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OUGD501: Context of Practice 2 - STUDY TASK 4 // The Gaze and the Media

Choosing one example of media, analyse femininity/masculinity using 5 quotes from the text 'The Look.' 

The advertisement depicted above is from the 'Lynx' (Axe) Range, with the added caption 'can she make you lose control?' With the model in the advert, wearing very little whilst removing a turkey from a very 1970's oven. At a glance, you would assume that the body spray would become the bridge between your normal lonely self, to a life with this model, who doesn't wear any clothes, and cooks you dinner. This type of advert appeals to men, giving them almost some sort of beneficial security in their lives. This is supported by Coward, R. in 'The Look', 'marriage, for instance often operates to secure women's labour and reproductive capacity to the advantage of men.' (Coward, 2000, P35) The man is gaining a large amount from this fantasy, which the advert creates. Not to avoid the more obvious point, the advert is designed to be sexy; you will be having sex with this woman. Coward supports this with 'sex-at-a-distance is the only complete secure relation which men can have with women. Perhaps other forms of contact are too unsettling.' (Coward, 2000, P34) Coward refers to the fantasy of sex, but not only that, the availability, the lack of rejection one would be apposed with when encountering a woman. An unrealistic structured ideal where the male audience do not lose out. 

If you think about this image, the camera being an extension of the male's eye, looking at the model, a point of view shot, you'll notice the model is looking directly back at you, meeting the gaze, rather than avoiding it. Now, you could argue that she is challenging the gaze, in a strong powerful manner, making the viewer feel uncomfortable, as it would be in some ads, but this is not the case, she's looking at the male audience in an almost flirtatious manner, however you do feel she is in control, a more confident manner. As the advert would suggest, 'can she make you lose control?', Coward supports this in this writing, 'Women in the flesh, often feel embarrassed irritated or downright angered by men's persistent gaze. But not wanting to risk male attention turning to male aggression, women avert their eyes and hurry away. Those women on the billboards, though; they look back. Those fantasy women stare off the walls with a look of urgent availability.' (Coward, 2000, P34) Coward mentions if you were to look at a women with such an obtrusive gaze to which you stare upon the model in the picture, they would be offended, or even scared, however the model's confident returning gaze conveys neither of these returning emotions, and greets us with a welcoming, flirtatious gaze, almost to say 'I'm yours'. This allows the audience to look in an almost voyeuristic, sexual, lustful manner. 'Voyeurism is a way of taking sexual pleasure by looking at rather than being close to a particular object of desire, like a Peeping Tom.' (Coward, 2000, P34) The sexualisation, the desire the lust created by an ad for body spray. 

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