Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Male and Oppositional Gaze

    The male gaze is when the spectator is put in the shoes of the male, where the male gazes upon the body of female. In which he tries to unravel the type of women she is by watching her movements and actions. Such examples of the male gaze is seen throughout many forms of media from art to film. A good present day example would be the show "Mad Men" where many proclaim that the show is sexist due to its vast forms of the male gaze.
A scene from Mad Men
     Women always have their appearance in mind, or how she is seen by a male figure. As John Berger said "Men look at women, women watch themselves being looked at". Where woman watch themselves to see how men perceive the gaze. More times than none the female being gazed at will become more self conscious of herself and her clothing, and at times will change the way she dresses to lessen the chances of being gazed at.
    The oppositional gaze was described to challenge the authority of the audience, for the permission to look.   "It was oppositional black gaze that responded to these looking relations by developing independent black cinema" (Hooks 117). The movies of a certain era portrayed black women stereotypically and the oppositional gaze was made as a rebellion towards that portrayal. It showed black females not to accept the stereotypical portrayal of women in media but to create new ones. One who paved the way for such media was Spike Lee creating movies that opposed such things as the latter. 
      While watching such things that depict women as scandalous or having sex appeal we tend to judge them negatively. However, in reality we have no clue of how such woman or female is. We only perceive what we see before our eyes and not what is behind the picture. The male gaze gives a one sided story about what we see and not about the person that is being seen.
        In the media they show what people want to see. Furthermore, what you see in the media might not be what is really happening. For example, when portrayed in a movie or show a Muslim was always portrayed as a terrorist and who meant nothing but harm. In reality that is totally untrue..

Friday, September 28, 2012

group 3 presentation video

Group 3A: 17th and 18th century, based in Northern Europe, art focused mainly on women's occupation and daily life. Women were able to excel at art that focused on still-life, plants, and insects. They excelled because this was the only acceptable focus that women could take up. Southern European art focused on war, heroes, and myths. Judith Lester was a mother, wife, and artist. Judith painted until she was 80 years old. She painted many still-life's. Her work has been credited to her husband and teacher. One work of art was claimed to be the best work ever created by Hans (Judith's teacher), was later found to have been created by Judith herself. After the work was credited to Judith many critics changed their minds about the art work. Anna Maria Schurman was a feminist and artist. Only 2 art pieces remain. She was an intellectual and helped create a university. She was the first female student to attend the university, albeit behind a screen so as to not distract others.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Have a good weekend

Just wanted to say to everyone enjoy your weekend and don't do anything I wouldn't do.  :)
                                The Male Gaze and the Oppositional Gaze
                                       By: Amanpreet Pall     

     The male gaze is what a woman deals with the day she is born and until her death. According to John Berger who is an author, "Men survey women before treating them" (pg. 46). Their gaze determines how a woman will stand, speak, gestures etc. She cannot even walk across the room without being "surveyed", judged and depicted into an opinion of what type of woman she is. The male gaze holds so much power it makes a woman change her entire demeanor to either suit the man's needs or hide herself entirely. For a woman, her appearance follows her wherever she goes. An example would be a job interview, studies depicted in a Forbes article, show that if two women are interviewed for the same job, the less beautiful one will most likely receive the job because the more beautiful one is too pretty. In other words, beautiful women are not capable of having intelligence, whereas a more handsome man will have a higher chance of receiving a job compared to a less handsome man. 
     Why is there such a vast and unfair difference? Berger states that women are..."most particularly an object of vision: a sight" (pg. 47). Being a "sight" or "object" to every male gaze in every man and woman is very scary for when women look at themselves it is through the male gaze as well. For example, when a woman is cat-called on the street (notice I say when and not "if" or "maybe", this is a personal experience which I know most women share) she feels almost guilty of being whistled or called sexually explicit words. She changes the way she walks, her body language and by looking at herself through the male gaze and a mirror in front of her wondering, what did I do wrong? When in fact the wrongdoing was not her own but that of the cat-caller or the person that harassed her in the first place. 
                         "Three Ages of the Women and the Death" By Hans Baldung in 1510    
     The male gaze is pervasive in art and culture because depicting women as "objects" sells and works for the male dominated society even though there are more women in the world than men. Since the 15th century or even earlier, depicted by Adam and Eve, women have been and still are considered inferior. For example, when a man OR woman acts weak in any way a popular answer to their weakness in the American society would be "to grow some balls". In other words, grow a pair of testicles because that makes you powerful even though that is the man's most softest and weakest part his body. Why don't people say grow a vagina? The vagina can take a kick whereas a man would be crying on the floor if his "balls" were kicked, not to mention that most women push out human life through the vagina but who cares, that is a "female" body part so it is automatically weaker (sarcasm should be noted for clearly I care). 
     The painting above depicts the woman nude and holding a mirror. According to John Berger, "the real function of the mirror make the woman connive in treating herself as, first and foremost, a sight" (pg. 51). This is so the spectator, which is a male, does not feel guilty looking at the nude woman because she is looking at herself in a mirror. This makes her a sight and the sand timer above her shows her beauty will not remain forever so she and the one watching should enjoy while they can. Unfortunately, business for the male gaze industry will continue to bloom because of the difference in nudity and nakedness. "To be naked is to be oneself. To be nude is to be seen naked by others...", says Berger (pg. 54). A person is naked when he or she is coming out of the shower not nude. A person is nude if they are intentionally without any clothes etc and could be seen by others. That is why it is considered okay the way a woman is depicted in a "nude" painting especially since she has no choice and is either in a pose that she wants to be seen or a seducing expression or with a mirror. A woman should never be painted nude and act like she doesn't like it (I obviously mean the opposite what kind of an idiot do you guys think I am).
     The oppositional gaze is a gaze a black woman is always depicted of having. The hierarchy of the American culture is seen as white male at the top, white woman, black male, and ending with black woman on the bottom. Since black women are at the end of the "totem pole" they are perceived of having a lot of aggression and very rebellious. Bell Hooks, a black female writer, says "Not only will I stare. I want my look to change reality" (pg. 116). The reality being that women are inferior but black women go even lower. If a black man were to look at a white woman it would be considered "rape" because white women are property of only white men. Whereas black women belong as slaves to the white man and they can do so as they wish with them because a black man is still beneath a white man. No wonder there are more white female AND male models on the covers of magazines or on the runway.
     I knew there was a male and oppositional gaze. I just didn't realize that was the correct terminology. Being a colored woman I have been and will be continued to be seen as an object through the male gaze and inferior through the oppositional gaze. This world should not consist of gazes, ethnicity, race, class, sexuality etc...why can't we all just be equal? As much as I want this I know equality to this extent will never exist.
                                                                          Works Cited
  Berger, John
       Ways of Seeing. London, England. 1972. 

Hooks, Bell
     In Black Looks: Race Representation. Boston, Massachusetts: South End Press. 1992.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My late Mini Post

   My name is Fazil and I'm a freshman at Rutgers. I'm majoring in Pre-Engineering / Engineering, as far back as I could remember I was always fascinated about  how things were built and how science is used in our daily lives. Before I added Art and Women to my schedule, I had to drop Intro to Comparative Politics a class that I wouldn't recommend to a friend. However, I am glad that I added this class since I was always interested in art and how it changed through history.One of my hobbies is photography and my weapon of choice is my Sony A850, and its a thing that I do on the side for small events.

                                And here's a pic that I took at St.Thomas,Virgin Islands

And here's a Link to a song from one of my favorite bands:
Arctic Monkeys- Do Me a Favour

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Male and The Oppositional Gaze..

      "Men look at women, Women watch themselves being looked at" -John Berger. That's what the male gaze is, the assumption that women are a subject. A subject of a figure that is constantly studied, surveyed and judged. Going back to at least the 1400's with painting of Botticelli and Giorgione depictions of Venus both view her as sensual. Botticelli's The Birth of Venus shows her unveiling her beauty but then again a bit ashamed at the fact that her body is exposed to two angels gazing upon her with a guardian coming to cloak her shame.
 Giorgione's Sleeping Venus exhibits her graciously posing for her painter in a erotic way drawing the viewers eye from her sleeping face down to her vaginal area in the sense that she is seducing the viewer. From the 1400's til now women are harshly judged for their appearance because men have played the predominant role in every way of life. "Art was made for men to gaze upon as women being nude is not simply being naked, being nude is simply the subject of being an object" -John Berger.

