In this Dolce & Gabbana ad, this woman is clearly being dominated by the men around her. One of them is on top of her restraining her as the other three gaze at her glistening body. There was obviously a deliberate reason the photographer placed three male models and only one female model in this ad. Though some may argue that this was done for artistic purposes, I believe it was intentionally made to show the inferiority women have to men. The clothes they are wearing are not what our eyes focus on but rather the positions in which the models are placed. In my opinion, this is a depiction of a rape scene. The male model on the left side towards back looks on as if what is happening is the norm and “no big deal”. The expression on the male model’s face with the purple shirt is that of shock or guilt. The male model on the right seems to be looking at the two lying down in an authoritative manner. The woman lying down appears to be struggling to break lose from her assaulter’s grip. This image is one that would appeal to the male gaze because not only is the woman being restrained and dominated but she is wearing very little clothing.
The woman in this photo is naked and tied in bondage. It is a sexualized, erotic image. Her face is not shown because to the male gazer, her face is unimportant. Her body can easily be used in a sexual way and she has no control what is happening to her because she is tied. She is able to be dominated and controlled, raped even. Whether she has been tied of her own free will or against her will she is expected to perform a specific sexualized roll and that is to “lay there and take it”. The male audience is forced to see her as an object rather than a human being because she can not control what is happening to her. If her mouth is covered, she can not even speak up for herself in this situation. Men like to see women as helpless creatures and this photo is the epitome of that idea. If this photo were of a women being held in captivity for a period of time, she would have to rely on her captor to feed her, bath her or even allow her to use the restroom. A woman bound is completely dependent and to a male viewer who admires this photo, the fact that she is dependent is ideal. Seeing this photo reminds me of Lars and The Real Girl. Lars treated Bianca as if she was his real girlfriend but in actuality she was a doll used for pleasure. She could not move nor object to any sexual act Lars might have performed on her, much like this bound woman. To many men, a woman that could not speak or object would be extremely ideal.
Images have been placed on the internet for as long as the internet has been around depicting women as warriors, soldiers, gun wielding assassins and the like. A photo like this could appeal to a variety of men. The target audience would be those who have a fondness for women in masculine roles. It is not enough that she is holding a gun but she is fully nude except for a pair of pumps. Her legs and arms are spread wide as if to say “enter”. Her body is slightly masculine and so is her face and hair cut. This relates to Judith Butler’s Gender, Sex, Desire article. She states that, “gender becomes a free-floating artifice, (when radically independent of sex)… that man and masculine might just as easily signify a female body as a male one.” To a male gazer who is attracted to say, young boys, he may find this photo appealing and see it as masculine though she is a female. This photo also says various things to a male audience. “She’s a whore.” “She likes danger.” “She likes bad boys.” This photo could be art or a high fashion but because the woman is fully nude and holding a gun with her legs and arms open versus trying to shield her body it is seen as pornography.
In this photo this woman is made to look like Barbie. Her hair, stiff posture and glistening skin are very much like the doll. The arm in the photo clearly belongs to a man. It is masculine and strong, holding a water hose to her vagina. From the view point of a man this stream of water could be seen as sperm or urine. The woman in the photo is expressionless as she is being sprayed with this hose. She is made to just stand there completely still and look perfect. This photo is not of a woman taking a shower. It is made to intentionally show the power in which the arm spraying the water on. It is unclear whether the water is hot or cold but we know if it was cold, the woman would still be expected to stand there, motionless. We as viewers do not even see the person that the arm belongs to but we know that that person is in control of the situation. Man is in control here.
Beyonce, who is usually seen as a wholesome and very classy performer, poses for this photo in which she squeezes her breasts together in a very sexual way. After seeing this picture all I could think about was, “That had to be a male photographer”. Although I, as a woman find the photo appealing, I know I was not the target audience. Beyonce and “sexpot” are not normally two concepts that would go together but this photo says otherwise. She has many female and male fans but this photo obviously targets the male audience. The caption “She’s Back” suggests that she was once this sexy goddess but became something else and maybe lost some of her sex appeal. It has become apart of our gender role. The moment we stop exposing our breasts and wearing revealing clothing we are no longer sexy. This magazine photo may be the first of many released to emphasize Beyonce’s breast or butt for the pleasure of the heterosexual male gaze. Our society is set up in a way that the women that are willing to dress in a provocative way and behave as such are more successful in media and business. An attractive woman that wears make up and tight clothing is more likely to get promoted to a higher position than a woman who is qualified but never dresses up and whose hair is always a mess. We have seen that Kim Kardashian, a woman who achieved fame through a sex tape is more widely known and popular than our own President’s wife. We live in a society controlled by men so the male gaze is a very powerful thing and because men are visual, the sexiest woman is the most succesful.
Vanessa Hudgens, star of hit show High School Musical was 17 when naked photos of her were released onto the internet. She is not the first woman to have been exposed in this way and certainly won’t be the last as it continues to be a trend in our society. Women of all nationalities and social statuses are finding that the once intimate photos they sent to their boyfriends or men they were involved with are being emailed, texted, and plastered on the internet. These photos are not released for the enjoyment of women but for the gaze of other males. These “leaked” photos are used to satisfy the fantasy and curiosity of what the bodies look like of women they might never have or never see. It is a disgusting trend but as long as it cost money to view videos and pictures of naked women, personal photos will continue to be released for male enjoyment.
Though this woman is not nude, this photo reminded me of the video we watched called Live Nude Girls Unite! While wearing this costume, this woman is expected to perform a specific sexualized role. She is not a woman named “Sheryl” or “Rachel” she has become a sexual bunny and must perform the duties involved. She may be a cocktail waitress and not a stripper but she is still expected to speak in that high sweet voice spoken about in the Live Nude Girls Unite video as well as please the customer she is serving. Her pose and facial expression signify that she recognizes the roll she is supposed to play and is enjoying doing so. Women that take on these rolls are expected to perform them as that “character” and not themselves. If this woman were a mother of five, no customer would want to hear about her problems at home and how the kids are driving her crazy, whether “How’s it going baby?” “What can I do for you tonight.” The role is about pleasing the customer and the woman performing that role may have some inappropriate things said to her or may be touched in the wrong way but she is made to accept that these are the terms of that role she is performing.