Flashing images

March 28, 2013

I’ve noticed several times how women express strong feelings of disgust at the sight of a man’s penis, be it in pictures or as a joke in casual situations. Where accidental or “accidental” showing of female body parts are usually considered embarrassing or exciting, the male equivalent is quite often met with disgust.

I wonder why this is, and have come up with some ideas.Image

Within feminist theory, there’s a term called”the male gaze”. It refers to the assumption that since white, heterosexual, men are the norm in western society pictures, whether in merchandising, movies or art, are made with men as the main recipient.

This explains why females, at least if they’re young and pretty (and they tend to be), are quite often shown from angles and with lighting that will emphasize sexualized body parts such as breasts and behinds whereas men are not.

Women are presented as something men would like to go to bed with, (or rather, a thing that heterosexual men with enjoy looking at) while men are presented mostly as someone the men can recognize themselves in.

The male gaze can occasionally be homosexual as well as heterosexual. In this way of viewing things, a big poster of David Beckham in boxer shorts is not aimed at the female erotic mind, but at that of gay men, and possibly also as a physical ideal for other heterosexual men.

It is understood that women as well as men look at pictures using the male gaze. Women may be in the audience, but the camera identifies with the men and looks at what the men are expected to be interested in. Most of us are so used to this we don’t think about it, and since it’s very seldom mentioned but rather considered the default view, women are trained from childhood to be interested in, or even identify with, the male gaze.

Now, in order to keep up the assumption that ALL men are (or rather should be) heterosexual, a lot of policing is going on, and one assumption is that if men are sexually aroused by naked or exposed women they are as a consequence NOT AT ALL aroused by men’s bodies.

ImageYou would think that NOT BEING AROUSED should show itself as indifference, but since the notion is that ALL men are (or should be) heterosexual, the non-arousal must be publicly recognizable and therefore expressed as disgust or ridicule. The women who identify with the male gaze will, as a reflex, react the same way as the men in the audience are expected to react.

There is another interesting point in this. Since most of us are very used to the male gaze, we’re not at all used to seeing men in vulnerable positions. In fiction, of course, men are quite often imprisoned, shot at, injured in sports etc, but the camera with the male gaze makes sure not to sexualize the temporary loss of strength and power. Instead that’s quite often understood as the fuel for the revenge that is to take place in one way or another.

The vulnerability of the sexualized and naked female body must then be interpreted in another way in the case of men. We are given the assumption that vulnerable men are not good and I suspect the unexpected vulnerability about the naked male body makes us confused, and that confusion leads to anger because we don’t know how to handle it.

There’s a third possibility, and that is that women have very few opportunities to laugh at and ridicule men in public. The unexpected flashing of private body parts is one permitted reason for laughing at men. Perhaps women take the opportunity to get back at men for all the policing of women’s bodies (about food, weight, skin, hair and the extremely difficult balance between showing enough body parts to be interesting but not so much that you’re a slut).

The negative reaction from females towards viewing male private parts is possibly, then, an expression of homophobia. If true I find this very interesting. I also find it very depressing.

A lonely, old and dirty male figure meets a new, modern, beautiful female figure and wants to hold her hand. She, however, has an important mission and is not interested.

yes he is very cute

yes he is very cute

He doesn’t leave her alone despite her obvious lack of interest, he stalks her, trying to reach her, but doesn’t succeed. When she leaves, he follows, uninvited. Driven by his desire to be with her, no matter what she thinks. Behind him leaving his pet, who it seems is now all alone in the world.

They arrive at a spaceship where the population of earth (or USA, which is more or less the same thing) is leading an easy life while Earth is being cleaned. The population, from what is seen, consists of 90% men. This explains why the captain, as well as all but one of his predecessors, is also a man.

The white male captain does what a man’s gotta do, fighting the machines for The Good Cause.

american

this however, isn’t

The male figure from the beginning of the movie sabotages (out of ignorance and clumsiness) all the work of his desired female. As they are attacked by evil robots, he helps out, and the captain’s Cause (which is the same as the female figure’s) can be completed.

Now the female figure realizes how the male took care of/stalked her while she was absorbed with her work. Since the male figure also gets badly injured and almost dies, the female figure’s desire (!) is raised, and now she wants to hold hands with him.

The message is clear. As a man you can be as old, dirty, outdated, stupid and ugly as you want. The beautiful female will always come to you if you’re only persistent enough in your stalking, and, better yet, if you can win her pity.

I would like, just for once, to see a movie that doesn’t leave me disturbed and with a sour taste in my mouth.