(NOTE TO THE READER: SOME PUNS ARE INTENTIONAL. OTHERS AR NOT SAID THE PIRATE)
There is no better person than me to explore the male gaze because we share initials. MG. Myriam Gurba. Male gaze. Male gays. Mail gaze. (I once dated a mailman. He had a hardcore male gaze. He told me if I ever cut my hair short he would stop talking to me. I totally Ruby Rosed my hair and now he no longer calls me his slot).
Laura Mulvey developed and pioneered, or pionerded, the theory of the male gaze through her piece “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.” When I encountered her work in a Women’s Studies circa 199something, I was like holy shit. This is legit. This is real. THIS IS WHAT MEN DO TO MY BUTT.
Don’t want none unless u got puns Hun.
In a portion of the essay tit led WOMAN AS IMAGE, MAN AS BEARER OF THE LOOK, Mulvey writes, “In a world ordered by sexual imbalance, pleasure in looking has been split between active/male and passive/female. The determining male gaze projects its phantasy on to the female figure which is styled accordingly. In their traditional exhibitionistic role, women are simultaneously looked at and displayed, with their appearances coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that they can be said to connote to-be-looked-at-ness. Women displayed as sexual object is the leit-motiff of erotic spectacle: from pin-ups to strip-tease, from Ziegfeld to Busby Berkeley, she holds the look, plays to and signifies male desire…The presence of woman is an indispensable element of spectacle in normative film, yet her visual presence tends to work against the development of a storyline,” LOL “to freeze the flow of action in moments of erotic contemplation. This ALIEN presence then has to be integrated into cohesion with the narrative.”
For reasons I’ll discuss in future posts, I’m super into wanting to understand how the male gaze works. I want to explore it, as colonists are wont to do, and I want to conquer it through acts of reverse colonialism. Retrograde colonialism. You know what I mean?
So, 4 starters, what qualifies me to for this feat?
Mostly, the fact that I’m human.
Secondly, I’m a cisgendered broad, which isn’t a qualification but a location. A place. An address. My body is an address. Like the Oval Office. In terms of place, I am also fairly femmey but have a tomboyish streak so you could say I’m a tomboy femme or femme tomboy of sorts. In terms of genetic inheritance, I yam as American as they cum. Meaning that I’m not all white. I’m mixed. I’m Mexican and Polish, European + indigenous, probably via a lot of ancient rape. World history = #ancientrape.
I’m likely about half Chichimeca. That’s a Mexican Indian tribe. They were the bustiest of all the Mesoamericans.
My body, or rather, the manipulation of my body through image and organic performance is what I’m using and will be using to conduct this male gazey project which I’m calling American Object. I would’ve called it American Horror Story but that’s already taken.
Another place where I live is youngish. I’m not as fresh as I was in my twenties but I have the privilege of a certain amount of youth, symmetry, and able-bodiedness. My impending forties are a big motivator for this project, I want to use my body artistically in ways that I won’t be able to later so a bitch must take advantage of a closing window. As Hannah Wilke once said, I think, even the gurgeous die.
I’ll be referencing Wilke and a buttload of other feminist artists, theorists, critics, poets, writers, and intellectuals as I carry out American Object. My adventures have already proven to be painful, fun, disturbing, and, at times, oddly expensive. They have taken me to Target dressing rooms, lingerie shops, and the most heteronormative corners of the internet.
Please join me in this stupid journey.