Before I completely lose y’all in sticky theory, I’ll provide a straightforward (if very simplistic) example. Ever notice how the women in Cosmopolitan magazine so often look like they’re a hair’s breath from an orgasm? This goes for the ads as well as the editorials. Have you ever wondered: hmm, isn’t it sort of weird that a women’s magazine that is itself sold to women and is simultaneously trying to sell things to women should be filled with other women staring out of the pages making the kinds of dull-witted sexyfaces you’d expect them to be making at men whose attentions they were seeking? Why are women being instructed to look at women who are ostensibly looking at invisible men? The magazine is showing you women via the male gaze. The magazine is also training you to see yourself via the male gaze, and to put more currency in how you look to the outside observer, or how you look in a mirror, as opposed to how you look at the world, as a person seeing. The message is that women don’t see; they are only seen. You want a man? You wear these clothes, stand in this posture, make this sexyface: these are the symbols of the straight female. In a heteronormative, male-driven world, this what it means to be beautiful, or at least sexually available.
–Via Lesley at Fatshionista: “Madonna, Lady GaGa, and Breaking the Male Gaze: A Close Reading of ‘Alejandro'”
That’s all I have for today. I have to do homework/get ready for an audition. Yippy Skippy.