This past week a lot has been said about educating men and protecting women. Being a very complicated topic, I feel culturally inadequate to discuss it in all its intricate nuances, though I feel the need to shed light on how the media may have propagated some of these issues. That’s my way into the conversation anyway, through the garbage we feed into our brains, right?
Molly Haskell, wrote a book that should be further away from any mention of garbage, From Reverence to Rape, Haven’t read it yet, but it’s a run through of the shift in portrayal of women in movies and how that in turn changed society. To be completely honest with you, we should all be reading that book instead of this, but here we are. It’s a good jumping off point, no?
When people talk about the male gaze in visual arts, they imagine a gratuitous showcase of a woman’s body; think Meagan Fox in a Michael Bay movie. Meagan Fox in any movie, really. Camera panning down on an oily tanned blonde in a bikini type shit but male gaze isn’t that in and of itself. Male gaze is the man’s attitude in depicting the opposite sex and gentlemen, we have fallen terribly.
I remember swearing to a friend that even though Elizabeth Taylor may not have been the most beautiful woman that ever lived, she was to the collective memory of humanity; because not since has there been a more lovely lady to grace a screen in the world. At this juncture some may want to argue, and to those I tell them to go watch Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, even if it’s just a trailer. We see that even when eroticized, as in the aforementioned film, it’s done with class, grace and poetry, such as not to lose the woman’s sacred quality. When Hollywood became more liberal, and in turn the world did, nothing was sacred anymore.
Much preferring the sacred structure but not being in possession of any voting rights, I’m fine with the way women rolled their dice. To say they deserved their emancipation that started in the 1960s would be a criminal understatement, but since there’s no blog space and time to put it more eloquently, I’ll be guilty just this once. After a recent rape tragedy, someone online brought to light the side people have been less than happy to look at; the messy sub conscience of the accused, the men. This is the only side I have access to and it is the side that interests me most, for who knows what evils lurk in the hearts of men but a fellow demon?
I can’t speak generally but generally what most men get out of a woman is worth. Different types of worth for different types of women, according to different types of beholders, of course. There are archetypes. That is a real thing and most people are variations and cross-dressed Frankensteins of characters they’ve clung onto throughout their lives. So from a lifetime of watching TV we kind of know who people are much quicker than we used to. Either that or we think we do, which is probably most likely. So everybody’s a social critic, and they judge much too quickly but can you blame them? And once this happens, some men see a woman as a very specific thing they think they’re familiar with, and they know for sure what it means to them.
A young lady who dresses up to feel comfortable for herself isn’t thinking about the character she’s being cast in the mind of the man who happens to be buying her drinks. And she certainly isn’t aware that her character sleeping with this man is all he needs to accentuate the comedy drama in which he is a leading man that is going on in his head. For some it ends up being a crime saga just to keep up the illusion.
Let women wear what they feel good in. Nobody ever stopped a man from showing off his guns in a wife beater so allow women to show some ass in peace too, goddamnit. That needed no fanatical co-sign from me but I was glad to type it down nonetheless. One way to deal with this, one that’s already in effect actually, (I offer no solutions, I only prop some up, and frequently tear down others) is shame.
Nothing to curb an evolutionary need like good ol’ shame. When men felt the urge to run for their lives instead of fighting the battle ahead of them, they were mocked, scolded, disgraced and jeered everywhere they went. The other men were not shaming the cowards because they were so above that, but only because they recognized a small part of it in themselves and wanted to purge it completely by destroying it wherever it was manifest.
Every guy, because it is every guy that’s guilty, has a responsibility to shame and if it comes to it, fight, any fellow in breach of the sacred manner to which women must be treated. But women, how about a quid-pro-quo? You, too, must be ready to understand the easily overtaken mind of us heirchachial boys, and tone down the unnecessary oversexualization, ditto to the men who inexplicably hold a lot of that power too. God knows how I love to see a booty twerk for the heck of it, but too many guys out here are forming unrealistic characters they can’t wait to get out of their mom’s basement to meet.