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Don’t demonise the ‘male gaze’ We risk erasing the erotic from film altogether

Would Blue is the Warmest Colour have been as good if the actors had been less fetching? Credit: IMDB

Would Blue is the Warmest Colour have been as good if the actors had been less fetching? Credit: IMDB


December 9, 2020   6 mins

Scarlett Johansson’s pert bum in bubble-gum pink underwear. This is the memorable opening shot of Lost in Translation. The audience is spectator of an intimate, unguarded moment in the life of Charlotte, who is on the cusp of her pupation into mature womanhood and self-discovery. The image is girly, yet brazenly sensual, with perhaps a suggestion of loneliness, of pent up longing, of being untouched.

If it weren’t for the fact that the director of the film was Sofia Coppola, a woman, this shot would unquestionably be taken as a vintage example of the dreaded ‘male gaze’, the bĂȘte noire of feminists, who might see it ravenously honing in on a female body in a ‘pervy’ manner, objectifying Johansson at will for male voyeurism and domination. Still, the ideologically blinkered would find a way of arguing that Coppola’s ‘internalised sexism’ caused her to pander to the hegemonic male gaze.

Laura Mulvey coined the phrase, in her 1975 essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”.She argued that cinema has been a medium for the dissemination of misogyny and patriarchal ideology, presenting women as passive erotic objects for the titillation of the actively-looking male heterosexual subject. Megan Fox bending over a motorcycle in very short denim shorts in Transformers 2, for example. For Mulvey, the male gaze is necessarily unethical because “all too often 
 female bodies are shown to be objects designed to please men and conform to mainstream ideals of femininity”.

Increasingly in film, any supposedly sexualised representations of the female body receive a backlash; every once in a while a male critic will be pilloried on social media for writing a horny review that objectifies a starlet in a ‘creepy’ fashion. We are in danger of erasing the erotic from film altogether.

These objections have a subtle but alarmingly puritanical edge to them, reminiscent of a religious hatred of the body and sexuality, their appropriation for pleasure and fun being seen as an offence to decency, as well as fundamentally immoral. This view has been especially repressive for women — it paternalistically claims to protect their modesty and dignity, from the diabolic world of sex, deemed antagonistic to their maidenly nature. But, as we know, lust doesn’t only belong to men.

With sexual liberalisation, women gaining more autonomy and social power, and the rise of sex-positive feminism, the “the female gaze” has arrived. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, for instance, has been credited with helping to assert female sexual agency in her comedy Fleabag,in which her character frequently and openly fantasises about men she fancies, sexually objectifying the male body, bracingly representing women as actively desiring sexual beings, instead of simplythe objects of male desire. Films such as Gone Girl and Portrait of a Lady on Firehave also been championed as an antidote to the exploitative male gaze by privileging female desire, the latter pushing men out of the frame altogether.

While this is a generally positive development, a simplistic dichotomy is often constructed between the female gaze and the (straight) male gaze, which according to critic Christina Newland, “has no radical mileage”. The female gaze is portrayed as edenic and spiritually dignified, in contrast to the demonic and depraved nature of the male gaze. “If male thirst simplifies women to bits of flesh, then female thirst tends to be all about fleshing out the person inside,” as one critic put it.

Feminist theorists assert that the male gaze is an instrument of women’s oppression. Of course, it canbe this. As we know, some men can be incredibly cruel when talking about women and their bodies, exploiting shame, anxiety over their appearance and the sexual double standard to humiliate them. Furthermore, the male gaze in specific contexts, where power relations are at play, can be a precursor for violence and abuse. Think of the sexist, piggish boss in 9 to 5, who takes pleasure in groping and sexually bullying his secretaries (who then proceed to get their revenge).

But the implication that the male gaze could only ever be brutish and oppressive is to have a truncated view of male desire. Women can’t be reduced to their bodies, but the vast majority of men don’t merely see women’s bodies as ‘pussy’ to be pounded or punching bags to be sparred with. It is something to be awed and respected as a source of erotic contemplation (just as the male body can be for women).

“The eternal feminine draws us on high”, wrote Goethe. The male gaze isn’t simply an expression of male sexual power over women. It is just as likely to be an expression of alienation, of vulnerability; a yearning for tenderness and a nervous assertion that beauty is good and to be preserved in the midst of an increasingly ugly and colourless world. It seems like the only people not permitted to soliloquise about the male gaze are men themselves.

Invocations of the male gaze have become like truncheons deployed to condemn sexual desire and expression. Is every portrayal of the sexualised human form really inherentlydegrading? It’s almost a secular way of condemning the sin of lust, where any image of the female form that could conceivably be attractive to men (which, let’s be real, is most of them) is pandering to the male gaze, therefore the production of that image is ‘objectification’, therefore it is immoral.

The lengthy and graphic sex scenes in Blue is The Warmest Colour between the two lesbian protagonists were excoriated for supposedly being “male gaze porn” disguised as art house cinema, because the camera focuses in on the bodies of these attractive actresses for minutes on end in a way that was apparently designed to please straight men.

What? Are we really going to define beauty according to a narrow ideological agenda, because it a priori might appeal to those whom it apparently isn’t supposed to appeal to. This reveals the major problem with the progressive-feminist critique of the male gaze: it hinges on something so fundamental to the nature of film itself: sex appeal.

The stars, AdĂšle Exarchopoulos and LĂ©a Seydoux are obviously rather fetching. Their bodies, their faces were vital ingredients for the ravishing chemistry they were able to create on screen. So of course male viewers would be tantalised. Is that inherently a bad thing? While the “male gaze” jibe sounds enlightened and à la mode, it implicitly denies that the women (especially the lesbian ones) in the audience have a gaze of their own, or asserts that it has been colonised by the omnipotent male gaze.

Would the lesbian sex have been more ‘authentic’ if the women were less attractive (according to so-called male standards)? Or would it have just been less erotic and sexy? Maybe the male and female gaze aren’t as different as we think they are  — and that’s what really bothers critics.

When watching anything, desire, sensuality, eroticism and aesthetics are all an intrinsic part of our viewing experience. I felt this acutely when I watched The Time In Between (El Tiempo Entre Costuras), a Spanish Civil War espionage series, starring Adriana Ugarte (best known for being the blonde haired femme fatale protagonist in Pedro Almodovar’s Julieta) and Hannah New (fans of Maleficentwill recognise her as Queen Leila). The show is terrific and the actresses talented. But I would be lying if I said that my viewing experience wasn’t enhanced by the simple fact that both women are clearly gorgeous.