      The Oppositional Gaze is the gaze of the minority female against the stereotypical views of the world in cinema/life. Since slavery times all african americans were told to  not look a white person in the eye for it was considered disobedient , nor a for a black male to gaze upon a white female for it was considered rape. But as time went on and cinema became popular for the first time african americans were able to look upon the white race and what they saw they began to oppose because of the reason that their fairy tale world did not exist to them, also in the way black people were depicted in movies as the angry ones or thieves. Some diversity has began to show in various areas but Blacks have realized that cinema is the way to keep white supremacy dominant in the ways of the world.

      Throughout my whole life I also questioned the way things worked but I never questioned authority. I've been oblivious about numerous things in life including art for example Susan and The Elders. I never knew she was raped but I did see the essence of her not wanting to be bothered by these two men. Now thanks to these readings I understand that not all that meets the eye is what the eye sees, it's much more deeper then that. Now that my eyes are opened and my mind is expanding I see how much the male gaze runs the world. I believe in equality whole heartedly and what one person could do should not be restricted by the other for example double standards (which I've now come to understand was caused by the male gaze) is so unfair. Throughout life I've been through many experiences where I was told that the things I did were unladylike like or not for a female, and I didn't understand why.

     Even with cases of the oppositional gaze, me being an African american I felt as though I was automatically judged without hard proof. My very own best friends tell me that when they first met me they thought I was a b***h without knowing who I really was and now they love me oh so much. Even with others they have witnessed my anger and thought that I'm mean or have anger problems basically because I am a black female. Not only in my case but I've witnessed this in various movies where the black female is either always angry, poor, a whore etc and honestly not everyone is like that. When I watch movies I always see this fairy tale lifestyles and the roles people play are usually the successful, happy, or (in cases of horror movies) the ones that last till the end of the movies are not black people. Blacks usually play the role of either angry, unsuccessful, drug addicts, thieves or even short roled in movies.

Here's a case of inequality that I found interesting not only with the Oppositional gaze but also how the Male Gaze only allowed certain things to be right in this "wonderful" world we live in ... The Case of Ruby Bridges

Group 2 Presentation

The Renaissance: Women Roles and Famous Women Artist
                     There was a great change from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance in terms of culture, art, morals and roles. However not much has changed for women and for what they were and weren't allowed to do. Men still remain as the superior sex and women are their servants as society places strict foundations that women "should" listen to. However, there are few who have managed to elude them.
                     Sofonisba Anguisola(born in Cremona, around 1535) managed to find a way to express her love for art, limited to stick to Portraiture, and found a way to be a respected artist and was mentored by Michelangelo. She was so talented, she was permitted to serve as a painter for the Spanish Court. Here is one of her famous paintings:  
Bernardino Campi Painting Sofonisba Anguisola

                     Artemisia Gentileschi (Born in Rome in 1593) was the daughter Orazio Gentileschi and was influenced by Caravaggio. She was one of the first women artist in history of western art who
significance is unquestionable. She also joined the Accademia del Disegno. However, she was raped by Agostino Tassi(who worked for her father) and in order for her reputation to be saved she was promised to be married by Tassi (comforting right?). He eventually took back his promise and then was put on trial by Artemisia's father in 1612. Some art historians believe it was because of this, she was inspired to paint strong and heroic women. Here are two of her most significant (and some say ironic) paintings:
Susanna and the Elders
Judith Slaying Holofernes
(Naples version)

Here's the presentation in a PDF:

Group 2 Presenters:

The Male Gaze, Oppositional Gaze & Pop Culture

The “male gaze” is the observation of women from a one-sided, male point-of-view.  It establishes the dynamic of men as the spectators, and women as the objects of their gaze.  According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, to “gaze” means “to fix the eyes in a steady, intent look often with eagerness or studious attention”.  When I think of this definition, I think of an eager student studying his favorite subject.  He is studying that subject because he enjoys it, and he plans on using the subject to gain success in his future career.  The subject’s sole purpose is to be mastered by the student, so the student can use the subject to accomplish his goals.  The male gaze deems women as that favorite subject, whose purpose is to cater to men’s desires.  One could argue that a gaze is nothing more than an innocent, loving look from an admirer, but history defines it as being so much more.  Bell Hooks states that Emmet Till was murdered because his gaze at a white woman was interpreted “…as violation, as ‘rape’ of white womanhood…” (Hooks, 118).  The “male gaze” has so much power over a woman’s body, that it has been likened to the rape of a woman’s body.  The “male gaze” views a woman’s personality, aspirations, and opinions as non-existent; it reduces the sight of a woman to the sight of a thing; a thing that is up for grabs.

Up for grabs, get it?

The effects of the “male gaze” is everywhere around us.  Each day when I’m waiting for the bus, I see an ad for alcohol, where there’s a bikini-clad model standing next to the bottle.  It’s strange to me because her head is never shown; only her body from the neck-down is shown.  It could be that those parts of her are the only parts that matter to the assumedly male-viewer; if the male-viewer is reminded of her gross lady-brain, he might not buy the liquor!  From the ads on buses, television, billboards, magazines, and websites, the objectification of women is all-surrounding.  It has come to the point where majority of people are apathetic to it all, and accept this treatment of women as a permanent, static reality.

 The reason why the male gaze is so pervasive in popular culture is because it is the standard, popular, and normal point of view. Though we have come very far as a society, the rich, adult, white, heterosexual male still finds himself at the top of society’s hierarchy. Today, there are more female and non-white artists who enjoy great success and acclaim in their careers, but collectively they don’t have as strong of an impact that white male musicians, painters, architects, and sculptors have had on America’s identity.   It’s the byproduct of centuries of excluding other, non-white, non-male people from positions of considerable power and influence in art.  Because these “others” still have catching up to do, their works are viewed as alternative and pop culture/ art from a white male point of view is seen as mainstream.  And mainstream culture is the prevailing culture, the culture that is most profitable, and the culture that isn’t weird.  The male gaze in pop culture sees women as this “thing” that’s mainly here to sexually satisfy another person, to be used/consumed. So that is how women will be depicted in various ads.  If a woman gets offended by it, she is told to get a sense of humor or stop being weird, since the male gaze (and consequently the objectification of women) is pervasive and normal.

Apparently, she won't "go down" smoothly. LOLZ.

Rich, adult, white male blessing the object below with the sight of his genitals.
Woman's body literally being consumed.
This woman who is offended by the images, and actively criticizes them is seen as having the “oppositional gaze”.  According to Bell Hooks, black women are the ones most likely to have the oppositional gaze, because black women have the least in common with the women that are being celebrated and exposed in the media.  The images of vulnerable, passive, white women being dominated by men do not appeal to the one with the oppositional gaze.  That woman’s gaze is compared to “those hard intense direct looks children would give grown-ups, looks that were seen as confrontational, as gestures of resistance, challenges to authority” (Hooks, 115).  Just like a little child struggles to exert some control in his/her life, a black woman uses the oppositional gaze to defy and work against those misogynistic and racist structures in society that tell her that she’s unattractive, spiteful, and deserving of bad treatment and ultimately abandonment.  Hooks cites the character “Sapphire” in Amos ‘n’ Andy as evidence of how Hollywood liked to view black women as hateful and a burden to all.  According to the sexist way of thinking, women are only here to complement a man.  Therefore, white women complement the powerful image of a white man by appearing weak and docile.  Black women complement the threatening and brutish image of a black man by appearing even more threatening and insufferable themselves. Because black women have been placed at the least desirable, least privileged, and deepest bottom of society’s hierarchy, they have helped usher in feminism.  Hooks states, “Black female spectators, who refused to identify with white womanhood…created a critical space where the binary opposition Mulvey posits of ‘woman as image, man as bearer of the look’ was continually deconstructed.  As critical spectators, black women looked from a location that disrupted…” (Hooks, 123).  As those who had the oppositional gaze, black women spectators were the ones who helped shake the foundation that sexism and racism are based on.  By criticizing the cinema and consequently criticizing the status quo, they are asserting their presence and are demanding that a positive space in society be available to them.

