Men: Erotic Objects of Women’s Gaze
Posted by BroadBlogs
A nude woman frolics in silhouette as clothed men sleuth about, guns in hand and feet in chase. These images introduce The Spy Who Loved Me.
Flipping through TV stations the other day, this Bond rerun caught my eye and left me imagining the reverse: a nude man cavorting about as clothed women raced in pursuit of criminals. Weird.
The female body is celebrated – or exploited – while the male body is ignored.
Check out People’s sexiest men and you will see face shots, loose T-shirts, and very few rippled muscles. Who could imagine a “sexiest woman” shoot sans bodies.
Searching for a calendar of sexy men at Boarders, the closest I could find was Barack Obama.
Yeah, yeah, there is the occasional men’s underwear ad, but they are rare.
No wonder women don’t spend a lot of time checking out men’s bodies, ogling them or judging them.
A man commented on one of my posts that (to paraphrase):
Not only are men not considered erotic, they are often used to get laughs. In Seinfeld, Elaine referred to the male body as “utilitarian,” implying that the female is much more erotic. George Costanza became a victim of “shrinkage.” Scenes of Johnny Knoxville running around in a thong get chuckles.
Why is the male body so de-eroticized?
One possibility: Men have historically controlled media, and they focus on what they find sexy (about 95% of them anyway). Homophobia further hinders eroticization. As women enter the industry we find more focus on men, but still not much compared with women. Meanwhile, showered with sexy-women images from the time they are small, even women come to find women the sexier of the species.
What if the world were to switch? Suddenly, a universe of men in Speedo’s?
What if women became subject, and men erotic object for women to gaze upon? What if women sought to consume men as objects? Judging them, grading their beauty? Would women feel empowered, experiencing themselves on the “person” side of the person/object divide?
Something to think about.
About BroadBlogsI have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.
Posted on April 14, 2011, in body image, feminism, gender, men, objectification, psychology, sex and sexuality, sexism, women and tagged body image, culture, feminism, gender, objectification, psychology, sex and sexuality, sexism, sexual objectification, social psychology, women. Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.