There is no explicit sex scene, and none of the actresses appear nude, but nonetheless, I “fell in lust” with them, in particular Adriana Ugarte with her dancing eyes and “awfully kissable mouth” to borrow from F. Scott Fitzgerald, along with her ability to grace the screen with a beauty and finesse reminiscent of Old Hollywood glamour. Maybe it was the haute couture 1930s costumes, or maybe it was my own ‘male gaze’, but I loved looking at her. Which brought to mind a truth about the viewing experience we’re sometimes too coy to acknowledge.

Actors are, among other things, their bodies and faces. Their good looks are a crucial part of their craft, as well as how they manipulate their bodies. It is no good deluding ourselves that this isn’t the case (and indeed that it shouldn’t be).

We go to the cinema to be moved and inspired. We trust that our physical and emotional responses  —  tears, anger, fright —  are telling us something about what we are seeing on screen. Why not lust? Why not our hormones? Our libidos are as intrinsic to our humanity as our reason. The value of the Erotic thriller genre — from Body Double to The Handmaiden, films that use the erotic as a spectacle, partially designed to ravish your senses — would be diminished if this weren’t the case.

Our squeamishness in acknowledging that “eye candy” has a legitimate part to play in an art form as visual as cinema, originates from that residue of puritanism in our culture that views personal display and glamour as vain and immodest. It is part of the anti-body bias in Christianity which regards the flesh and all of its pleasures as intrinsically sinful and degrading, and which must therefore be repressed. Hence the notion that portrayals of sexuality in a public venue such as a cinema are just a little bit suspect.

But visual gratification is one of the reasons why we enjoy watching films. The bliss of watching wonderfully composed humans on screen acting out a story for our collective enjoyment is one of the foundational pleasures of film. We denigrate it at our own loss.


Ralph Leonard is a British-Nigerian writer on international politics, religion, culture and humanism.

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Daniel Björkman
Daniel Björkman
3 years ago

True enough. I’d go a step further and say that genuine male emotion, in general, is increasingly demonised. I keep getting surprised when I go back to read novels written before my lifetime and realise that, wow, back then it was apparently okay for men to have feelings about stuff. Without asking women if it was okay with them first, even!

I actually agree with the claim that the female gaze is about projecting feelings and emotions onto its subject, while the male gaze is more superficial. I just don’t see how that makes it inherently better. Men want women to have only pretty, appealing bodies; women want men to have only pretty, appealing emotions. Neither desire is realistic – which is not to say that both should not be catered to in fiction, to some extent. I don’t begrudge women their brooding-yet-stoical heartthrobs. I just wish they would stop begrudging me my eyecandy.

And just like I despise men who body-shame women, I could do with less of women demanding an impossible sensitive-but-only-the-right-kind-of-sensitive ideal of men. Most people don’t have perfect bodies, and most people have a lot of feelings that are selfish and self-indulgent and just generally deeply unattractive. We’d all feel a lot better if we’d accept both those things.

Gary Taylor
Gary Taylor
3 years ago

Oh don’t worry the male gaze will always be welcome. As long as it’s from a handsome Alpha male. No women ever found it ‘awkward’ to be asked out by George Clooney, even if he did ‘accidentally’ touch her back when he said good night.

No – what we are seeing here is women’s visceral disgust at getting attention from unwelcome Beta males. And now they have some fancy words and a new social convention to punish these particular men.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Gary Taylor

No – what we are seeing here is women’s visceral disgust at getting attention from unwelcome Beta males.
which is a bit ironic seeing how the beta is a result of the effort to feminize, or de-masculinize, men. I cannot imagine the minefield of being a young male in the modern climate.

Gary Taylor
Gary Taylor
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Agreed. ‘Be careful what you wish for’ might be the takeaway here.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Well which came first, efforts to feminize men or abdication of traditional male behavior? I’d say it’s about even.

valleydawnltd
valleydawnltd
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Beta males are characterised as nurturing, empathic and generally good partner material. The whole alpha / beta thing has led to a bit of confusion. Men want to be seen as alpha, because they think it means they are too dog, when in fact it means they display aggression, selfishness and a lack of empathy.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Gary Taylor

George Clooney is gay. What are you talking about?

Gary Taylor
Gary Taylor
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Maybe – but he only has eyes for me Tony 😉

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Brad Pitt’s a better example.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Gary Taylor

Where did men get the idea that being a beta male would be attractive to many women? It isn’t and it never will be.

Gary Taylor
Gary Taylor
3 years ago

I agree, but I for one was brought up with a very androgynous version of feminism, where sexual polarity was dismissed as sexism. That’s a strong steer towards beta.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Gary Taylor

I’m sure it is. The male feminist is a highly suspect character. Some men use it to get women. There’s plenty of movies about men doing this.

Equality of treatment isn’t feminism. Feminism today is believing that 1) women are superior to men (we see this in the hosannas written about female heads of state in the Covid era, who happen to run very small isolated countries with little diversity), and 2) that all women are mistreated all the time by all men.

Like many terms “feminism” has radically changed from its original meaning. My partner, with a pack of daughters, is a feminist in the original meaning of the word. Woe betide the man or woman who mistreats them, but they’ve also been told their entire lives that they are no better or worse than anyone else. It would do them a huge disservice to tell them that men are bad creatures and hamper their ability to form meaningful relationships with men. I’ve seen it, I’ve had friends who can’t form relationships with men because they were told that men, as a group, are hideous creatures.

Another example of such words is “liberal” which today refers to people who are less than ferocious in defending freedom of speech or religion. Classical liberalism would defend both.

valleydawnltd
valleydawnltd
3 years ago

Beta males: nurturing, caring, empathic and considerate. You need to understand what the term means. You’re referring to what is known as wimps.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  valleydawnltd

Perhaps you should look up the definition. It doesn’t mean caring or nurturing. Sorry to burst your bubble. It means passive and subservient. Which does not appeal to most women.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  valleydawnltd

Nonsense.

Real men can be strong as well as empathetic, nurturing as well as aggressive.

What we have here is known as a false dichotomy.

valleydawnltd
valleydawnltd
3 years ago
Reply to  John Jones

Well, yes, we are of course a lot more complex than baboons….

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

Someone has to say it, so I will. The most awful thing about the male gaze is when it never ever lights on you.

And if that is the case, then a movement which demonises it must be pretty attractive.

