Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

How do we balance male gaze? More shirtless men?

Having a cold in Vegas the other week meant a bit more aimless gazing out of the window than usual (instead of charging at speed from place to place). So I was looking at the Hooters casino , which is certainly not the only place to objectify women for the male gaze in Vegas and I was thinking how I have no problem with topless and naked women, I just don't like it institutionalized as a chain. But then I started thinking, how about - institutionalizing the female gaze in the same way rather than being serious and humorless and all the other things feminism is called when it sounds strident and pushy (or authoritative as you'd call a male equivalent). How about a chain of Shirtless Man bars? (I almost said salad bars; how controlled the female appetite is supposed to be, slimming salads rather than rare steak...) Vegas already Stripper Circus with five hunks and one girl, or the campy muscular Thunder From Down Under, now branded as Ladies Night Outback, but that's so much more special occasion, so much less universal and pervasive than a neighborhood bar.

But shirtless man already has an association; Abercrombie and Crotch, as I call it. A gay icon which is still the male gaze, just gazing at men who gaze back with interest. Awesome but not men displayed for the female gaze in the same "have them oiled and sent to my tent" fashion.

Objectifying? Yep. Objectionable? Well, sauce for the gander and all that. Maybe if we normalize female gaze as we've normalized male gaze for decades (centuries probably), after a while it becomes marginal on both sides and we can get on with respecting the other gender as people as well as gazing at them with interest from time to time?

Tags: rant

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