In the gaze of the other

"My mistress' eyes are nothing…"

Sexism, Exploitation, Celebration or Empowerment?

Two views of the female body in the gaze, society’s and men’s, from a Second Wave and Third Wave perspective are provided for your viewing and comment. Are Playboy bunnies exploited or celebrated and empowered? Should young girls grow up in a culture that reinforces reliance on their bodies for their power? Click on the words “Second Wave” and “Third Wave” above to see the vimeo and article.

Below are definition excerpts from an informative essay entitled “The Three Waves of Feminism” by Martha Rampton of Pacific University of Oregon, October 23, 2014, outlining the history of feminism in a very readable composition:

The first wave of feminism took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, emerging out of an environment of urban industrialism and liberal, socialist politics. The goal of this wave was to open up opportunities for women, with a focus on suffrage. The wave formally began at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 when 300 men and women rallied to the cause of equality for women. Elizabeth Cady Stanton (d.1902) drafted the Seneca Falls Declaration outlining the new movement’s ideology and political strategies.

The second wave began in the 1960s and continued into the 90’s. This wave unfolded in the context of the anti-war and civil rights movements and the growing self-consciousness of a variety of minority groups around the world. The New Left was on the rise, and the voice of the second wave was increasingly radical. In this phase, sexuality and reproductive rights were dominant issues, and much of the movement’s energy was focused on passing the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing social equality regardless of sex.

The third phase of feminism began in the mid-90’s and is informed by post-colonial and post-modern thinking. In this phase many constructs have been destabilized, including the notions of “universal womanhood,” body, gender, sexuality and hetreronormativity. An aspect of third phase feminism that mystifies the mothers of the earlier feminist movement is the readoption by young feminists of the very lip-stick, high-heals, and cleavage proudly exposed by low cut necklines that the first two phases of the movement identified with male oppression. Pinkfloor expressed this new position when she said; “It’s possible to have a push-up bra and a brain at the same time.”

http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/10/playboy-pinups-on-meeting-the-male-gaze.html?n_play=54497db6e4b07c050d48983d

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