Being a dark-skinned, African young woman, it’s very rare that I find a female image in popular culture and Art that I can immediately relate to.  As I matured, I can definitely say that I developed the oppositional gaze that Bell Hooks has discussed.  Growing up in the 3rd generation of hip-hop (mid-90’s, early 00’s), a large majority of the hip-hop music videos had the same visual: one or two rappers, surrounded by expensive liquor and a frenzy of gorgeous, light-skinned models in the club, in the streets, or on a boat.  Whenever there was a darker-skinned woman in a video, there was only one of her, she was usually a safe distance away from the viewer’s central focus. I absolutely cannot carve out my identity from what I see on television, because that would be very toxic (for any woman, really; but much more for an African woman).  I understand that various images of women in art and media celebrate white women as being the ultimate beauty, and that their beauty comes from their European features and their perceived traits of docility, availability, and submissiveness.  Historically, my identity has been to be the overly-aggressive, neck-rolling, finger-snapping, incessantly nagging antithesis of white womanhood.  Reading the Bell Hooks reading has provided me with some serious clarity.  It’s true that art and popular culture often seeks to ignore or paint a bad picture of women of color, and instead of ignoring it, I have to constantly critique it.  Through the way I carry myself and the opinions that I voice, I have to actively rebel against it, so that the socially progressive ball continues to roll upwards.
Works Cited

Hooks, Bell. In Black Looks; Race and Representation. Boston Massachusetts: South End Press

"Gaze".  Merriam Webster. 2012.

the male gaze and oppositional gaze

The male gaze can be defined a stereo typical way that males see women. As John Berger says, men look at women; women watch themselves being looked at. A woman always thinks about her appearance and how she appears to men. Since the early times women have considered men as the surveyor meaning that they watch women continually to understand them and realize how they should be treated. For example, Berger states, “If a woman throws a glass on the floor, this is an example of how she treats her own emotion of anger and so of how she would wish to be treated by others. If a man does the same, his action is only read as an expression of his anger” (Berger 47).
This picture is a perfect representation of how women contribute to the male gaze. “She is Venus. But the way her body is arranged has nothing to do with their kissing. Her body is arranged in the way it is, to display it to the man looking at the picture. This picture is made to appeal to his sexuality. It has nothing to do with her sexuality” (Berger 55). Women always think of themselves of how they want to appear to men, that is why in this painting, Venus’s body is at an angle so the viewer can see her nude.
The oppositional gaze on the other hand, is a way to passively criticize another culture or another person, it is used in this situation where African Americans where they didn’t have the ability to stand out. They did not have the ability to judge or the ability to act on their own emotions. It is a way to stereotype just like the male gaze is to stereotype females the oppositional gaze is a way to stereotype higher authority.
A person’s gaze can say much more than you may think. It can say whether the feel threatened by you, whether they want to show dominance, and many other things. As Bell Hooks states, “by courageously looking, we defiantly declared: ‘Not only will I stare. I want my look to change reality.’ Even in the worse circumstances of domination, the ability to manipulate one’s gaze in the face of structures of domination that would contain it. Opens up the possibility of agency” (Hooks 116). For example, in some scenarios, when a policeman or a body guard is approaching a suspect they give them a look and everyone knows that the body guard or policeman will take over the situation.
The male gaze and the oppositional gaze are two different things yet they have many things in common with one another. The male gaze is a way that males view females. “Men act. Women appear” (Berger). The oppositional gaze is a way that people can rebel against a higher authority so they feel in control.

