Tuesday, 23 October 2012

OUGD501 // Seminar // The Gaze

In todays seminar we looked back at the lecture on 'The Gaze' and contextualised this into our area of design.
We first discussed what the Gaze was and how it was described.

Receptive - giving and taking. The gaze comes down to:
- POWER & DOMINATION from the males
- Patriarchal ideal of femininity - Females: Passive / Submissive
                                                    Males: Active / Dominant

- We are allowed to look and not be looked at back, she is gazing upon herself which makes it okay for us to look.
- The image is painted by men and bought by men, because men were in power as they were seen as the dominant gender. 
- The male gets to paint a perfect sexualised body - the name of the painting suggests that the women in the painting knows she has been used as a sexual object to be looked upon - vanity - and it also suggests that she is vein herself as she is looking at herself in the mirror.
- Nude women becomes accepted as art because there was so much of being done. This was mainly women which would be painted nude. This could been seen as pornographic. And was controlled by the men.
- It could be seen as a fantasy for the male, because they are degrading the women by making them into something that other men will look upon. They are dominating the women into doing this. This can also be seen in modern day porn.

- Again this image works in the same way as the one above - the women is looking away from the viewer so it is okay for them to look at her. She is covering most of her hair, so her body is the only thing you can focus on. 
- This is more of a fantasy image than the other, as this is a painting of the Goddess of Love which will have been painted by real people with real attributes.
- It seems more like art and removes the sexual acts that could be referred to it.

- In this image you can see a distinct difference from the two above, here you can see that the women is looking at you, she accepts that you are looking at her and wants you to look at her. Taking on the Gaze.
- We can see that this is referring the women to be a prostitute, you can tell this by the things she is wearing, the flowers she is receiving.
- The hand placement on her leg, is aggressive and more demanding. 
- This painting was seen to be very shocking and not accepting as a piece of art because it was depicting something that was reality, it refers back to men being in POWER, because they could own her for sexual needs by paying her to do so, it shows the women as a sexual object. Painting something that was reality, isn't taking on the gaze.

This is a similar image to the one above and was a different take on the image above.
Here we can differences in the two, which give it a different meaning.
- The awkward position of the hand, is placed as though it is inviting you in, also the position of her head and the laid back manor is again incising the men to look at her. The rose petals in her hand, to spread over the bed also work in this way too.
- This again is a male fantasy and what he would want in his ideal world, we can see this by the use of the maid in the top corner, looking after their child and to cook etc, leaving the wife with nothing to do except wait for the husband to come home and do things for him. The female is being portrayed as a sexual object again, by the way the dominating male sees her.

This idea of the Gaze also ran through in other means of mass media other than painting.
Take the 50's magazine: VUE
- the same representation of the women is used again, by the way in which the male has depicted and presented the female on the front cover.
- All the women on the front covers have a child like face with a adults body.
- incising the males, natural looking, looking more girly, all these are what the men that designed the magazine see as an ideal women and how they should look.
- Also stories within the magazine, play on sexual notations, with all the articles being about dominating women and how to act around them/how they should be.

In todays society women in the mass media are seen and made up to be something that males would like to see and to have a good appearance. This usually tends to be: big breasts, long hair, tanned. A good example of this is Katie Price.
- Culture wants women to be like this, but its also seen as a joke because she has been trapped into what the media has said and taking the advertising and ideal women on board to make herself look like this. Which is playing into the male, again being the gender in power.

Another good example of this is the Wonderbra advertisements.
Here you can see that female is made more dominant by making the eye contact with the viewer.
The way the model is positioned plays on the clothes someone in power would wear - police.
- The tag line across the image could be seen as the expectation that men see women to do, they should cook for them, but if they cant then we will see them as a sexual object ( being in bra, sexualising them)
- This advertisement works for both male and females, in different ways:
Males - to model their girlfriend as this / buy it to get what the advert is saying.
Female - to be an assertive and dominant female like the one in the advert.

Main notations and ideas we can take from this:
- Male in POWER
- notion of women being an sexual object
- Dominance of the male gender
- Female - passive/submissive
Male - active/dominant
- ideal of femininity and patriarchal.

The main idea to take away from 'The Gaze':
Culture has determined that nudes and looking at women in that way is acceptable because they have never been the dominant gender in society. It was always the males that were in power and they decided what should be what and how a female should look and act.

After discussing this we looked at reading from Coward, R. 'THE LOOK'.

insert images.

Find an image/clip from the mass media and analyse this against the Gaze relationship. You should use 5 quotes from the article.


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