There’s a kind of face saving aspect to values. If you’re not good at sport, it helps to see it as pointless, if your body isn’t much to talk about, then gym goers are vain, if you’re an ignoramus then people who read books are sad, and if you’re not the prettiest picture in the gallery, then the attractive girls are just catering to the male gaze.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

I’d listen to you if you was a woman. How do you know what women feel?

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

That’ll be because they are human, and I am too.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

I agree and this is why many feminists make such a huge deal about the male gaze. Feminism, especially militant feminism, is not attractive to many men.

Jerry Jay Carroll
Jerry Jay Carroll
3 years ago

Also, to be brutal about it, a large percentage of radical feminists are damned ugly and frequently overweight.

David Huggins
David Huggins
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Very well put. I’m starting to think that, instead of just commenting on articles, you should be writing them!

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago

What about the gaze of the other 56 “genders”? It’s getting confusing and downright dangerous to gaze at anyone without a DK book for reference.

Jeff Chambers
Jeff Chambers
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

Ah, but there aren’t 56 genders – there are 112. Your cancellation is in the post.

Charles Rense
Charles Rense
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Chambers

What are the odds that out of 112 genders, only one of them is inherently evil?

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago

If women so hate, the male gaze, why do women wear make up and fancy clothes?

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago

To outcompete other women, it’s not for men.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

Outcompete them for what?…. for the attention of men

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Probably for the amount of compliements and status they get.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

It is to compete against other women, but ultimately it is for men. Let us not kid ourselves.

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago

So, why do so many women say the opposite? Are they talking two things out the side of their mouths?

Charles Rense
Charles Rense
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

No way, women would never do that. Women are always straightforward and honest and fully self aware and never send mixed or contradictory messages.

And if we say that often enough we might get to sleep with one. Unless we get friend-zoned while they hook up with some guy that doesn’t believe any of that crap.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Rense

Sounds like you’ve been friend zoned a bit more that you’d like. Perhaps being beta isn’t all that attractive to women.

Men by the way never send contradictory messages. They are always straightforward and honest even if their real goal is to “might get to sleep with one”. Seriously this is ridiculous. It’s like high school. Or junior high school.

Charles Rense
Charles Rense
3 years ago

Yeah, it’s almost as if no one group is perfect little angels in all this. May I then put forward the proposition that men and women are equally inclined towards being shitty, selfish and immature people? That’s some equality we can all agree on!

valleydawnltd
valleydawnltd
3 years ago

You do realise that beta men are the nurturing, caring ones, don’t you?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  valleydawnltd

No, beta males are passive and subservient, that’s the definition of beta males. Look it up. And if you think that’s attractive to a lot of women, you’re dreaming.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

Arguably beta men are nurturing and caring because no other strategy is available to them. It is hard for them to get a woman in the first place, so they focus on keeping her. Attractive men can afford to be more “easy come easy go”.

This whole alpha/beta thing needs to be called into question anyway. Men climb modern hierarchies by submitting to those above, not challenging them.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Beta males are passive and subservient. Nurturing and caring are completely different. Males may be nurturing and caring and yet not be passive and subservient. Ask 100 women if they are attracted to beta males. It may be an eye opener for you.

valleydawnltd
valleydawnltd
3 years ago

Oh dear, I have looked it up. I am afraid your definition is quite wrong, but that will happen when you read junk articles on how to be alpha. Remember, as Robert Sapolsky states, humans are far more complex than baboons.

valleydawnltd
valleydawnltd
3 years ago

Define passive and subservient, in your terms. Does passive mean, not responding to aggressive behaviour with aggression? Because that sounds like the essence of diplomacy to me. And what about subservient? How many CEOs and Presidents are there in the world compared to all other men? Does that make every man NOT a CEO somehow subservient? Or do you perhaps mean in terms of backing down in an argument over a parking space? Because, a rational person would probably calculate it would be better to move on than go mano a mano with a total stranger about something as non essential as that.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago

And you are playing the part to the dot, with the “beta” BS etc. Way to go in the sense of labeling yourself.

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Rense

Lol

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

Figure it out… you are competing against other women to get the best guy or keep your guy. It is a no brainer.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

It’s amazing the number of women who when asked about this will deny it has anything to do with men. They dress for themselves, they say, to make themselves feel good.

To which the obvious reply is “so why does wearing a dress that makes your bottom look like a plum in a sock make you feel good?”

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Because you like the way you look in the dress?

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

Annette, I think you just made my point. First that “looking nice in the dress” implicitly means looking nice in a way attractive to men. Second, because you don’t seem to see this.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

No, sometimes looking nice in a dress means that you think you look nice yourself. Do you honestly believe that women have no opinion of how they look?

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

That’s not what anybody is saying. What I am saying is that it would be an amazing coincidence if so many women’s idea of “looking good for themselves” coincided so well with what men find attractive.

A lot of female clothing is clearly designed to display and accentuate features which men find attractive. Cleavage to display breasts, tight clothing to display buttocks, short skirts to display legs, high heels to exaggerate leg length, clothes which exaggerate female hip wiggle as they walk (including the bustle if we go back into the past), lipstick for sexual mimicry, various makeups to simulate sexual arousal (belladonna in the past to dilate the pupils in mimicry of sexual arousal), hair display (the sexual attractiveness of which is so obvious to Muslims that they insist on it being covered) etc etc.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Of course that’s what you’re saying.

Women have the ability to decide what they think looks good. They don’t need a man to decide that. And then some women dress in ways that men they are partnered with don’t like. How do you explain that? Honestly I feel like I’ve stepped back into Victorian times reading some of these comments.

You’re describing cheap looking dressing. Perhaps you’re thinking of a specific type of woman. Rather than women in general. If you think women are dressing solely to please men try stepping into a shopping mall and tell me that women slogging around in sweat pants and baggy sweatshirts are dressing to please men.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

“dressing solely to please men”

I never said “solely”. Clearly women also seek to signal status through the expensiveness of their clothes, their knowledge by being in fashion, and their taste. Much of this signal is targeted at other women.

What those of us who can still be bothered are arguing against is that female clothing choices have nothing to do with appeal to men. Clearly this is a major part.

I think we’re in a dialogue of the deaf though.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

More mansplainin’. Great to hear your vastly uninformed opinions of what women seek.