Works cited
Hooks, Bell. In Black Looks; Race and Representation. Boston Massachusetts: South End Press, 1992.
Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. London, England, 1972
"Bodyguarding/PPO." Bodyguarding/PPO. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2012. <>.
"Of Cabbages and Kings." Of Cabbages and Kings. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2012. <>.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Looking has a great influence. Male gaze "is confrontational, authoritative and political. It is also dangerous because there is a certain power that when the male looks, he holds this power over a woman Bell Hooks (115). That is, the male gaze is the look that asserts his dominance and control over the woman. It is a strategy of domination males possess of females as an apparatus and mechanisms of control. It is a power system that does not give room for freedom (116). Bella Hook says "Women learn to have a rebellious and opposing gaze to look a certain way in order to resist the male gaze(116).
According to Bell Hooks, the oppositional gaze is a powerful look that challenges authority and serves as a powerful tool for colonized black people globally. Black women refer to the gaze as a form of resistance to the male gaze and its perception of the ideal image of woman. (116)
When most black people in the United States first had the opportunity to look at film and television, they did so fully aware that mass media was a system of knowledge and power reproducing and maintaining white supremacy. To stare at the television, or mainstream movies, to engage its images, was to engage its negation of black representation. It was the oppositional black gaze that responded to these looking relations by developing independent black cinema. Bell Hooks (117). As spectators, black men could repudiate the reproduction of racism in cinema and television, the negation of black presence even as they could feel as though they were rebelling against white supremacy by daring to look by engaging phallocentric politics of spectatorship. Given the real life public circumstances wherein black men were murdered/lynched for looking at white womanhood, where the black male gaze was always subject to control and /or punishment by the powerful white other, the private realm of television screens or dark theaters could unleash the represses gaze. Bell Hooks (118).
According to Bella Hooks, pg. 118, Major early black male independent filmmakers represented black women in their films as objects of male gaze. Even when representations of black women were present in film, our bodies and being were there to serve-to enhance and maintain white womanhood as object of the phallocentric gaze. Bell Hooks (119).
Men survey women before treating them. Consequently, how a woman appears to a man can determine how she will be treated. One might simplify this by saying: men act and women appear Men look at women, women watched themselves been looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves. The surveyor of woman in herself is male: the surveyed female. Thus she turns herself into an object and most particularly an object of vision: a sight. John Berger (46) (47).
With my work experience in Radio and TV broadcasting, I watch television and videos a lot of times, I now understand the production of the male gaze. Universally, our way of life is centered on presenting women as sexual objects whether it’s through billboards, music videos, magazines, or movies; women are the central source for drawing the audience. They are consistently being portrayed as objects of viewing pleasure. For instance, in most TV ad where cars or any other is advertised, women are used to sort of seduce the viewer to get full attention. Watch this image.Works Cited:
Hooks, Bell. In Black Looks; Race and Representation. Boston Massachusetts: South End Press, 1992.
Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. London, England, 1972


Hey, my name is Debbie Maldonado and I am a freshman here ar Rutgers. I am majoring in criminal justice becasue law has always interested me and I really want to make a difference in the world. I am a forward on the Rutgers: Newark Women's Soccer Team and I love my team. The reason I took this class is because I really did not want to stay in my astronomy class, it was boring, so I decided to take this class mostly because my friend said that she was going to take it as well. Any way, it seems like an interesting class. I have a feeling that I am going to learn a lot. Art has always fascinated me and I am excited to learn about the histroy of it. Oh and I am really into music and music production so here is a link to a friend of mine who is starting off his career as a music producer, he is a big inspiration to me and an awesome musician:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Middle Ages Presentation-Summary (Group 1)

Chapter 1: The Middle Ages
Group Members: Pritika Das, Wajiha Dawood, Tiffannie Diaz

Introduction/Religion as the Prevailing Force in the Middle Ages
The Middle Ages followed the fall of the Roman Empire and preceded the enlightenment of the Renaissance. It is important to understand the extent of power held by the church. The church controlled all aspects of life including religion, culture, and knowledge. It not only controlled what people could learn but who was allowed to learn. It was a time when people lived and worked in order to get into heaven. Church had a monopoly over salvation and so dictated the lives of the people. Since their lives revolved around the church so did the art that was produced. Today when thinking about art in the middle ages architecture dominates over illuminated texts and tapestries. Architecture which is considered an art made by man, over tapestries which is made by women.

Upper Class Women: The Nuns
There are two places during this time where women were allowed to produce art, the monasteries and the guilds. The nuns in the monastery represented the female intellect during this time and the majority of them came from noble families. In a time where most people did not know how to read this is a feat for women. But they lived with limitations on what they could do. Although they were allowed to learn they weren't allowed to give sermons or enter into priesthood. The work of women during this time was not attributed to their intellect instead they are made into mystics. Hildegard was listened to because she was writing a divine message. She is a vessel for a message but not the creator. The women in the guilds worked side by side men doing the same work yet there is a modern need to distinguish what is done by women and what was done by men. It is difficult to distinguish because so few artists put their names on their work during this time. 

