Hi so why am I blogging? And why this name?
Well I started following blogs because of reading about Go Make Me a Sandwich on IGN. Occasionally wundergeek, the writer of the blog, would add links to other blogs, tumblr sites and other blogging places she found interesting. Anyway after about a year and a half (maybe more not sure) of following wundergeek’s blogging and expanding my library of blogging sites ever so slowly I found myself writing a few replies to a post on Gaming as Women, the current blog where wundergeek is posting, and they were deleted.
So I asked myself why? One post was a bit on the side of an uncomfortable topic for the blog but that is why I posted it separately from the rest of my reply, so it could be deleted if it was too uncomfortable a topic. What was wrong with the rest of my reply? And then it hit me. It was not on topic for the blog where I posted it. I have had my replies on blogs criticized and deleted for derailing or asking too personal a question before, but this time my reply was about feminism and it was inspired by the post where I left the reply, but it was not on topic for the post or the blog. So what now? I have a few topics already I know I can not discuss on the blogs I follow and this was another one of those. And I can not seem to find (for one reason or another) these topics online.
So what am I supposed to do with this itch I have about talking (chatting, posting, …) about those topics? Well wait I know someone online who has the same itch about some other topics that gave me this itch after reading her blogs and all of the posts therein (thank you wundergeek). So am I supposed to start a blog on these topics I am interested in?
And then this morning Giulia, the blogger to whom I directed the deleted posts at and a moderator at Gaming as Women, sent me an E-mail in which she said that I often tend towards severe derailing, that additionally I have a tendency to comment on tangential issues- beyond a simple adding to the conversation on the post that I comment on and that I respond constantly using the comments as a podium for my opinions. She also advised me to stop trying to become a ,,de facto author” at Gaming as Women and to open up my own blog. So thank you for the advice Giulia, I will.
Now on to the stuff that started it all: This: http://gamingaswomen.com/posts/2012/04/this-week-in-feminism-3/ post at gaming at women and the video Giulia posted there is what made me post 2 replies that, as an end result, had me start writhing this blog.
So what did I try, not sure how successfully, to convey in those 2 posts? Well after reading and wiki walking trough all the links in the above mentioned post I also had found a few things among them this video:
So this video and something that caught my ear in the video Giulia posted got me thinking about the thing that we call: the Male Gaze.
What is the Male Gaze? Well here is the definition:
While the ideas behind the concept were present in earlier uses of the gaze, the introduction of the term “the male gaze” can be traced back to Laura Mulvey and her essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” which was published in 1975. In it, Mulvey states that in film women are typically the objects, rather than the possessors, of gaze because the control of the camera (and thus the gaze) comes from factors such as the as the assumption of heterosexual men as the default target audience for most film genres. While this was more true in the time it was written, when Hollywood protagonists were overwhelmingly male, the base concept of men as watchers and women as watched still applies today, despite the growing number of movies targeted toward women and that feature female protagonists.
This definition is from a post on Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog: http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/08/26/faq-what-is-the-%E2%80%9Cmale-gaze%E2%80%9D/
Well now we have a definition of the male gaze in feminist circles, lets look at the definition of sexism from the first few paragraphs of the Wikipedia page on the subject:
1)Sexism, also known as gender discrimination or sex discrimination, is defined as prejudice or discrimination based on sex; or conditions or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex. Sexism is a form of discrimination or devaluation based on a person’s sex, with such attitudes being based on beliefs in traditional stereotypes of different roles of the sexes. Sexism is not just a matter of individual attitudes but is built into many societal institutions. The term sexism is most often used in relation to discrimination against women, in the context of Patriarchy.
Sexism involves hatred of or prejudice towards a gender as a whole or the application of gender stereotypes. Sexism is often associated with gender supremacy arguments.
2)Sexism, also known as gender discrimination or sex discrimination, is the belief that a characteristic inherent in one’s sex necessarily adversely affects one’s ability, even if that characteristic does not have that effect. The belief is generally false regarding the people who are so judged. However, when the adverse effect necessarily is a consequence of a difference between sexes, it is generally not sexist to identify or act on that relationship. Whether a particular effect does or does not necessarily follow a particular sex difference is a subject of analysis in various fields of scholarship and many scholarly findings have changed over the years. Sexism is a form of discrimination or devaluation based on a person’s sex, with such attitudes being based on beliefs in traditional stereotypes of gender roles. The term sexism is most often used in relation to discrimination against women in the context of patriarchy.
Sexism involves hatred of, or prejudice towards, a gender as a whole or the application of gender stereotypes. Sexism is often associated with gender supremacy arguments.
So does the definition of the Male Gaze meet the requirements of the definition of sexism? Yes, it does, for both male and female genders.
Why? Because this gaze is dehumanizing towards women because it makes them appear as these lovely dolls that have no need to be anything else but beautiful on the surface to be desirable by men and thus a functioning part of society and at the same time it is dehumanizing to the men because we are instructed to judge nothing but the surface beauty of the opposite sex (as in not men) in order to determine what (not who) is desirable to us and that such behavior is our right and privilege .
Now since in this day and age we all taught to defend our rights the defending of the Male Gaze as a right of men happens. For an example here is the defense: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/relationships/why-men-cant-and-shouldnt-stop-staring-at-women/article2379872/singlepage/#articlecontent and then here is the feminist reply:http://jezebel.com/5896523/the-top-29-reasons-why-its-okay-to-creepily-stare-at-womens-butts.
After reading this exchange think about this: has either of the authors tried to call this sexist way of behaving on the street something other then male? No. Why? Because as differing as their opinions seem to be they both agree that such behavior is male in its nature (the feminists does say that women do it to but that that is irrelevant as men are more entitled) and then take opposing stances on what should be done with this male (mis)behavior. That is sexist.
The man defending the Male Gaze is sexist in his post because he implies that the only kind of man that exists is a heterosexual (yeah no homosexuals, bisexuals or transsexuals, just cissexual men exist) who gladly goes around town window shopping for his sexual satisfaction, in other word a set made of balls and a drive-shaft going around town scanning for other sets made of tits and ass buns.
The woman defending the Male Gaze is feminist and sexist at the same time, the two are not mutually exclusive. She is a feminist because she calls the man out on all the insane troll logic he said. She is a sexists because her calling out this man implies that all men everywhere are like him.
The same goes for the woman who made the video Giulia posted. She is a feminist: she protests the treatment and presentation of women on Italy’s TV networks and urges women in her society to asks themselves is their representation in the media something they like or something that should be changed and also why is it that such sexist behavior was tolerated so far. She also points out the numbness to such rampant sexism with these sexist gems: ,,We are so used to seeing ourselves trough the eyes of men that we can no longer decide what we want and what makes us happy.” or ,,I mean we look at each other’s breast, lips, wrinkles as if we were men…”. The saddest part: The woman in question is not even coming up with some sort of sexist attack on the male gender while explaining how much sexism there is on her country’s TV networks, she just reveals the sexism directed against women in those video clips and at the same time takes all the sexism directed against men (that they should treat women as objects, that being lecherous is the norm of behavior, that talking down to women and not really expecting any sort of meaningful conversation with them is par for the course) and just goes with it not noticing it or not bothering with pointing it out (not sure which is worse).
So to bring this back to the video about manning up: the male gaze is just another part of the same problem that the phrase man up is a part of too and that is this sexist idea that men need to be these manly beings that just ooze testosterone and are so stoic and unfeeling that they deserve a good life for it, with a woman(-en) that is theirs and will take care of the household and get pregnant with his babies in it, only because ,like the ever so hated painted doll stereotype for women, he is a real man.
P.S. please note that this is my first blog post and that I am aware that there will be mistakes, my own moments of insane troll logic and did not do the research. All I am asking you is if you notice me being wrong to explain why when pointing it out to me.