Categories
Life Love

The ‘Rite’ Of The Male Gaze

Published in the North Central Chronicle on September 28, 2007.

Imagine: John Q. Student is sitting on a bench outside the Science Center with his friend Billy. John spots a voluptuous, scantily-clad young woman walking their way and takes a long look at her behind his sunglasses. He says to Billy: “Dude, check out that chick’s…personality.”

You mean you’ve never heard that before? Well, replace “personality” with a part of the female anatomy and you’ve got what is commonly referred to as the “male gaze.” The male gaze, according to Dr. Jonathan Schroeder, “signifies a psychological relationship of power, in which the gazer is superior to the object of the gaze.”

It’s about having “the power” to look a woman up and down, see what we want to see, and then move on. Century upon century of male superiority has made this act commonplace and even encouraged. It’s considered a badge of honor within the Brotherhood of Man. But that doesn’t make it right. In fact, it’s something that needs to be changed.

Perpetual use of the male gaze degrades women to mere objects of a man’s desire – pieces of meat, essentially. When we as males check a girl out, be it mindfully or not, we’re saying to the woman: “You are only worth what I’m looking at right now.” That’s quite a message to be sending to a fellow human being.

The male gaze has in a way become a rite of passage into modern manhood. In order to impress our buddies, we have to talk about how hot a girl is or how nice her breasts are. Ladies, odds are you’ve never heard this talk before, but it’s very real. It can happen as soon as you pass a group of rambunctious guys, or as soon as you leave the room at a party, or even right before your eyes. Think Glenn Gulia in The Wedding Singer: “that’s Grade-A top-choice meat.”

The fact that the male gaze has been accepted as normal male behavior disturbs me greatly. Take a typical beer commercial for example: A man is caught checking out a good-looking woman by his girlfriend, but he just shrugs it off. His girlfriend is then forced to surrender to the notion that it’s “just a guy thing.” He will continue to size women up, and she will continue to feel powerless and undesirable. How painful.

A big reason why men utilize the Gaze is because we know women like being desired. The depth of the desire isn’t important so long as it’s desire. That could be a gross generalization, but I know for a fact that many women eat up the attention. Trust me; that attention is fleeting. Your self-esteem cannot survive on lustful looks you absorb from the guy across the room. Do you really want all the good things about you ignored simply because they’re hidden from view?

You are worth more than the looks you receive. Put your self-worth somewhere else, somewhere worthwhile. Guys are admittedly very easy to bait, but I’m challenging you to give us something more than a mini-skirt to value about you. There’s a part in every one of you that deserves to be shared with the world; I dare you to show us that part. Be a mystery that we men have to solve. Flaunt your gifts, not your G-string.

I issued a challenge the women, so I will issue one to my fellow men as well: It’s time to clean up our act. No matter how we try to justify it, the male gaze is just not cool. Just imagine seeing another guy check out your sister, or your mom. That’s no different from what you just did with that girl sitting next to you in class. The women we’re ogling are sisters and mothers as well, so let’s treat them as such. They deserve nothing less.

Categories
Love Poetry

those three words… part 2

Those words
Those three words
The end all of every phone call
The start of every time apart from you
The definition of what we are
Together apart, either one is better than before
Sitting in neutral, afraid to say more

Those words
Those three words
They flow like a wave away
Crashing on the dock of the bay
With grace and sometimes misplacement
But I’ve faced my demons of sentiment
We stared off until I won the race

They’re my own prophesy fulfilled
The heart-hole I’ve been covering
That wouldn’t stay still
The story of they’re conception:
Oscar-worthy, critical reception
But too sublime to fully realize
Too special for a TV special

Those words
Those three words
We’ve finally met, again and again
Would you meet my family and friends?
They haven’t seen us together
Now is the perfect weather
To say “I love you.”

Categories
Love Poetry

those three words…

Those words
Those three words
The bane of my existence
The thesis of the paper I’ve never written
The end of the date I never went on
The kiss goodbye I never got or gave

Those words
Those three words
They end every phone call
Every birthday card, every letter home
Except mine
I can’t send these three little words
From my head to an utterance
It’s become an inconvenience

What do they mean anyway?
I can’t be a rank sentimentalist
With every word I say
Now I’m stealing lines
From the only things that make sense to me
Where whatever they say, they mean
No ifs, ands, buts, or truths about it

Those words
Those three words
My finale, my comeuppance
The end of every well-meaning sentence
They’ve become to me a penance, a nuisance
Something I’ve unknowingly stood against
One of these days I’ll learn what love is

Categories
Life Love

weddings and radiance

Ah, weddings. The one event that guarantees complete immunity from all of the stupid, drunken things people do there. The last wedding I went to there was no alcohol, so I got to observe people in their sober states. Naturally, as a quiet observer of people, I picked up on a few things. (As there is no portal into a woman’s mind, whatever I observe is interpreted through the male mind.)

What occupied my thoughts the most was the plethora of women in attendance (not in that way, you with a dirty mind). I concluded that the most obvious and central part of a wedding is the bride; she is completely on her own orbit. The other female attendees know this and expect not to be the center of attention.