One of the teachings by St. Paul
- "A woman must be a learner, listening quietly and with due submission. I do not permit a woman to be a teacher, nor must a women domineer over a man; she should be quiet." (Chadwick 45) 

Women's Artwork in the Middle Ages 
  • Bayeux Tapestry
-   Completed around1086 
-   Medieval embroidery: competed by the nunnery (there were no records of male embroiders)
-  "Actors" in these embroidered scenes were referred to as Military heroes
-   Consistent themes across the Tapestry: Loyalty, Bravery, Treachery, Power
-   Famous scene of Aelfgyva and the Cleric: Shows how women are excluded from power, by males

  • Hortes Deliciarum
- Completed by Herrad of Landsberg (after 1170)
- Documentation of the Nuns in her abbey
- Showcased the upper class (names of each nun was written in German and Latin)
- Philosophical influences by the old testament, gospels, acts & scenes from judgment day
- Subjects come from Byzantine and Western Art

Women's Depiction in Artwork 
-Lower class women were shown working
-Lack of power in the feudalistic system
-Nuns: Elite social class that was given some amount of power because they belonged to the clergy, but they were still inferior to men
-Women were portrayed  only in religious settings: conservative apparel was worn
-Societal structure and culture was reflected in the artwork 

Hildegard of Bingen
- 1098, Female German Composer, Writer and Philosopher
- Incomparable work
- Highlighted female qualities: strength and endurance 
- Parents enrolled their daughters in convents for artistic reasons and to escape "financial responsibility" (keeping the wealth in their family by not having to pay dowry)

Works of Hildegard
- 63 Hymns, 1 Miracle Play
- Her work embraced science and religion
- Kept her position in society, did not challenge the church and their opression of women


Hildegard's Influences 
- First medieval manuscript 
- Free thinking with feminine ideas
- Wrote about freeing the church from corruption
- Feminine religious movement 

Works Cited:
Chadwick, Whitney. Women, Art, and Society. 3rd ed. New York, NY: Thames and Hudson, 2002. Print.

Gazes and Their Reasoning

          To define the male gaze is not all that difficult, however the why, and how it is accomplished and how it has evolved is interesting at the very least. The first thing one must understand in the nature of human psychology, and how humans process information. The simple act of looking has connotations of challenging the unknown, and conquering it as understanding occurs, even if flawed. Animals use looks as well to assert themselves, and often physical confrontations are avoided, only using looks.

          So it is no surprise to see that man has developed similar practices regarding viewing, as a sign of dominance. However, as society evolved from a hunter mentality, to an agrarian culture, then later to feudalism and so on, this dominance was no longer backed on primal factors, such as strength, aggression, but rather status, wealth, position, all of which that do not have a primordial response associated with them. 

         In Chadwicks book “Women Art and Society” she poses that religion plays a key role in patriarchy (p 44). Religion and more the church, plays the role in instilling a new fear, one that transcends primordial fears, where physical strength, aggression become less important. This allows the gaze to no longer be backed by a certain risk of violence through confrontation.

        So now, as in the feudal era, we have power of the nobles over their subjects, and power of subjects over the women in their lives. These through religion become unquestioned, and more importantly unchallenged. 

           How do the pictures above affect you. You can sense an immediate response, and while looking at the young man in the photo, you may have fear, but you may also have doubts whether or not he may be successful in a direct confrontation. Now think that with the wolf. It may seem sily, but the idea is that the gaze is backed by the certainty of a response, including a violent one.

           As far as the oppositional gaze, it was a matter of time until the, at the time current male gaze, was challenged, even if under veil, since physical strength no longer became the dominant factor in conveying a message.  The Guerilla Girls mention in “Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art” (p25) how Hildegard Von Bingen started to “upset” the church, resulting in her ultimate confinement in house arrest for her ideas, conflicting with the church’s message of female subservience. 

          It may have been silenced at the time, but this and so many other messages eventually do make their way to their intended targets, regardless of how some groups try to prevent it, just to maintain a status quo of allowing them to be in control, veiling their lack of strength for a divine right look and own