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Lecture Two: The Gaze and The Media

‘According to usage and conventions which are at last being questioned but have by no means been overcome - men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at’ (Berger, 1972) The last sentence of this quote is often mis quoted, ‘women watch themselves being looked at’ - last sentence doesn’t mean that women are vein, it means that women are bodies/objects within in culture, it’s difficult for women to not think of themselves being looked at because they constantly compare themselves to images they see around them every day they constantly survey their idea of femininity

Berger within his theoretical writing looks at European oil painting, women's bodies being presented to be looked at and how artists paint vanity

Female nude, body on display, woman holds a mirror, angle is incorrectly rendered in the painting, inaccurate representation of how she would actually be holding it, disrupted and distorted double view of her face, view that she sees when she looks in the mirror, the mirror is placed in her hand as a device, to make an excuse for looking, a distracting device, allows the viewer to look at her without her looking back at you

Female body displayed sitting down, focal point between the knees, most sexual part of the body, woman allows us to look at the body in that way because she is engaged in looking at herself, makes it ok for us to look at her

Tendency to depict the female body which doesn’t allow the female to return our gaze, how they are depicted today in modern advertising

Alexandre Cabanel ‘Birth of Venus’ 1863 painting, mythological representation of women, woman as a goddess from the sea, looked over by cherubs, sentimental, virginal picturing of the woman, the position she is in, covers her own eyes and face with her hands a device seen in many paintings and advertising, the body versus the head, 2/3 of the picture taken up by the body and 1/3 of the head, concentration on the body and not her as a person or character, allows the auidence to look, unchallenged

Opium advert mimics this image composition, focuses on the body, but a more overtly sexual position is used, a more contemporary image is created, advert deemed to sexual for magazines or billboards, turned the image around to create a different emphasis on the face/head instead of the body, the vertical image has more concentration on the face as a posed to the body , emphasis of the sexual body position, eye drawn to the face

Titans ‘Venus of Urbino’ - traditional oil painting, traditional nude, knowledge of our presence, idea we’re sort of spying on her, passive nude painting, covers herself with hand, but very casual, compares this to Manet’s Olympia, subtle differences drawn, position of nude the same, hand is more pressing and defensive, titan’s is more casual, olympia is more assertive, assertive action, she is a prostitute, cloth suggest she is wealthy, offered flowers suggests gift giving, head is lifted as if she is addressing us, impressionism uses the snapshot style and quality, as if we’ve walked in the room and surprised her as a posed to the spying in titans venus.

The nude to challenge the traditional representation of the woman as a object, Ingres ‘Le Grand Odalisque’ used for the basis of a poster, poster has sexual connotations and therefore banned from public view,

Manet’s ‘Bar at Folies Bergeres’ mirroring of the gaze, back and fourth of the gaze, the bar between us looking and her, stands with arms open, the reflection, gives us an impossible reflection, can’t avoid the females behind, allows us to see her from two viewing positions at once, gentlemen who speaks to her in the reflection is us the auidence looking at her, reflection also represents Paris society at the time, woman is portrayed and returns out gaze is not there to be looked at

Jeff Wall - Picture for woman imitates this technique in his painting, the studio is reflected in the mirror, doubling of the gaze, gazes returned from the woman in the image and also the gaze of the camera, doubling reflected in the composition of the image, walls and ceiling draws us into the photograph, most photographs make us feel were in the third wall, but this shot is about the return of the gaze

In contemporary advertising, Coward R, 1984. Woman placed in the street, semi naked figure in the street, unaware and unnoticed in the city, without acknowledgement by the people of the city, repeated in billboards, normalization of nudity in the street where is goes unnoticed, we not consciously take not of these images, but women do. Devices used to prevent the return of the look - glasses no challenge to us looking at her and she can’t look at us through the sunglasses, free to look.

Eva Herzigova - hello boys, traffic stopping campaign, figure looking down on us, normalization of nudity in the street, comedy of the line ‘hello boys; also lightens the implication.

Coward R, peeping tom 1960 - a guy who spies on women, system where he looks at women when they are undressing, his voyeurism leads him to murder, seek the image of the woman as he kills her, films her death. The profusion of images which characterizes contemporary society could be seen as an obsessive distancing of women… a form of voyeurism (Peeping Tom, 1960)

Also are pictures of men depicted in this way, the same treatment is not give to the image of males, it doesn’t challenge the gaze, examples of male body treated this way but more of women this way than of men presented in this way, only found 60 examples versus millions of women presented in this way

DG ad of men, males body in an active manner whereas women repented in a passive manner, all of the men are looking back at you, a challenge to the gaze, they are aware and allowing you to look at them

Marilyn - ‘The Seven Year Itch’ , how film breaks the body into pieces within films, dismantled

Pleasure involved in looking at other people figures in a sexual way, the movie allows you to look, creates a perfect voyeuristic environment, cinema allows for objectification of the female body an ideal ego seen on screen, in society an active male and passive female

Lara craft however represents an active female and not a passive, men often lead the story on 50, 60’s cinema, men drive the narrative therefore women don’t drive it forward, but Lara croft still a visual spectacle and sexualised, driving character but still sexualised,

Cindy Sherman challenging the idea of the gaze, her work not made from theories of the gaze, valid to read them in the light of the theory of the gaze. Reclining the female, turned the image around like the Opium advert, not looking at the body but looking at her face, there to challenge the norm, doesn’t allow us to look at her unchallenged, no reflection for us, not caught her looking at herself, Sherman work interrupts the gaze because were not quite sure where to look, awkwardly placed on the chin, not natural, associated with staged photography, she enacts the role not a natural snapshot. The body not positioned in a sexual way.

Barbara Kruger - is addressing the gaze, image and text, found imagery, collaged into the image, turning away from the female gaze

Sarah Lucas eating a banana, innocent eating a banana, but produces a sexual connotation because of how a banana looks, gives us a confrontational look

Sarah Lucas fried eggs - reference to the boobs and how small breasts are referred to as fried eggs

Tracey Emin - money photo stuffing money inside her, how money devalues art, vulgar to make money from your art, her work self referential, and criticism of her own work.

The idea that women are natural liars has a long pedigree. The key document in this centuries-long tradition is the notorious witch-hunter's manual, the Malleus Maleficarum or The Hammer of Witches, which was commissioned by Pope Innocent VIII. The book was written by two Dominican monks and published in 1486. It unleashed a flood of irrational beliefs about women's "dual" nature. "A woman is beautiful to look upon, contaminating to the touch, and deadly to keep," the authors warned. They also claimed that "all witchcraft comes from carnal lust, which is in women insatiable".

It's not difficult to see these myths lurking behind Pacelli's description of Knox: "She was a diabolical, satantic, demonic she-devil. She was muddy on the outside and dirty on the inside. She has two souls, the clean one you see before you and the other." The lawyer's claim that she was motivated by "lust" could have come straight from the Malleus, which insists that women are more "carnal" than men.

The gaze in the media - Amanda Knox - killing leeds uni student in Italy, Joan smith is looking at how she is described in court, implication that young woman is a witch - reference to ancient witch trials, distrust of women

The Daily Mail has emerged as the major fall guy by mistakenly publishing the wrong online version of the Amanda Knox verdict.

Knox won her appeal, but the paper's website initially carried a story headlined "Guilty: Amanda Knox looks stunned as appeal against murder conviction is rejected.”

The Mail was not the only British news outlet to make the error. The Sun and Sky News did it too and yes - hands up here - so did The Guardian in its live blog.

It would appear that a false translation of the judge's summing up caused the problem, leading to papers jumping the gun.

So why has the Mail suffered the greatest flak? In time-honoured fashion, echoing the hot metal days of Fleet Street, it prepared a story lest the verdict go the other way.

But it over-egged the pudding by inventing "colour" that purported to reveal Knox's reaction along with the responses of people in the court room.

It even included quotes from prosecutors that were, self-evidently, totally fake.

In other words, by publishing its standby story, the Mail exposed itself as guilty of fabrication.
Photographs often used to misrepresent , looking stunned, but her expression is actually neutral, headline to implicate the image, they actually published the wrong article

Papers jumping the gun, media crafting there own story, the media decide on the portrayal of people in the public eye

Social networking portrayal of the body, image circulating Facebook no one knows where they come from, no author, but images with strong connotations. The lacking imperfect female pre teen body

Susan Sontag - 'To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed'

Paparazzi, desire for images of celebs when they aren't looking great or when they do look great, need for following images of celebs, a need, we are implicit in this, a demand for this imagery, we don’t just consume the images passively

Obsessive voyeurism, reality TV, popularity, on one level has no particular meaning but it gives us a false experience of voyeurism, offers us a position and power of the gaze, voting gives us the power to control something in real life, a very passive consumption of a constructed reality and edited version of reality, everything we see is mediated, also the contestants of are aware of there represents, can’t be truly realistic

Big brother offers the male and the female body to look at, the chair, shot always knees to head

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