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


  1. Your points are made very well. Although the wording of this topic got confusing at times, your execution is very good and clear.

  2. I enjoyed reading your blog. Your pictures paired well with the explanations of the 1400s. You were on point with depictions of blacks in art,and media.

  3. I enjoy reading your post greatly. Especially towards the later half where you discuss how the oppositional gaze affects you. Your points were well said and the pictures fit the explanations nicely.

  4. I liked how you used quotes that were easy to understand. For example, “Men look at women; women watch themselves being looked at.” Your analysis was good but you did not cite the quotes correctly. I liked the way that you put your own personal experience and your own thoughts into the essay. I think that you did very well but there were some points that you need to improve on such as, using vulgar language. I get that it may catch the reader’s attention but it may also offend them, so try to be more careful next time. You did a good job overall.

  5. Being half Hispanic and half white, I can't really say much about the oppositional gaze. Reading your personal experience is a great way to try and understand it better. You can relate to it and see it in a way better than I can, so I found your last paragraph interesting. Also, it is true that in the film industry many blacks are undermined and underrepresented, so it was a good way to tie all of your arguments together.

  6. Thank you everyone for your comments I truly appreciate them and took all into consideration