THE "MALE-GAZE"

When you look at an object, you are seeing more than just the thing itself: you are seeing the relation between the thing and yourself. Some objects are made to be looked upon. Someone puts paint to canvas, and replicates a sight. An image is formed, and now a spectator can stand facing the painting and look at the objects depicted. Furthermore, a painting can be purchased, and a person can own the image of the object.

The practice and ideology of image-ownership comes from the heyday of oil-painting in Western Europe (shall we say the 17th century), when the male spectator-owner commissioned the painter to do some oil-magic and make the likeness of something. The range of objects painted was rather inclusive, but for our purposes, I'll hone in on one genre: the female nude.

The image of the female nude has always been inactive, traditionally reclining, or sometimes even shown admiring her own image in a mirror -- all this to nurture the spectator-owner's sense of ego and possession. The painting of female beauty offered up the pleasure of her appearance for the male spectator-owner's gaze. But the spectator-owner's gaze sees not merely the object of the gaze, but sees the relationship between the object and the self. He sees her as a creature of his domain, under his gaze of possession -- simultaneously admiring and pejorative, but always as an object of his desire in his domain.

WOMEN ARE MADE TO APPEAR AS OBJECTS OF DESIRE based on their status as OBJECTS OF VISION - THE POSE

The male gaze is so pervasive in advertising that it is assumed or taken-for-granted. Females are shown offering up their femininity FOR THE PLEASURE OF AN ABSENT MALE SPECTATOR. "Men act and women appear" states Berger, before going on to note that in this scenario .

Using the rubric of the male gaze, let us explore a range of poses and how they constitute the power of the look, the gaze.

For Men
Mannequin
Narrative Twist
Absent Spectator
Gaze on Men