Sunday, 4 November 2012

Gaze and the media - study task 2

Set by Richard is our second study task, we were asked to select an image, film still or piece of art work that can be related to quotes from the text 'The Look', written by Rosalind Coward.
I thought the best way of understanding the relationship between the gaze and the media would be to look at imagery i am familiar with, have seen daily or subliminally i have viewed and often misconstrued.
Here is a beach wear advertisement campaign produced by Dolce and Gabbana, i believe this image is a good example to argue against and perhaps for what society often judges to be the 'ideal image' showing men have an empowered control over women considering visual culture is often produced by men. I will discuss how the sexualization in the image may be depicted more that the brand of clothing it is promoting.


Dolce and Gabbana are widely know to be an Italian Luxury Fashion House. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are the two designers who initiated the company, a description of their brand is ''haut hippy dom''. D&G have had a few accounts of controversy due to their advertisement methods, often portraying women in their ads as a sexual object of desire, controlled and out numbered by males, or as a puppet of obedience. 
The image above suggests other wise, there is an alternated dominance role within the visual regime. The female is seen as the figure of empowerment, being obeyed by her male companion as he kneels to the floor below her elongated and sexually confident posture, the pair are practically naked which suggests an uncanny amount of sexual tension between the male and female and not so much the purpose of the ad being 'beachwear'. "Sex at a distance is the only complete secure relation which men can have with women". The obvious sex appeal, keen nudity and fantastical desires show in this image is what plants seeds in the viewers mind about the very thoughts they may ponder about when confronted with overly sexual imagery repetitively. ''The dominance of the visual regime has been augmented by the media surrounding us. Film, photography and television all offer forms of entertainment and communication based on the circulation of visual images, on the sale of the images and the techniques of mechanical reproduction and the technology of visual recording, Western culture has become obsessed with looking and recording images of what is seen''. As stated in the quote above the obsession with visual imagery, recordings and mass reproduction is also depicted in the ad; the set of the photo-shoot suggests that there is a multi media production happening there and then, a matter of photography, filming and film stills shown on television screens purposely to give an insight to the fantastical and realistic sexual cravings of modern media society. "For looking is not a neutral activity".
The idea of pornography being an element to this image could easily be indicated, the nude film stills evident in the image background, and the film camera the male is holding subtly below the female. This could imply that she is content for her body to be a sexualised object for him to enjoy visually, without giving up the rule of authority thus being her body is in her own hands and no one else's? "Women , in the flesh, often feel embarrassed, irritated or downright angered by men's persistent gaze" The female in the D&G shot is designed to be admired and desired, she looks far from embarrassed standing, being the centre of attention. Can this leave the question do all women secretly feel self-conscious and use there sexual appeal to cover up what they really feel? "Those women on the billboards, though; they look back. Those fantasy women stare off the walls with the look or urgent availability" The gaze is isn't visible in the ad between the sender and receiver, the female blinds her eyes with sunglasses and the male peers over the woman's seductive body, thus making them selves seem available for onlookers to perceive what they want to believe.

Sources:
http://www.sparksummit.com/2011/06/21/real-talk-about-really-new-research-on-the-sexualization-of-girls-2/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolce_%26_Gabbana
http://marilugyanez.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/is-it-dg-ads-or-sex-ads/

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