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Applying a reading as a lens - Essay Example

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Professor Course Date Reading through a lens John Berger (1972) in ‘Ways of Sleeping’ joins in the discourse on nudes in European paintings, and presents his analysis of the manner in which painters have presented females in ways they consider appealing to the viewers – men…
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Download file to see previous pages Forty years on in today’s world, men can be viewed through the same lens once considered only for women; today’s ‘ideal’ spectator may be female, looking at the nudity or semi-nudity of a man. The term nudity rather than nakedness is intentionally used here in light of Berger’s reference to the dichotomy between nakedness and nudity (), wherein if a person is naked they maintain self but to be nude that person becomes an object on display for the satisfaction of others. The depiction of the male in (Fig.1) is nude not naked and is an object for the desire of women and men. I say men, because such an image would also appeal to men whose sexual preference is for other men; I say men because the same image would appeal to hegemonic men who desire the same muscled physique as that paraded in the photograph. The author of this advertisement has considered his audience, his spectators, through a very wide lens and has been able to present an image that is exhibited in such a way as to allure the largest possible number of voyeurs. He has turned a man rather than a women ‘into and object – and most particularly an object of vision: a sight’ (Berger ). His visual representation provides evidence of his way of seeing what his intended audience wants to see; in other words, in his mind, through his lens he has defined his audience. Through his lens he sees one primary audience – one that is driven by sexual desires, which by definition transgresses all boundaries of gender. While the creator of this image has determined an image of his audience, the viewer can at the same time determine a picture of the creator. As a viewer looking at this photographic advertisement, I see it as having been created by somebody that understands how human nature is driven by sexuality and that in today’s world of equality and desire for perfection, such sexuality can be enticed by a male body. If the same advertisement presented a female body the creator would more likely lose a percentage of his spectators – homosexual males. I see a creator who is astute in selection of person for the image because it is that of the famous footballer and metrosexual David Beckham, which provides additional fodder for enticement. Fig.1 Calvin Klein What is particularly worthy of mention in this advertisement is the way in which the eyes of the image are looking directly at his spectators, as if to talk without speaking, knowing they are there looking at him in the same way that for Berger men look at women. In paintings discussed by Berger too the women rarely looked out to their audience but instead looked away or down (). Another difference between this photograph and the portrayal of women in European nude paintings is that women were exposed as submissive (Berger )wherein here the connotations are far from submissive; instead we get a sense of brazen assertiveness, a kind of ‘come and get me if you dare’ impression. There seems to be a fine line between this advertisement in fact, and soft pornography and the creator is inviting his spectators to a voyeuristic screening. While the body is displayed for its audience and to appeal to the sexuality of that audience, it still has much to do with the man’s own sexuality, unlike the same picture of a female displayed in the same way. There is no attempt to provide the spectator with a sense of ownership (as was the intent of female nudes) by minimizing the man’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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