Perhaps you can indicate where I said that women never dress to impress a man or that clothing choices can have nothing to do with appeal to men. You see David, you are so frantic to be right that you haven’t actually read (or taken the time to understand) what I have actually said. Sometimes women dress solely to please themselves. Not a thing you can do to prove that wrong. You really are quite a dinosaur, David.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago

The term “mansplaining” is sexist and offensive, used as an ad hominem by people who cannot critique an argument without attacking their opponent. Classic first-year university stuff.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  John Jones

And right on cue, there you are to perfectly illustrate the concept.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

A word to the wise Annette. Stop trying to mind read. You’re just making assumptions about what people think. Look at the argument they are actually making, try listening and just look around you!

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Wow, that’s some tone deaf mansplainin’ there Dave. Read what you posted back to yourself and see if you can discover why it’s so amusing for me.

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago

So essentially women continue to lie? No surprise there

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

Probably, yes.

If you ask a man why he wears an expensive watch and suit and drives an expensive car he will probably tell you he just likes those things.

He won’t tell you that they are external status markers which allow him to compete with other men for position, and ultimately women. Though the term “babe magnet” shows some self awareness.

People’s self interpretations of their own actions are not always accurate. Indeed, if they were we would scarcely need psychology and most of the social sciences.

I would also say that women’s awareness of this becomes clear whenever a woman pushes it too far – makes it all too explicit. They then use specific slurs against her (which I won’t quote or this post will probably get moderated).

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Ah I see, and I guess as well, a lot of people if they are aware of why they really do these things, they keep the knowledge to themselves, so as not to be shamed by their peers?

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

I think that’s right. I think it’s a feature of modern life. We just can’t be blatant. Clearly people dress for status, but simply hanging a big gold chain round your neck is considered vulgar.

And we need alibis. Gymshark has just achieved 1.45 billion net worth. It’s key selling point seems to be how good it’s clothes make women’s bottoms look. But by being gym wear it gives a kind of alibi for making such an obvious display.

And of course these clothes are now finding their way out of the gym and into other spaces.

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

That’s very true. It’s both a fascinating and rather depressing fact I suppose, especially for someone such as me who ain’t really a looker aha. Ach well, always got me brain box 😛

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

What are you “outcompeting other women “, for if not for male attention?

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago
Reply to  John Jones

Just going off what women continue to claim online erc

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

There are good evolutionary reasons why women deny their own sexual motives. See my recent post.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  John Jones

I hope all you people posting these ancient sounding comments are all British.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

I must say Annette that, name aside, you sound distinctly Australian.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Must you, David? Well, perhaps I should say that you sound distinctly Victorian.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago

Ideas are not fads or fashions. They may be in or out of favour, but their age is no measure of their truth.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  John Jones

Rubbish. Plenty of ideas are fads and fashions.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago

You have missed the point of my post. He fact that an idea is old means that it is not merely a fad, but has survived the test of time. Treating ideas as if newer ones were somehow preferable is nonsense.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  John Jones

On the contrary lots of old ideas have not survived the test of time. Believing otherwise is well, nonsense.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  John Jones

You seem to have missed the point of my response to your post. You argue that some posts are “ancient sounding comments”. My response was to point out that the age of an idea is no measure of its worth. Your response that some ideas are merely fads makes my point. The ideas that are merely fads disappear. The ones that stand the test of time, ie: the “ancient ” ones are old perhaps because they’ve been proven true.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  John Jones

Yes, some of the posters here seem to be posting from prior centuries. I was merely stating that I hoped it wasn’t Americans posting such tripe. Perhaps you missed the point of my original post.

Charles Rense
Charles Rense
3 years ago

To impress each other, of course!

Male sexual attraction: bad

Idle envy and conspicuous materialism for its own sake: empowering!

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Much of the time, for themselves. For example, wearing beautiful lingerie, that’s not for other women, it’s usually because it makes a woman feel good about herself. You don’t need a man to wear pretty undies. The idea that grooming must be for someone else, either male or female, is bizarre.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago

Yes, but why does it make her feel good about herself ?
Do you not think it might have something to do with the knowledge that IF a man she liked could see what she was wearing it would be . . pleasing to him, and that secret knowledge gives her confidence in her s e x uality and herself as a woman ?

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Or could be really excellence in adverts.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

I guess you’d have to ask a specific woman. Is it not okay with you if something makes another woman feel good? Why is that even any of your business?

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago

!!
Sounds as if you find my suggestion uncomfortably close to the truth.

You have argued that women wear beautiful lingerie for themselves alone, completely detached from pleasing anyone else, all I have done is point out the possible subconscious motivation for that choice, which makes your argument false. In other words, the idea of a man’s gaze is in fact central to why women wear beautiful lingerie. Sorry if you don’t like it but there it is.

The point of discussion, including argument, is to get to the truth of the matter rather than skimming over the surface and pretending things to ourselves.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Uncomfortable in what way?

Of course some women at times wear beautiful lingerie simply because they like it and it makes them feel good. What evidence do you have that this isn’t true?

How do you explain women without male partners wearing nice lingerie? Are you saying that women without male partners do not ever wear beautiful lingerie? I’d need some evidence for this.

What about gay women? Are they too wearing beautiful lingerie with a subconscious motivation regarding the male gaze? Sorry if you find these questions troubling, but there it is.

Thanks for the tip on truth. I found it highly entertaining.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago

It’s alright, I’m not troubled, my exclamation marks were an indication of surprise at your aggressive tone, which I thought was revealing.

Remember that your original argument was that, . . women “wear beautiful lingerie to please themselves” not “for other women” + they “do not need a man to wear pretty undies”.

My argument is that while these assertions may be true superficially, when psychological motivations are examined they cease to hold water. I doubt whether beautiful lingerie would exist at all without the potential of the male gaze.

As for gay women, surely the ‘gazer’ becomes female by nature of their gayness, whether that’s a real person or a figment of their imaginations.

And, if discussion and argument is not to reach a greater truth of some kind, what is it for ?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Nope. I said much of the time women wear beautiful lingerie to please themselves. And nothing you have said provides evidence that this is not true.

And as has been pointed out to you, some women don’t have male partners. Or any partner for that matter. No way around that.

If you have no partner, there’s no psychological motivation and yet women may still wear beautiful lingerie. To please themselves. Then again, what if you do have a male partner and he is out of town on business for a week? Just pull out the dingy gray sloggi panties since there’s no male to “gaze” at you? You need to join us in the 21st century.

You dug this hole yourself. Apparently it never occurred to you that some women do not have partners, male or female. Drop the “truth” schtick. It’s going nowhere.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago

By your tone, you seem to find Claire’s comments threatening. Perhaps she’s simply revealing a truth you don’t like to hear.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  John Jones

I find her comments not well thought out for the obvious reasons I stated above. Unless you believe that all women have or even want male partners. Your tone indicates that you might believe that to be the case.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

“The point of discussion, including argument, is to get to the truth of the matter rather than skimming over the surface and pretending things to ourselves.”

Very well put.

And it is very odd in those circumstances to find oneself in a discussion with someone who insists that only the most superficial, unexamined, unselfaware platitudinous explanation can possibly be the right one.

And does so vehemently and in such an opinionated way.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
3 years ago

Always a dilemma that a low cut V neck on some women clearly is not saying “my eyes are up here”. I’m sure it really is appreciated by women who don’t or can’t wear such clothing.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

As we know, some men can be incredibly cruel when talking about women and their bodies, exploiting shame, anxiety over their appearance and the sexual double standard to humiliate them.

That’ll be all the men who read mags like Closer and all those other dreadful rags that focus on celebs newly acquired cellulite, tummies, blemishes etc. or on their clothing faux pas.

Johan Grönwall
Johan Grönwall
3 years ago

I like to ltell feminists that they wouldn’t have been here in the first place hadn’t their father checked out their mothers butt and finding it tantalizing. Every human being exists thanks to the male gaze.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago

Many are OK with this. They believe there are too many people in this world. Just ask Bill and Melinda.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago

I remember years ago when the idea of male strippers was new, people thought the idea was absurd. Surely women wouldn’t bother going to see naked men?

Then Chippendale dancers proved all of that to be wrong.

The fact is that the female gaze is just as real as the male gaze. If anything, it is even more shallow and dehumanizing, since women also judge men not only on their looks, but also on their potential to provide resources. This is evidenced by female hypergamy, the tendency of women to desire men who have both good genes and full bank accounts.

But we never talk about this issue in a gender-neutral way, because it would undermine the feminist narrative of perpetual oppression.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago

As with most other things, it is about moderation in the struggle. Why do human beings have to veer all over the place and then into lunacy in order to ensure respect and opportunity for everyone. I hate force, I hate inequality, I believe that men can be violent, I believe that men have had an unfair historical advantage, I believe in the vulnerability of men, I believe that all men are not the enemy of women, I occasionally like a little flirting.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago

“I believe that men have had an unfair historical advantage”

I agree with most of your points (though I see no ‘struggle’) except this, which floats free of any justification by way of evidence. Exactly what was this ‘advantage’? Was a dying soldier on the Somme fields more favoured than a girl working in safe conditions in a munitions factory back home? You need to flesh out what you mean by ‘advantage’. And what exactly are we ‘struggling’ towards?

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

I’d add that in the past gender was well and truly trumped by class. It’s absurd to suggest that working class men were in some way advantaged in relation to upper class women.

I thought Lesley’s points were good though. There was some male advantage at certain levels of society – but it was a very much more mixed picture than feminists would have us think.

David Uzzaman
David Uzzaman
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

The girls in munitions weren’t in safe conditions. They were certainly less likely to die than front line troops but a lot of them were poisoned by by the chemicals and though rare occasional explosions happened. More than 200 women munition workers died during the war and many more suffered ill health for the rest of their lives. Obviously in comparison with the casualties in the trenches the numbers don’t compare but I couldn’t let the “safe work” go uncorrected.

m pathy
m pathy
3 years ago
Reply to  David Uzzaman

And the women left behind ‘safely’ had to take over food production and sole care of the family, in addition to unsafe poorly paid labour in factories. It wasn’t a happy summer lark while the men were gone. Some of the male whinging and historical revisionism on this forum is quite unseemly.

m pathy
m pathy
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

Women had no access to political power, education or control over their bodies, no right to own property, to an independent existence and this situation of extreme male control continues in quite a few parts of the world. That men, especially lower class men were killed disproportionately in wars does not erase the historical record. Did I “flesh” it out enough for you?

Walter Fawcett
Walter Fawcett
3 years ago
Reply to  m pathy

Industrial accidents did happen as described, still do. Women stepped up to do “men’s work” when neededHowever, having a bed to sleep in after work was their normal. Fancy wading chest deep in water wearing a tin hat carrying a rifle and facing machine gun fire? The reward for surviving was trudging through Europe, sleeping in muddy trenches, watching your mates die every day (quickly if they were lucky). Months on end, battle after battle, nowhere to hide, not much to eat, toxic chemicals from the munitions landing near you.

Read a little about what happens to women In conquered countries, yes by men, but not of our culture. How does that munitions factory sound now?

You can probably guess I’m an ex serviceman happy being able to serve, respecting the service of others including those who kept the homes fires burning ……

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  m pathy

I don’t want to get drawn back into this, but could I just point out that this thread started by simply challenging the assumption that men have always had the advantage over women.

No one was saying that women’s lives in the past were free of hardship. It was just a call for more nuance to replace a simplistic binary view.

Was the average miners life better that his wife’s? Who knows. But we can be sure that both had lives that were far harder than members of the upper class, regardless of gender.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

I know – amazing we are still arguing over this stuff.

There seems to be a mania at work. For the feminist (and they are not alone) it is not enough to explain relevant things in terms of feminism – everything must be explained in terms of feminism. As if only one overarching explanation will do. Everything must be grist to their own ideological mill – their own meta narrative.

Caitlin McDonald
Caitlin McDonald
3 years ago

Men had the advantage of freedom, women the advantage of security. Men’s freedom was part and parcel with their responsibility to provide security to women and sometimes to their nation.

Many people imagine they want freedom but they haven’t really through it through. Feminists don’t actually like freedom much at all; Camille Paglia has much to say about this.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago

Whatever your opinion on the matter may be, the demonizing of everything male – the “male gaze” being just one example among so many – is certainly having consequences.
Personally I am intrigued with the omnipresent silence of women that do not subscribe to this agenda. It is akin to the silence of moderate muslims. Time might prove it was a costly omission.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
3 years ago

Good to see someone tackle this topic, but the summary of Christianity at the end is a disappointment, as if it’s part of the problem. The bible celebrates that we are embodied sexual creatures, especially Song of Solomon.

Terry Mushroom
Terry Mushroom
3 years ago

I’d add the Wedding Feast at Cana as a very pleasurable, bodily event. Music, dancing and wine over several days!

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

You’ve got a different bible than I do. Mine’s all about sexual repression and shame.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

There’s actually more than that in there…

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

You sure? There is a lot of ‘begetting’ that goes on in the book.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

The clear message is that sex should be only in marriage and not out of it. That helped make Britain great. We have fallen way down since then.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Read Song of Solomon. Yes it forbids sex outside of marriage and encourages sex in marriage. Why is that opressive?

Simon Riley
Simon Riley
3 years ago

In all the time I have been attending church, I cannot recall a passage from the Song of Solomon being read out at a Sunday Service. It’s the one part of the bible that never makes it into the lectionary. More’s the pity, but that rather illustrates the author’s point above on the anti-body bias of Christianity, which still causes too much angst.

opn
opn
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Riley

But I can think of chunks of it you have heard as anthems, with music from Monteverdi to Poulenc:
https://www.youtube.com/wat
https://www.youtube.com/wat

Pete Williams
Pete Williams
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Riley

There is a real and disappointing disconnect between ‘The Church’ and the message of the Bible. The term ‘Christianity’ doesn’t really do it for me, as it can mean one or the other or both. The bible as I read it makes it clear that God is absolutely fine with eroticism, lust, and the ***** gaze. But in the right context etc etc

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Williams

Eroticism is fine by God. What is frowned upon is sex outside of marriage. Anyhow a child fares far better with a Father and a Mother. There are bigger things involved rather than just sex as good as that is.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

The author said Christianity, not the bible. That tends to mean the New Testament. But even then Christianity cannot be reduced to that. Christianity is an ongoing tradition which has gone through many changes – the author is talking about the continuing, half hidden, influence of that tradition on our current culture.

His point is not refuted by pointing to the Song of Solomon.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

There has been no change in the word of God. Sex outside of marriage is still frowned upon and always will be. What has happened is that people no longer live by the bible and indulge their appetites outside of marriage.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

“There has been no change in the word of God.”

Even that is debatable, since the bible is open to interpretation, and such interpretation tends to be a product of its time.

Even talk about “the real word of god” is only to prioritise one interpretation over others.

Leaving that aside, Christianity clearly has changed. Or are Christians still burning witches where you come from?

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Thanks. That makes sense.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago

Yes but it also says love your wives and don’t commit adultery. The best sex is with your wife in marriage knowing you are faithful to each other. I doubt if this ogling of other girls bodies helps in that.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Now, ogling is a word that typifies the article. My wife thought if I didn’t notice some females something was wrong with me. But I didn’t stare or ogle if that’s the object. She would call my attention to males she thought attractive. We were never swingers and remained attentive to each other regardless of others.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Amen to that. I guess until the overarching biblical vision of sex is more widely known Christianity will often be cited as repressive in this regard.

Jeff Chambers
Jeff Chambers
3 years ago

A campaign against a reified abstraction like “the male gaze” is the inevitable consequence of the collapse of the patriarchy. For high-status women the problem became how to deflect the attentions of low-status men. Since the feminists construe feminism to mean women doing as they like while men do as they’re told, the concept of “the male gaze” allows high-status women to bring men under their control.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Chambers

Not me. I only love my wife in that way.

Scott Carson
Scott Carson
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Reads this forum then, does she?

mark taha
mark taha
3 years ago

As a fat man,I have nothing against “bodyshaming.” I also believe that it’s time to tell these neurotic PC whingers that if they don’t like it they shouldn’t watch.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago

It is nature. It is amusing to see humans think they have or can overcome their human instincts.

Greg Maland
Greg Maland
3 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

This is an important point. We are increasingly disgusted by our nature, and are rapidly demonizing, to a chorus of approval from the establishment, every aspect of our nature which leftist ideologues can interpret as supporting their argument. The underlying belief is that our species is infinitely malleable, and that radical change in social relations can ultimately be enforced by new norms, and very probably, new laws. We know what is right, and are blasé about the potential for violence originating in the widening chasm between our ideals and the given-ness of our biology. What frightens me is how many people are hurrying to sign up for this.

Daryl Jones
Daryl Jones
3 years ago

Yep, women hate being ogled, though I often wonder why dudes don’t wear yoga pants and spend billions on beauty products.

To make her feel better, I try to tell my wife daily that I find her unattractive.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
3 years ago
Reply to  Daryl Jones

When women have complained about male attention, I’ve reminded them that their shelf life is short, and they need not worry, since in 5 years time, no man will objectify them any longer, and they’ll be freed by their sexual invisibility to the opposite sex.

Lindsay Gatward
Lindsay Gatward
3 years ago

Always a most interesting subject as it lights up the whole point of the species which is to make more of itself – Surely the short hand of all this is that men look for FERTILITY in women which is a straightforward visual exercise of huge delight and women look for POWER in men which manifests in many ways to the extent that the visual is typically subordinate to the many other criteria – This is deep instinct imbedded over eons of successful reproduction – Unease about all this occurs when current moral/virtue signalling fashion conflicts with the instinctive desire and joy results when they coincide we are in a period of the former –

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
3 years ago

Regardless of the generalization, the truth is the partnership between the two is more successful by complementary skills.

Signme Uplease
Signme Uplease
3 years ago

As a woman of 61 with a daughter and granddaughter, I can say that the dating scene today is so fraught with tension as to be almost impossible to navigate for both men and women.

My heart goes out to men who are kind and decent and who appreciate and respect women. Almost all the women I know enjoy their company and enjoy flirting with them.This whole ‘alpha male’ / ‘beta male’ thing is actually men projecting onto women their own insecurities as men. Then they blame women for choosing men who are simply confident in themselves (which, yes, sometimes means the ‘bad boy’ types) instead of recognizing that nobody (including men) likes a person who has no social skills but feels entitled to attention from the opposite sex. ‘Beta males’ tend to believe women owe them sex. That is predatory.

That said, what’s changed radically today is that many younger men or men who view porn have a noticeably different and aggressive demeanor in the dating scene. It’s so obvious sometimes that warning bells go off in a woman’s head as a natural response to sensing a predatory male. These are men who are insecure but put on an act as the dominant or entitled male in order to get attention. Some women fall for it – and end up regretting it. Often these are the abusive, exploitative males that give all men a bad name.

Of course, many women who’ve been victimized will have a lower threshold for feeling threatened, so a man who is trying his best will sometimes be mistaken for dangerous even when he has no ill intentions. #MeToo gave men a wake up call, but clearly things haven’t changed. Men still resent women who reject them despite having every right to be cautious. The problem is not women being careful and feeling uncomfortable with the male gaze (because she’ll be blamed if she’s assaulted or raped). The problem is that there is a significant number of male predators.

Just as an aside, every. single. woman you know has been either stalked, assaulted, pressured into sex, raped, or in some way made to feel unsafe by a man. #MeToo was supposed to raise awareness about this issue.

So, men can complain all they want, or they can start confronting these predators in their midst, stop consuming porn which deeply affects men’s perception of women and sets up both men and women to fail in relationships. They can work on their social skills so that they don’t give off these signals that they think will make women gravitate to them.

Honest, genuine, caring women are out there but it’s about confidence and trust when flirting. Women have finely tuned predatory detection skills. We have to in order to survive and protect our young. It’s not about the male gaze, per se. It’s about the misogyny and objectification that is everywhere we look. Magazines, newspapers, movies, internet.

Finally, men can continue to resent women for identifying how objectification is degrading and dehumanizing. Or they can work with women to hold predators accountable so that they don’t give all men a bad name. Right now, that’s not happening. Both men and women suffer.

Andrew Roman
Andrew Roman
3 years ago

The real issue on the condemnation of the male gaze is not the male gaze. It is about the condemner seeking followers, readers, money and power through condemnation.

There is a niche market for puritanical condemnation of male lust. So where there is a demand for such condemnation someone will provide the supply to
meet that demand. There may even be competition to be the supplier of choice. To compete effectively each supplier must offer a more powerful condemnation than the others.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Roman

It is not a bad thing but I don’t think feminists have the right motivation for the condemnation although the outcome could be good.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago

Having read most of the comments here, one thing stood out to me: the claim that women dress up “for themselves, to make themselves feel good, not to attract men.”

Now I’m sure this is the PC thing to say: after all, a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, and it would upend the feminist narrative if it turned out that females are driven to attract men by their own sexual needs.

But if women are only dressing in tight, revealing clothing to “feel good about themselves”, it does rather raise the question of why looking sexually attractive make them feel better- or is it just a coincidence that drawing attention to your sexual features just happens to coincide with your self-esteem?

Rather looks like an exercise in self-deception, especially when we take into account breast enhancement, diets, exercise, botox injections, makeup, hair dye etc., all of which are clearly aimed at raising a woman’s sexual appeal.

Here’s a bit of information that reveals the extent to which being attractive to men is hard-wired into the female psyche.

Human female breasts are far too large for their purpose. The milk-producing glands are actually small- check out female chimps, for example. They can feed their offspring with almost no excess breast tissue.

But human females carry a great deal of excess fat for no purpose related to feeding. The best evolutionary explanation is that they evolved as a secondary sexual trait to exhibit female sexual maturity.

Why is this true of human females, not chimps? Because for 200,000 years, female survival has depended on enticing males to share their food. This happened when savahna replaced jungle, and fruits, which had been the staple of human diet, became more scarce. It also coincides with the evolution of pair bonding.

Females have needed the protection and resources of males for the last 200,000 years. The desire to attract alpha males is hard-wired into human females. It is not some kind of patriarchal oppression. And the “male gaze” is not only evolutionarily necessary as men check a female’s mating value, it has its match in the female gaze, which assesses male desirability. There are also evolutionary reasons for why females tend to deny their own sexual needs, while simultaneously pursuing them through their behaviour and dress. Space prevents a complete discussion here, but it’s an interesting aspect of this discussion.

The female body-and psychology- have been moulded by 200,000 years of evolution, rewarding both men and women for their ability to attract mates. To imagine that evolution has not affected female psychology is to pretend that human beings are somehow immune from the shaping forces of nature. What we call “gender” is the difference in psychology between the sexes based on evolutionary mating strategies.

For feminist claims to be true, all that is necessary is that Darwin was wrong.

He wasn’t.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  John Jones

“The best evolutionary explanation is that they evolved as a secondary sexual trait to exhibit female sexual maturity.”

Possibly in mimicry of the buttocks which became less obvious as we started to walk upright.

Spot on post.

I suspect a Martian anthropologist would laugh her head off at the idea that human female attire has nothing to do with sexual attraction.

andy young
andy young
3 years ago

Personally I’m in awe of attractive women. This was obviously at it’s peak during a tongue-tied adolescence, but I still feel like King Cophetua contemplating the beggar maid.

cbaileywot
cbaileywot
3 years ago
Reply to  andy young

Ah! Thank you for introducing me to a bit of culture. Had never heard of King Cophetua before.

Charles Rense
Charles Rense
3 years ago

Men having different sexuality than women was clearly a mistake of nature. Except when women feel inclined to mate with a man. Maybe what we need is an on/off switch.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Rense

These things are sorted out in marriage. You cannot just flirt all your life unless you want to be a single dirty old man. The more you sleep around the worse you will be sought as a husband.

Charles Rense
Charles Rense
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

But then there’s divorce, widowerhood, or just not finding a marriageable partner. And of course human weakness and those damned inconvenient hormones and biological impulses. Things just aren’t as neat and tidy as any of these competing philosophies seem to insist they are.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Rense

Or some suitable substitute for flesh&blood women, when they are not interested? Would eliminate a lot of inter-gender conflict right out of the bat…

g-reg.caira
g-reg.caira
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Rense

Fred Atkinstalk
Fred Atkinstalk
3 years ago

I read the article with every intention of being fair to the author, but I was left with the impression that he is just an articulate sleazeball. The only thing he didn’t say (and I was expecting him to) is that nudity of female actors is ’empowering’.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago

I agree. He seems to make a virtue out of ogling nudes.

nim.rod77
nim.rod77
3 years ago

question your premises first. sexuality is something way trivialised nowadays. i see no one here is christian or valuing christian philosophy.
which is sad . not only is it not the default (as it should) but its not even considered

Cave Artist
Cave Artist
3 years ago

Men no more designed their software, than women did theirs. The new secular puritanism is part of the desire to create moral certainty and identity in the age of confusion. If you don’t like men look at the parents.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago

I don’t think it is healthy to ogle women and make films to entice. Over the years this has been developed until we have got to virtual pornography on the cinema. The thing is to marry a nice girl and faithfully keep your sexual attention on her and not everyone else. Granted seeing pretty girls and women around is nice but that should be it. I don’t think wives would like it. I am very happy for it all to end as it could lead to adultery and divorce. If you haven’t got a wife then don’t tempt yourself by watching all those films. Who would want to marry a man who has slept around all over the place. Don’t kid yourself, as that is where it easily can lead to.

Walter Fawcett
Walter Fawcett
3 years ago

All actors use body doubles, you’re kidding yourself if you think it was Scarlett’s bum referred to in the first sentence. Movies are fantasy, even documentaries use assumptions, fabrication and fiction to recreate history. Nothing is is real on the screen only the emotions of the audience.

A Bcd
A Bcd
3 years ago
Reply to  Walter Fawcett

I never suggested the photo showed Scarlett’s “bum” or that of anyone else in particular. I just pointed out that it was not the “bum” of a woman well-designed for gestating a child. Which makes it an ironic selection to illustrate the “male gaze.”

A Bcd
A Bcd
3 years ago

Haven’t seen the film, just the photo accompanying the article of a woman in a maroon swimsuit with a strangely masculine bone structure. To put it simply: she has no hips. Her body is ill-designed for gestating progeny. A male whose gaze turned to females shaped as she would pass little, if any, of his genetic material into subsequent generations.

Pagar Pagaris
Pagar Pagaris
3 years ago

Nice try Ralph, but like most commentators, you dodge the elephant in the room.

The point is that the male and female sexual drives are quite different and there is no social construct that feminists, or anyone else, can create that will change our essential natures. The male sexual drive is much more visual and visceral and relies less on emotion- compare the interests of the different sexes in pornography.

So whilst it must be galling for feminists that males rather than females get off on lesbian porn, castration is the only viable solution to the problem and they’d have to catch us first.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Pagar Pagaris

Actually, the most recent research shows that women like visual porn as much as men.

Remember 50 Shades? When it came out as a movie, it broke records.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  John Jones

And male gay porn seems to be especially popular with some women.

Pete Marsh
Pete Marsh
3 years ago

“female bodies are shown to be objects designed to please men…”.

Which they are, by about 500 million years of natural selection and evolution. Same applies to male bodies from the female PoV (I’ve heard some extremely brutal put downs by women of men they don’t fancy).

I keep seeing this ‘Gaze’ as a bad thing trope too. On BBC local radio I heard a CRT activist demanding that BAME workers have ‘safe spaces’ “away from the white gaze”. Must be core Woke nonsense.

Catherine M. Criticos
Catherine M. Criticos
3 years ago

I reading these responses and I feel like relying on the cinema to find out about true life is a fallacy. The cinema is not real. It’s stories written for different purposes; most generally to make big bucks.
Let’s try for some reality in this discussion.

jim payne
jim payne
3 years ago

I do look at videos on u-tube quite often. Mainly about families touring Australia in Caravans, but also people living ‘Off Grid’. But in between the vids I enjoy, are usually many generally called ‘Chick Bait’ where a good looking wife/partner prances about in skimpy clothes! Are these women under pressure to show their bodies, or is it to get more viewings/income?
When I was younger, owning my own tyre shop, I had several ‘interesting’ proposals from ladies some of which were explicit in their ‘Wants’. So it’s not just us blokes lusting, the girls are ‘Up for it’ also. Sadly in my seventies, I don’t have that luck anymore!!

Sean Arthur Joyce
Sean Arthur Joyce
3 years ago

Way back in 1994 Harold Bloom, the great American literary critic an Yale professor of literature, wrote in The Western Canon about what he called the School of Resentment, characterized by the moralization of all art. By forcing all art forms to fit into a predetermined, narrow “social justice” agenda, it stifles originality and creativity. I wonder if feminists will wake up to the realization Leonard so skillfully outlines here: “It is part of the anti-body bias in Christianity which regards the flesh and all of its pleasures as intrinsically sinful and degrading, and which must therefore be repressed.” By succumbing to a Calvinist style moralism, feminists have unwittingly capitulated to a Christian theology they once denounced as oppressive!

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Both men and women enjoy “eye candy”. Always been this way, likely always will be. Appreciating physical beauty is universal.

But I disagree that disgust with the male gaze has anything to do with either Puritanism or Christianity or any anti-body bias within either. I have, for example, never heard even a single feminist base such disgust on anything to do with Christianity.

Andrew D
Andrew D
3 years ago

It’s the same puritan outlook, and seems to be much more prevalent in countries with a Protestant heritage (US, UK, Australia etc). Nominally Catholic countries like France, Spain and Italy seem to have less of a problem with film ‘eye candy’

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

I don’t think there’s much connection between Protestantism and repression. I was brought up and educated as a Scots Protestant and attended organised religious meetings of various sorts till the age of 18 or so (Church, School RE, Boys’ Brigade). I’d however started to doubt the literal truth of religion independently a bit before that.

But even at age 12 nothing stopped me from considering the pert backside of Belinda Gray, a girl at my Primary school as one of the most enticing I’d ever seen, nor did this sexual feeling engender any guilt. I think it’s all more complex than that. I became an atheist for a while but eventually dropped that as beside the point. One of my bosses, a firm Methodist, told me that the reason he started attending Church Clubs was to get to meet attractive women. He didn’t seem to suffer much from guilt either.

Mud Hopper
Mud Hopper
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

As a 17 year old, the only reason I used to attend the Ichthus Fellowship was Linda Haynes’ pert bum!

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Mud Hopper

I will tell your pastor that.

cbaileywot
cbaileywot
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

I think the idea of a connection with Puritanism might be more subtle than that.

We’re getting distracted in this thread by the superficial similarity (both an iteration of feminism and a Christian tradition are attacking a pleasure associated with sexuality), but the deeper similarities are, the tendency to work an idea through to its logical conclusion, the determination to root out societal sin, and the certainty of moral righteousness.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

It could mean they are more sexually corrupt? Anyway sexual morality is vanishing fast in the UK and marriage is under attack. Even gay marriage is an attack on a real marriage. I am encouraged though that there are still many who honour their vows.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Feminists have a Puritan outlook in your view? I’ve never met a feminist with a puritanical outlook. And they are among the loudest objectors to the male gaze.

As for film eye candy, have you seen any Hollywood movies ever?

Andrew D
Andrew D
3 years ago

I wouldn’t say that all feminists have a puritan outlook, but some certainly do – for example, those that believe wearing make up or making yourself look attractive is somehow reprehensible.

And of course there’s plenty of eye candy in Hollywood. And lots of objection to it. Both sides are symptomatic of a country that has not yet escaped its puritan inheritance, one fighting against it, the other perpetuating it.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

I wouldn’t say that ANY feminists have a Puritan outlook. Feminism would be the exact opposite of Puritanism. Women who believe that making themselves look attractive is objectionable aren’t do so out of any sense of Puritanism. They usually simply resent men.