Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fetishistic Scopophilia

Our modern world is one that has become increasingly globalized, due in large part to new methods of communication, mainly the Internet. The media is saturated with iconic images of mainly women and some men in a suggestive manner in order to sell a product, or even an ideology. The idea of sex and pornography has been around longer than one would think, but it was not viewed on such a large scale as the Internet. Sex and dating have become multi-million dollar industries, feeding on the human fantasy of wanting to be desired, and the fear of loneliness. 

Women have been objects of display for centuries, but there seems to be a shift of power when it pertains to whom makes the decision to use female sexuality as a means to gain monetary wealth. Women were once told how to act and dress as well as not given the same rights as men, issues that are now not a problem, yet women are still paraded around and used to sell products or ideals. It is now women who show themselves to get places, using their fierce femininity as a means for power over men. This idea of using one's body to become powerful is truly powerless power, but is a common practice in Hollywood and the media. 

This blog will be exploring the idea of fetishistic scopophilia, an idea presented by author Gillian Rose. Fetishistic scopophilia can be interpreted many ways, according to Gillian rose in her book about visual methodologies is:

This is when the female figure is represented simply as a beautiful object of display (her objectification shows how voyeurism and this kind of fetishism can overlap). Again, this is a mode of representation directed both at the hero of the film and at the male spectator: she is on display for both of them. Her beauty is so overwhelming, often pictured in huge close-ups, so perfect, that the threat of castration is assuaged as she is turned into a reassuring object in an intimate relation to the spectator... 'the woman's beauty, her very desirability, becomes a function of certain practices of imaging- framing, lighting, camera movement, angle. She is thus... more closely associated with the surface of the image than its illusory depths (Rose p.118)


When a “castrated” woman is shown in a narrative cinema as a beautiful object displayed for the hero of the film and for the male viewer. She is no doubt beautiful and perfect in every socially acceptable way, and she becomes a reassuring sexual object of desire. This voyeuristic and fetishistic way of showing women has been socially acceptable for ages. This objectification is usually done in three main ways: lighting, framing, and camera angle or movement.

            Fetishistic scopophilia as it will be interpreted in this exploration is the exploitation of women for profit or as a means of using their sexuality to draw the male viewer into a scenario. The “male gaze” used to be directed by men, largely in part due to the fact that women were not allowed to have rights or retain their own sense of property or wealth, and were truly at the mercy to the male population of their generation.

            If one considers and compares the clips of female exploitation of the past versus the mass exploitation of today, it is shocking to realize that women are no longer powerless, but in fact have acquired a sense of power from this self exploitation, using their sexuality as a tool for personal monetary gain, power, respect, and self confidence. Though they are “on top” in their own minds one must wonder if their actions really give them power, or if nothing has changed, and they have just become equal participants in this circus, allowing themselves to be swayed at a young age that it is necessary to exploit one’s sexuality to get anywhere in the world.

The growing trend of peeping tom websites, as well as cam girl websites is an ever growing trend and industry.  lonelygirl15, is a corporation with hired actors who look underage but are innately sexy for being "so young". Examples of this cam girl activity can be watched on YouTube... girls who cater straight to male fans for attention. At what cost is this done? Women are sectioning themselves off in an attempts to make themselves feel sexier or raise their self confidence. Personally, I would rather use my mind as a resource rather than my body, but to each their own. 


My documentary:

http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=Xryhiw3HjnwLonely Girl 15: http://www.lg15.com/lonelygirl15/?p=516

CAM GIRLhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVjZVxhrlVk