A few days ago I saw a program called Music, Money and Hip Hop Honeys which I really enjoyed. While watching it, two words kept coming to my mind. Value and Expectation. I had thought it ridiculous to somehow link Burlesque to domestic violence, sexual harassment and rape. If you start down that path you start forgetting self control, mental health issues and basic listening skills. Nel Hedayat interviewed some members of the public. When asked,
“Do you think these videos influence the way that guys look at girls?”
One of the boys answered,
“You see girls on tv and you think all girls are the same and you think, alright I’ll have a go at that one.”
With Burlesque at least one thing it has going for it (if anything-I’m still unsure) is that it takes place in a club. You have to be a certain age to view it. With R’N’B videos anyone has access to them. You can see them on Youtube and the images are all over MTV Base. (To name one music channel.) The videos are aimed at teenagers and are often inappropriate. I have seen a lot of blogs tackle the issue of private space. When I was a teenager you were free to be yourself at home and fully relax. Nowadays with web cams and Facebook you are always aware of an audience. This means you constantly have to perform and maintain the image of yourself people are familiar with. When videos like this are seen are television it becomes a normal image. Instead of questioning the treatment of women in these videos we feel the images shown are not just acceptable but something to imitate.
How can you tell a teenage girl that she is beautiful when this is the image she grows up with? She feels that this is what the boys at school probably want because it is every where. She will feel pressure to be something that isn’t real.
So how does this change the way boys see girls? Well as some of those interviewed said, boys will expect something that won’t be on offer. So what happens if a boy is expecting something and doesn’t get what he wants? He might feel disappointed and then angry. He might even violently go out of his way to get something he feels he is entitled to. Nel Hedayat, asks “where is the line drawn?” It would be easy to dismiss the sexual desires of a teenage girl but as the fandom of Twilight suggests, it is there. (We’ll come to that.) So to pretend a girl doesn’t know what she wants is foolish. They have a mind of their own but how easily can a person be brainwashed for the benefit of another?
Like currency, the more there is of something, the less value it has. Since there are so many willing girls desperate for fame the value of all girls goes down. In this industry it is easy to toss the girl aside in place for another. I guess you might think, so what? Isn’t that the same everywhere? It is after all a business and the girls know that, and are willing to use that to their own advantage. What if they don’t make it or if something happens to them (sexual assult, etc?) They make a lot of money as sex objects, but how much do they make as human beings? There are success stories but how many of these women are taken seriously as people? Anyway this got me thinking about the Female Gaze.
Exhibit A: (Work of Art gaze) Exhibit B: (Erotic gaze) Exhibit C: (Normal/ Everyday gaze)
There are reasons for the pictures…..let me just remember. Oh yeah. Women don’t get a gaze. There is either the Male gaze or the Homoerotic gaze. A quote for this from the blog (Almost True) says,
“Mulvey said that the Gaze could not be reversed because “the male figure cannot bear the burden of sexual objectification.”. When the male body is clearly the object of desire in art, the work is often conceived as and described as homo-erotic.”
There will always be people we find attractive. With Zac Efron, he is gorgeous but a little too perfect and polished. He might not be someone you would like to date (unless you had the chance to meet him) but he is nice to stare at when bored. He is the work of art gaze. When you look at him you aren’t seeing the person, his intelligence or even his personality. With Taylor Lautner (I know he is young but he is the best example at the moment.) He is physically attractive, so much so he packed out cinemas. Without shots of Launter taking his top off, New Moon would have just been close ups of Kirsten Stewart and poorly cheographed fighting scenes.
The erotic gaze for girls exists and I think it scares some people. Without meaning to, Twilight unearthed real female passion. It showed that far from being fragile, demure creatures, girls clearly (are you ready for it?) think about sex.
The last picture Mr Gerard Butler. He is the normal, sexy guy on the street gaze. He’s a little ordinary, scruffy and doesn’t give a shit.
You might think I just wanted to put pictures of hot guys on this blog. You might even think…hell I don’t care. Yes they are pretty but there is a point and…a equation.
So take away the normal, every day gaze and what are you left with? You will learn to think of a person as an object created to entertain you.
So what happens when you stop seeing the person behind the face? You are left with the warped delusion you can own people and treat them however you like. I couldn’t see how burlesque could be linked to domestic violence or anything like that. If a young boy/girl is constantly being exposed to these images of masculinity and femininity will that have an effect on the way they see the opposite sex/dating partner later in life? That sounds like whole different documentary but it is an idea.