves.

In our world, we are subjects. We have our own notion of ourselves. Under a capalist society we view people not as subjects or individuals but as an object. But, people generally do that back to us too. For example we are instantly looked at and branded as students.

When looking at Hans Memling's 'Vanity' we have a process where the viewer is sexually objectifying the women and the reciprocal gaze is not returned. She looks at herself. This gives us social power. It makes us feel conformable to look at her when she gazes back at herself.

"John Berger - The Ways of Seeing"

What is the power situation presented?

All Artists at the time of this painting were men. Art production was generally dominated until the mid 20th Century by men. This image was painted by a man for men. People who made and bought art were all men.

The obvious choice of subject to paint for a man is a naked women which creates the artist genre known as a 'nude'.

You also get art critiques who are all men at this time  writing about how beautiful, delicate and aesthetic the female form is to use as a subject for artist study. It's more worthy.

The images are without a doubt slightly pornographic but what we have here is a whole aesthetic situation which was designed to justify the male objectifying of women. Nude painting is a way that males could look at the work like porn but with no guilt attached.

The women is passive and subservient to the male. The meek and mild look of the women is seen recurring in romantic fiction, tv soaps, films. the woman is there as the sex object rather than having any other function. The women is there to be gazed at and wants to be and knows that she is the sexual object but in fact even revels in it. The woman is actually looking at herself which almost suggests that your taking the piss out of the women for being so vain and looking at herself.

This happens in contemporary pornography. The women is there. A femininity which is a male dominance but your laughing at her at the same time by calling her a vain slut.

Katie Price and Jordan. Theres an extra element that she is presented as really stupid which again means that she is easily dominatable. This is male fantasies that rely on the illusion that women are easy to control and dominate.

Katie Price is somebody who is really vain, stupid, ridiculous exaggeration with enormous breasts and she wants to appear for men and please men.

It is logical that the same results are occurring today that happened

1863 - the top image was the most popular image in 'The Salon' which was a big exhibition of work which got artist famous through the public eye. The women in this image looks back at us but in a flirtatious way. This women is Venus, the Goddess of Love which adds to the sexualisation. This is not reality. 

The second image was rejected by 'The Salon' and this is due to confrontation. In this image, the woman's hand is covering herself with a more force. The women is supposed to be a prostitute which is a contemporary 'Goddess of Love'. You can temporarily own a prostitute for a cost but you don't really have power over them. They can only be bought so she is in power. 

This image is classed as sleazy but in reality is more akin to society. 

The first image justifies men to run society by suggesting that we can't have women in charge because they will 'be vain' or just 'get naked'. 

In this image, the hand is much more suggestive. 'Tickling' as appose to the. She's meeting the gaze but in a much more passive way. Scattering rose petals around waiting for the husband to come back. In the first image there is a cat and in this one there is a dog. A dog is a mans best friend where as cats are 'sneaky' and independent. A women is looking after the kids in the background. 

The first image is about female independence where as the second is the ultimate male fantasy. This is what is quite shocking to know that women's sexualisation is used as weapons of power, even today. 

50's Male Magazine
Vue - America's Photo Digest

It pictates the women as only interest is being sexy for men. "My Hobby is Men". 

"Hypnotism - Cure For Frigidity?" This sugests that if the women does not find you attractive to have sex with you then that must be a problem with her and this can somehow be fixed using hypnotism. 

More often than not, the images that we see are seen through the eyes of men. 

You get these femininities that emerge in modern society where women start to believe that this is the way a women should act. They should primarily be seen as sexy and domesticated while the man goes out and works. It is not really about sex anymore, but in fact men keeping women in their place. It hits on social control.

Tipalet Cigarettes
" Blow in her face and she'll follow you anywhere "

This is not just about sex, but domination of women which justifies the dominance of males in society.

Wonderbra Advert
'I can't cook, who cares?'

The product is for a female but looks to be advertised to men because he essentially will be paying for the product. 

Superficially is this image depicting the women as Dominant or Subversive?

The pose is quite dominant and the gaze is powerful but the fact that she's wearing no clothes presents her as being submissive. "She can't cook, who cares? She's still a supermodel"

The other way to read this is a semi-naked women on display to a man. By saying 'I can't cook' means that this is disappointing to men because she can't be a domestic slave. She compensates for this by being a sexual slave and object. It's a trap for men. 

It is aimed at both men and women. They will buy the wonder bra to turn their women into this passive figure and women too because this will make them assertive. 

"Glamour Magazine"
"Men's Top 10 Sex Wants"

giving away tips like how to look good for a man and 'the ultimate guide to his parts'.

The Gaze - Re-Cap 

- Objectification of women
- Power & Domination
- Social Control
- Sexuality 
- FEM - Submissive/Passive
- MAS - Dominant/Active

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