Being in this mind frame can lead to one of two general attitudes and feelings women can possess at a wedding: feeling inferior to the bride, inadequate to all those around, and simply unwilling to enjoy being single; or, knowing that you cannot, for etiquette’s sake, top the bride and instead choose to go as you are and not someone you wish you were (read: the bride.)

The women who take the first route should realize that it’s not their wedding, not yet any way. You aren’t inferior; it’s just not your time yet. Don’t get caught up in wishing it was your special day. I know that girls dream about their wedding day starting in their toddler years, but you can’t let it consume you. It’s one day. One 24-hour day full of expensive trivialities and a lot of stress, then it’s over. Then you actually get to be married.

The women who take the second route are simply radiant. They know they cannot and should not be bigger than the bride, so they become the next best thing: themselves. They enjoy the free food, fellowship and fun and don’t depress themselves by coveting a date, any date, or a significant other. This was me at the wedding. Social norms would say that it is way easier for a male to be this way than a female, and I would agree. But that doesn’t mean that women can’t buck the norm and actually think how they want to think.

I confided in a few male compatriots at the wedding about this very issue and they agreed with me wholeheartedly. We agreed that when a woman dresses to impress none other than herself, she does herself, and us, a huge favor. We aren’t necessarily looking for the lowest V-neck or most voluptuous dance moves at a wedding. I’d rather chat with a girl I know is completely sure of herself in body and spirit than dance with a girl who just wants to forget that she’s at a wedding that isn’t hers. Those girls make me look forward to my wedding day even more than I do right now. I love being single, but I know that I will love being married even more (when the time comes).

I know I’ve generalized the crap out of this observation, but again, this is what I think. Feel free to correct me.

Categories
Love Poetry

for you, Blue, wherever you are…

Hidden smiles beneath furtive glances
a fluttering heart stops any advances
for fear of reveal

The world is small today
’cause you’re the center of mine
“beautiful” doesn’t do you justice
and that terrifies me
your soft eyes define mine

The world is yours today
’cause you have what I have
you are what I have

Your deft approach
shuts me down
sends my heart burning, head spinning
“act naturally” is not an option
fumbled words create the mood
the world is alive today
and my eyes can see that truth clearly

A laugh tears down the wall
all senses are a go, overwhelmed
a scent from heaven
the touch of an angel
my soul is at ease

The world is mine today
’cause you are my world

Categories
Life Love

Desirable

This is the artistic version of the previous post. It’s a writing project I had to do for Creative Writing last year. The objective was to write a story/opinion piece/whatever in the perspective of the opposite sex. My attempt got the top prize for realism. See what you ladies think.

Sometimes I wish I were a guy. They don’t worry about their appearance as much as girls do. I hate myself for hating myself. I see the supermodels and hot actresses in perfect condition and wish I could be that attractive. It seems like I’m always too fat or too ugly to get any attention from guys. I want to be beautiful. When a guy does hit on me, even if I know it’s for the wrong reasons, I eat it up. It means he thinks I’m attractive enough, and I love that. I know it’s so shallow, but if there is one thing that can bring me out of the dumps, it’s a compliment. But sometimes I want something beyond the average compliment; I want to be called beautiful. Not ‘hot’, not ‘fine’, not even ‘sexy’. Beautiful. When you say that, you’re saying that I am desirable on a level beyond my weight, my bra size, or how good or bad I could ever perform in the bedroom. You’re saying that I am more attractive on so many more levels than any supermodel could seem to be. I want to feel desirable. I want to be the only thing you can’t stop thinking about throughout your day, the only thing in the world you want to be with.

A simple phrase can change everything. If you love me, say it. Tell me everything about me that you find desirable. As guys want to feel respected and admired, girls want to feel loved and adored. If you like the way my hair looks today, say it. Being told by a boyfriend or even a boy friend that there is something about me that he enjoys or adores lifts my self-esteem to unimaginable levels. People wonder why so many women suffer from eating disorders and the intense desire to be skinny, but I know it’s because they feel inadequate. You never know if I had just been cut down by a friend and so needed a compliment by someone who cares about me. If you love me, tell your friends about me, and do it when she’s not around. This shows that you aren’t being superficial when you’re around her and that you care for her enough to risk being sentimental around your macho buddies.

All in all I just want to be loved. I want to feel safe when I’m around you, knowing that you care enough about me to protect me. I want to be a woman worth fighting for, whose heart you are willing to risk all to defend. Your eyes should be the only mirror I will ever need.

I want to be desirable.

Categories
Life Love

a guarantee

I was walking back to my room after history class today and my conversation with my neighbor Jon took an interesting turn. He pointed out a girl on the other side of the street whom he thought to be attractive. He went on to explain that she wasn’t drop-dead gorgeous by any means, but he still felt attracted to her. I knew exactly what he meant.

When the time comes when I’m attracted to someone enough in multiple ways, I don’t necessarily want her to look like a supermodel. If I had it my way, I would be the only person in the world who felt physically attracted to her, as well as emotionally and spiritually. Basically I want her all to myself. Girls: that means that you don’t have to look like the Hollister models. Someone out there thinks you’re the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen. That’s a guarantee. Don’t forget it.