Monday, November 30, 2009

The female Gaze

Sturken and Cartwright describe the Male Gaze as portrayals of women as sexual objects. Women's bodies were "posed so that her body is on display for the viewer's easy appreciation." Furthermore, a majority of the images of women portray them as passive, indirect, and submissive. The message from these depictions of women being sent is that, according to Sturken and Cartwright, "men act, women appear." In other words, women play the gentle damsel (though not necessarily always in distress) while the men play their knight in shining armor. Not until the 70s and 8os did portrayals of men in art and advertisements also objectify their body. Men are depicted with sculpted and chiseled bodies and are deemed "aesthetically pleasing" by women. However, the majority of these depictions also play into the "men act, and women appear" idea. They are often portrayed as the strong and assertive hero. The image posted below is a clear example of this.  

The product is pads for women. The pad is represented as one that will provide confidence and comfort for women due to its comparison to the male model. The ad depicts the man as a strong and secure figure in a woman's life, and is further objectified with his buff body.  It is clearly a "cultural commentary on male sexuality, glamour, and body norms and ideal." (p. 129) Even his stance portrays him as a strong male... you can see that he's closing a safe, further establishing him as a secure figure. Even the message of money as security is sent in this ad. 

On a side note...I found an interesting ad from a magazine in the UK from the 80s that pays homage to Gloria Steinem's "If Men Could Menstruate" 

check the website to see a bigger picture of it and to read its explanation.

1 comment: