Author Topic: The Male Gaze  (Read 4218 times)

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #50 on: February 06, 2021, 10:00:20 am »
Yes, I got that. I was making a wider point that in terms of society as a whole women do outnumber men, but the power balance is inversely proportionate.

The explanation wasn’t really for your benefit.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #51 on: February 06, 2021, 10:02:07 am »
Re the "male gaze", I have heard that it's biologically pre-programmed: women check out faces whereas men check out genitals and then faces, even with other men. The eyes go there without conscious effort, and if the man is consciously trying to inhibit this any further interchange will be a bit strange as the tropism continues to exert itself. Be aware of it, get it over quickly and relax is possibly a better stratagem.
Many years ago, early '80s, there was a Channel 4 programme which investigated this and discovered it's not true. They got volunteers to sit in a chair at which had eye tracking devices and watch a disco. Where people were actually looking was very similar for both men and women. From what I remember, it tended to be eyes first, then crotch, then secondary sexual characteristics, repeat.
"No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everybody on the couch."

TheLurker

  • Goes well with magnolia.
Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #52 on: February 06, 2021, 10:16:34 am »
Quote from: quixoticgeek
I've also been sat in meetings where I've put forth an idea, had it shot down, then 5 mins later had a male colleague* put forth exactly the same idea, and have it accepted.

Punch 1988.

Τα πιο όμορφα ταξίδια γίνονται με τις δικές μας δυνάμεις - Φίλοι του Ποδήλατου

fd3

Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #53 on: February 06, 2021, 10:53:08 am »
@T42: interesting point that this sort of language would never be used in French (or German); though not sure whether that reflects in any way a difference with the male gaze in this cultures.

The male gaze is more broadly cast than you realize. It’s the reason male colleagues feel empowered to comment on how much weight I’m carrying or not carrying. It’s the standard by which my haircut is judged by male and female acquaintances (‘that bob does nothing for you’ is coded, y’know). It’s the beauty benchmarks, the ideals women are expected to conform to. It’s the reason young women get their lips done and their boobs done and their labia surgically altered. It’s being told by my best friend to come shopping with her so she can make over my wardrobe. It’s the phrase ‘mutton dressed as lamb’. It’s a hell of a lot more than whether people like to look at other people.

It’s labeling women as ‘ugly’ if they don’t conform. It’s ‘smile, love, it might never happen’. From complete strangers.

It’s less overt now than when I was young, but it’s still always there.

So, obviously I’m not normal, but this behaviour is something that I have heard of but never witnessed.  I guess my wife’s choice of friends and friendship activities doesn’t involve shopping for clothes and makeovers.  Your post does suggest that it’s not a “male gaze” issue, since it is also the treatment of women by other women(?).
Some dickhead stranger did say ‘smile, love, it might never happen’ to her once (for extra class points, her dad had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer).
At work the idea of saying something negative about someone’s looks seems really abnormal to me.  This does give me pause in that I will try to complement colleagues’ looks from time to time, but I don’t know that I do this with male colleagues (why might that be?).  I guess the issue is compliment vs objectification.
Is this a societal treatment of women or a psychological behaviour pattern of males? Do lesbians use the “male gaze” in the same objectifying fashion?

@ QG: my earliest experience of the word “guys” is from “the electric company”, a short lived attempt to create a teenage Sesame Street.  They would start the show with a very loud “hey you guuuuuuuuuuys”.  So the term to me has always been gender neutral and I expect it is to some/many people (not just men).
And we know the flag of love is from above/And we can force you to be free

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #54 on: February 06, 2021, 11:16:22 am »
Besides there are more women than men in the UK, so I'm not really sure where that leaves your point.

I expect TimC is thinking of situations where a group of women pick on an isolated man, eg hen party vs stripper, but small-scale incidents like this don’t really tell us much about how the power structures of society operate.

Um, no I'm not - I've never experienced that sort of situation, and I doubt I ever will!

Yes, as Citoyen says, I'm talking about something that is perhaps exceptional, but it is my experience and so I think it's valid. For 22 years, I worked in an environment which was 85% women (in a company of about 10,000 people). It was brilliant and I loved it, but of course I saw situations where the boot was on the other foot. I'm not trying to balance any injustices anywhere; I'm simply observing that people do exploit positions of power, however that power is obtained. I very rarely saw any malevolence, and nor of course was there the reinforcement of cultural history - but that raises the point that, given the right environment, that cultural hangover can be overturned very quickly.

Hot Flatus

  • Mediocre polyglot.Scoutmaster and nudist
Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #55 on: February 06, 2021, 11:18:42 am »

Ruthie

  • Her Majester
Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #56 on: February 06, 2021, 11:24:03 am »
Your post does suggest that it’s not a “male gaze” issue, since it is also the treatment of women by other women(?).


It is absolutely a male gaze thing, when even your dearest friend thinks they’re doing you a favour by helping you to conform to the appearance designed for the pleasing of men.

Class is very much a factor. I dye my hair, and so pay attention enough to note that middle class women tend not to dye their hair in middle age. There’s a wonderful TV series called Angels of the North, which I recommend. It’s full of the most fabulous women, and presents one ideal of women’s appearance.

Watch any American drama. Women’s hair is overwhelmingly long and wavy. Think Meghan Markle and the other one. Kate Middleton. Yes, this is partly fashion, but it is also the way awful books like The Rules tell you to wear to catch a certain kind of man. It’s what men want to see on their TV women.

Yes, I know, not all men, and many of the men from this forum stand way outside the stereotype. But I’ve been a woman for a long time now, in a largely working-class world.
Milk please, no sugar.

Ruthie

  • Her Majester
Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #57 on: February 06, 2021, 11:27:26 am »
I lost a lot of weight a few years ago. I was told “don’t lose any more weight. I like you like that’. By a married male colleague.

I do think it’s men of my own generation and older. Younger people seem to be so much more evolved. Cause for rejoicing IMO.
Milk please, no sugar.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #58 on: February 06, 2021, 12:39:04 pm »
The word that seems possibly out of place to me is 'gaze'. We're talking about a way of looking that includes (taking themes from posts upthread): lust, objectification, desire, oppression, denigration, admiration, sexual instinct, othering. Some of these ways might be better described as 'stare' or even 'glare' while for the reflexive aspects 'glance' might be more appropriate.

However, the thread title if not the individual posts needs one all-encompassing word. Look would be ambiguous, view would exclude the non-deliberate aspects, while sight would imply a discussion of opthalmology. Besides, 'the male gaze' (or 'the Western gaze' etc) is a set phrase.
Faster than a walk, slower than a train, often slightly higher than a person. (David Byrne)

Ruthie

  • Her Majester
Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #59 on: February 06, 2021, 12:42:41 pm »
I don’t agree.  The suggestion is not that it’s deliberate action by men. It’s more that the whole world defaults to pleasing men.

See Caroline Criado-Perez, Invisible Women.
Milk please, no sugar.

fd3

Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #60 on: February 06, 2021, 01:00:16 pm »
Your post does suggest that it’s not a “male gaze” issue, since it is also the treatment of women by other women(?).

It is absolutely a male gaze thing, when even your dearest friend thinks they’re doing you a favour by helping you to conform to the appearance designed for the pleasing of men.
I don’t follow/understand.  Imu either
It’s an issue of the way men look at women in an objectifying fashion, a sort of assault by the intention of the way they are gazing.
Or
It’s a societal conception of what women should look like and how they should aspire to be perceived.  Maybe the link is that they are pushed to elicit the above gaze?

If women feel better because men are looking at them, validation through their looks, then is this a male gaze thing?  What about people who want to look attractive irrespective of attracting people?
And we know the flag of love is from above/And we can force you to be free

Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #61 on: February 06, 2021, 01:25:33 pm »
I remember a Chris Rock routine in which he said [paraphrase] Females from the age of 13 had
to be aware that men are looking at them as sexual objects. [/paraphrase]

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #62 on: February 06, 2021, 01:29:41 pm »
So, obviously I’m not normal, but this behaviour is something that I have heard of but never witnessed.

Male gaze is - amongst other things - what stops men from behaving badly towards women when there are other men (who they can't trust to be accomplices) around.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #63 on: February 06, 2021, 01:40:49 pm »
This thread is a perfect example of why I spend the majority of my online time here and not CC.

Thoughtful debate alerting me to things that I possibly should have been more aware of, and a range of views all put forward respectfully.

Keep it up.
Rust never sleeps

Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #64 on: February 06, 2021, 01:46:27 pm »
May I have a guess as to its content?  Drago braying out his ignorance in what he thinks is an articulate manner, a few hangers on grunting in agreement about how they can't even be sexist or racist anymore without the snowflakes getting offended, and then theclaud kicking them all into space with just three or four sentences? That was the traditional ordre du jour in that kind of thread on CC when I stopped reading it a few years ago.

theclaud, the absolute paradigm of pithiness, a great shame she's not here.
Rust never sleeps

Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #65 on: February 06, 2021, 01:48:13 pm »
I lost a lot of weight a few years ago. I was told “don’t lose any more weight. I like you like that’. By a married male colleague.

I do think it’s men of my own generation and older. Younger people seem to be so much more evolved. Cause for rejoicing IMO.
I have had this a lot over the last year as I have lost weight.  Multiple colleagues at work telling me I have lost enough, or too much, weight.

Partly I suspect as many of them talk about dieting but lose no weight.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #66 on: February 06, 2021, 01:57:12 pm »
I don’t agree.  The suggestion is not that it’s deliberate action by men. It’s more that the whole world defaults to pleasing men.

See Caroline Criado-Perez, Invisible Women.
Don't agree with what? Your post immediately follows mine but I don't think it's replying to it - or if it is, I'm not sure how, so I'm checking.
Faster than a walk, slower than a train, often slightly higher than a person. (David Byrne)

Ruthie

  • Her Majester
Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #67 on: February 06, 2021, 02:41:40 pm »
I don’t agree.  The suggestion is not that it’s deliberate action by men. It’s more that the whole world defaults to pleasing men.

See Caroline Criado-Perez, Invisible Women.
Don't agree with what? Your post immediately follows mine but I don't think it's replying to it - or if it is, I'm not sure how, so I'm checking.

Sorry, it’s a pain doing quotes on my phone.

I disagreed that ‘gaze’ was the wrong word. Women get dressed in the morning with nobody looking at them, but it’s still for the male gaze.
Milk please, no sugar.

Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #68 on: February 06, 2021, 03:24:07 pm »
A few of the earlier replies seem to have confused the concept of the male gaze with how they, as individual men, physically look at women. For those unsure, Ruthie posted a link to the definition earlier.

It's easiest to see in film depictions of sex. As Rogerzilla has mentioned Keira Knightley has said she won't continue to do sex scenes, directed by men. The male gaze makes the woman simply an object. How often do you see sex scenes where the woman is is shown naked or near naked, with clear shots of breasts, or full frontal nudity, when the man might show half a buttock? It doesn't matter what position they are having sex, the camera always manages to show the woman, but not the man. That's half the male gaze. The second half, in the context of the sex scene, is what is happening in the sex, and why it needs to be portrayed. The male gaze promotes erotica over intimacy.

That's just in film, but the male gaze spills into all parts of life. It's how we end up with the perception of 'legitimate rape victims' - you know, too ugly/not dressed sexy enough and you couldn't have been raped, but too pretty/dressed too provocatively then you are probably a whore who wanted it. It's why some men will only accept "I have a boyfriend/husband" rather than "No thanks, I'm not into you" as a rejection. And it's totally pervasive into all aspects of life, even those where there is no sexual element at all. 

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #69 on: February 06, 2021, 03:25:20 pm »
I don’t agree.  The suggestion is not that it’s deliberate action by men. It’s more that the whole world defaults to pleasing men.

See Caroline Criado-Perez, Invisible Women.
Don't agree with what? Your post immediately follows mine but I don't think it's replying to it - or if it is, I'm not sure how, so I'm checking.

Sorry, it’s a pain doing quotes on my phone.

I disagreed that ‘gaze’ was the wrong word. Women get dressed in the morning with nobody looking at them, but it’s still for the male gaze.
Okay, thanks. Your example shows that the onlooker doesn't have to be present, in fact might not even be encountered, for the effect to be felt. So in that case, it's clearly not a stare, etc. It's more of a perspective, maybe something like "women choose their own clothes but do so from a male perspective".

When it comes to the men who are looking (or not looking) it might be anything from a glimpse to a leer.

I might read the Conversation piece sam linked to when I've finished this work. I haven't gazed stared peeped glared leered or even looked at that site for ages!
Faster than a walk, slower than a train, often slightly higher than a person. (David Byrne)

Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #70 on: February 06, 2021, 03:25:38 pm »
I lost a lot of weight a few years ago. I was told “don’t lose any more weight. I like you like that’. By a married male colleague.

I do think it’s men of my own generation and older. Younger people seem to be so much more evolved. Cause for rejoicing IMO.
There is an evolution taking place in some sectors of the British population. I am an enlightened feminist, especially when compared to my father. However in comparison to my son I’m a knuckle dragging cave dweller.
There is some exaggeration for effect, honest.
Sorting my life out, one shed at a time.

Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #71 on: February 06, 2021, 03:30:21 pm »

For 22 years, I worked in an environment which was 85% women (in a company of about 10,000 people). It was brilliant and I loved it, but of course I saw situations where the boot was on the other foot.

Out of interest, if 85% of the company were women, approximately what proportion of senior managers were women? There being lots of women isn't the thing that gives them power. Did those women need to wear a uniform, and did that uniform involve clothing that was female-specific? Was there a dress code of being presentable, where "presentable" for a man means not looking like you've been pulled through a hedge backward, but for a woman carries the expectation of wearing a full face of make-up, having a specific hair style and wearing heels?

Hot Flatus

  • Mediocre polyglot.Scoutmaster and nudist
Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #72 on: February 06, 2021, 03:44:23 pm »
^ I was going to bring this up but couldn't be arsed. I don't think Virgin airlines consists of 85% female pilots and 15% male cabin crew, somehow. You've already rumbled it, but if you want to take about male gaze then aircrew is an excellent context.  Bit like female newsreaders.

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #73 on: February 06, 2021, 03:54:30 pm »

For 22 years, I worked in an environment which was 85% women (in a company of about 10,000 people). It was brilliant and I loved it, but of course I saw situations where the boot was on the other foot.

Out of interest, if 85% of the company were women, approximately what proportion of senior managers were women? There being lots of women isn't the thing that gives them power. Did those women need to wear a uniform, and did that uniform involve clothing that was female-specific? Was there a dress code of being presentable, where "presentable" for a man means not looking like you've been pulled through a hedge backward, but for a woman carries the expectation of wearing a full face of make-up, having a specific hair style and wearing heels?

When I started there, there was indeed a good deal of that. As time went on, most of it was modified, for instance to allow no makeup, flats, trousers, whatever bodyshape you came with, and much more. However, yes they still wear uniform and there are grooming standards, but they apply equally to men and women. I wasn't customer-facing (luckily for the customers), so people in my trade weren't subject to quite the same rules, but we most certainly were not allowed to get away with the reverse-hedge look. I'm not sure I exceeded the standard by much, but I look scruffy in the shower.

Again, when I joined all of the most senior management were men. Mostly pretty enlightened men (there were some Neanderthals, of course). Now, 2 of the 6 board members are women. I don't know for sure what the balance is down through the management ranks, but my impression is it's about even. I couldn't tell you if that's a big change from when I joined. I suspect not.

As well as the company being mostly female, I'd guess that about 50% of the male staff were gay. No part of the business was allowed to be recalcitrant; despite some trades being traditionally white male sinecures, every department had to sort itself out and become more diverse in every sense. That's more difficult in areas where the qualification period is long, involved and expensive - you can only hire from the existing cohort, but the company was also developing apprenticeships and cadetships so that it could widen the net from the first days of employment.

Of course, the pandemic may well mean that the company doesn't survive. It's already less than half the size it was a year ago. But it's worth knowing that there are companies that are trying to move with the times.

Re: The Male Gaze
« Reply #74 on: February 06, 2021, 03:57:04 pm »
This thread is a perfect example of why I spend the majority of my online time here and not CC.

Thoughtful debate alerting me to things that I possibly should have been more aware of, and a range of views all put forward respectfully.

Keep it up.
^
This.