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Berger The Surveyor

Decent Essays
While articulating her claim that women have not been able to transcend the sexual meanings associated with their bodies, Entwistle does not provide us with significant insights or reasons behind this claim; John Berger's notion of the “surveyor” in Ways of Seeing helps us fill in this gap by providing us insights into the basic female psyche. In Bodies that Matter, Berger argues that there is a difference in what constitutes the social presence of a man versus that of a woman. The notion of a man's presence, he articulates, is always "external," and his power lies in "what he is capable of doing to you or for you." On the contrary, a female's social presence is rather internal, consisting of "what can and cannot be done to her." He further…show more content…
So significant are the implications of this “surveying” done by men that women have come to internalize a double conscious: that of the "surveyor" and that of the "surveyed." Hence, all of her actions are made keeping the surveyor—or the male gaze—in mind. As Berger eloquently articulates, "how she [the female] appears to others, and ultimately how she appears to men, is of crucial importance for what is normally thought of as the success of her life." In other words, her self of being is significantly impacted by how she appears to men. Thus, it follows that when dressing their bodies, women construct their bodies keeping in mind that they are on display, and are constantly being surveyed. This surveying is done not only by men, but also by the perpetual “surveyor” within them. With this knowledge of the constantly being surveyed in mind, women construct their bodies to appease the surveyor in a way that enforces conventional heterosexual gender roles. As O’Barr articulates in his study of advertisements, traditional gender roles place physical appearance and beauty central to the notion of…show more content…
Welcome to being a woman in America," concluded Jon Stewart as he ended his segment on Jenner during his Late Night Show in June 2015. While intended as non-serious concluding remarks, Stewart’s comments have profound meaning and implications upon our understanding of Jenner’s identity, and femininity, at large. In the revelation of Jenner’s new identity on the cover of Vanity Fair, Leibovitz presents Jenner and her body as sexual objects. Even at such an age, Jenner must pose as a youthful, sensual model—her body being a sexual object—in order for her to be considered a female. Jenner’s case exhibits what Entwistle has coined the perennial nature of "the sexual baggage" affiliated with a woman's body. It reflects the importance of physical beauty in the understanding and expression of femininity. Not only does an analysis of Jenner's identity through Entwistle’s ideas enable us to see how Jenner is just performing the role of a “traditional” female, but perhaps most importantly, the instantaneous reading of Jenner's identity and Entwistle lead us to draw implications upon paramount role of the appearance of the female in the being of the female, and see the somewhat stagnant perception of femininity in modern
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