Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Averting Berger's Gaze

Assignment #8

Averting Berger's Gaze

According to John Berger, images of men and women presented to us change the way that we perceive ourselves. One only needs to look at an advertisement to see how Berger is correct, as there is no shortage of unattainable goals brought forth by such a medium. Berger has another theory, however: men are only allowed to gaze upon others, while women can only gaze upon themselves. This is questionable; as a male, I know that I have had moments where I have doubted my attractiveness, and turned my gaze inward. I also know that women are not wholly self absorbed; they desire affection from the opposite (or same) sex, and are attracted to good looks as much as any guy is. This doesn't mean that Berger's theory doesn't carry weight, though.

Looking at the Calvin Klein ads, I find that they support Berger's ideas... somewhat. The need to improve oneself after seeing the perfectly sculpted and digitally altered models is almost maddening, regardless of gender. Due to the Herculean traits of the Calvin Klein models, both genders find they turn their gaze upon themselves, insecurities compounded by comparison. When presented with such a perfect representation of beauty, Berger's ideas fall away, as males aren't the only ones who "survey" and make judgments. Both genders desire attractiveness, and both are going to go to extreme measures to procure it.

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