Is this a dilemma that we all face in the blogging-pictures-of-ourselves community—the complications and implications of the male gaze? If I am truly honest with myself, I am vain. We all are. There is unmistakably a societal pressure to be so. It is a result of visual media and celebrity. I have two photographers (three if I count the days when I have to do it myself). One of each gender. When I head out wearing ridiculous clothing and shoes to get my photo taken in public with either of them, I have the same goal in mind. I want a fabulous picture to put on my blog. I want to be a desirable object. A desirable object is the subject of the male gaze (insert applicable gender replacments for your personal sexual orientation if it isn't the boringly assumed normative one). Does this explain why there is such a difference in my emotions and comfort dependent on who my photographer is? I feel more at ease playing the fool and hamming it up with my female photographer than I do with my male. Why? They are both my dear friends. Sure, my female photographer and I go back way, way longer, but I feel I am relatively at ease with both of them. Is it because, when my photographer is male, I am more conscious of the final product as emblematic of the male gaze? I am having flashbacks to my literary studies here so you have excuse the overthinking. I find it enjoyable. There are two ironies here. One is that I believe (unsupported by evidence, just a hunch) the majority of the readers or viewers of our blogs over here in 'fashion/style' blog territory are women. But, that just starts an even more interesting debate about how conditioned women seem to be to aspire to ideals of celebrity style and sexual appeal independant of any physical male interaction in the process. The norms have been set by Hollywood, haute couture and pornography via the male gaze; we perpetuate them by aspiring to them in how we try to present ourselves. I'm finding more ironies actually, because this idealised object of the male gaze is seemingly not always what actual men find attractive. How many times have you heard men say that they aren't really into excessively skinny, over-made-up women with little-girl hairlessness? (Oh my gosh, someone stop me—this is a rant I may not be able to get off of.) Who was it that actually decided that the ideals of women that we are bombarded with, but which very few of us can attain, and which many don't find overly desirable, was the way to go?
The third irony, to get back to me, is that the more relaxed atmosphere of the female gaze/photographer produces what I usually consider to be a better shot. Don't take this as a judgement of either of my photographer's skill. The perceptions are all mine. I just think it is interesting. But maybe it also just gets back to irony number two. Does my female photographer work harder to get a shot that would be acceptable to both of us and the male gaze, while my male just thinks I look good in every shot because, in his own personal taste, he likes me just the way I am? Either way, Irene looks hotter anyway! Especially seeing as she is skinny and hairless.
Who wore it better?
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