Friday, September 14, 2012

Blame it on the Gaze

The poem I wrote, is written with the male gaze. Quite honestly, everything I write and create will have a male gaze to it, regardless of what I do, mainly because I am in fact, a male.

Yet, is it possible for male gaze to be more than the focus of gawking, peeping and objectifying? Or is it because so much has been created with that type of male gaze that it is forever to be how the male view is perceived?

Does the male gaze apply to things when the object in question is not female? The definition has its origins in feminist studies, where it becomes important to understand that from a young age, men and women have been forced to view the world as if they were a man, and in the case of the film camera, that "man" is often a pervert who focuses quite often on specific body parts.

Horror movies use the male gaze to show the man outside the window, peeking in on the half naked woman before going in and killing her.

The male gaze decides that the over the shoulder camera of a mounted female will be back far enough to show her thong as she rides.

The male gaze, is what is used by costume designers in many video games to decide the outfits female characters will wear.

Notice that all these are doing things that when applied to another man, would be avoided. If a man is inside a room naked, more often, you will see the stalker outside through the window, while the camera stays inside. A man riding on a horse would have the camera properly behind him, and showing him above the waist. A man's outfit will often cover his entire body, especially in the case of armor.

If you treat male characters the same as you would female characters, it would actually make some men uncomfortable. Either because they feel a little gay for the view, because of what it is usually used for (recent shows use male gaze on a male rear end before revealing the subject is a male to get that exact reaction), or because they feel that it is too gay for their tastes (peoples tastes gradient from a little gay to way super gay).

So why is all this important? Why should men care? Because like everything else, it starts collapsing in on itself. It will be magnified, and become a mockery of itself (horror movies already do it). But at the same time, there is a place for it.

So go on and look for it. Look for where the camera lingers. Where something interrupts a man, and the camera explores it from every angle. Where it lingers on key features. Where the camera is in the view point of a predator.

What else do you identify as male gaze?