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Why Men Like to Gaze on the Female Form

Why Men Like to Gaze on the Female Form



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Published by: murattimuratti34 on Jun 23, 2009
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Why men like to gaze on the female form
 By Roger Highfield, Science Editor Last Updated: 1:49AM BST 10 May 2007Men consume more pornography than womenMen find photos of the opposite sex much more "rewarding" than women, new researchclaims today.According to the study men take the same pleasure out of looking at an attractive female formas they do from having a curry or making money whereas women do not take any significantreward from looking at pictures of men.The survey published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B said that brain scanstudies show that "reward centres" are triggered in men when they gaze at a woman's face or  body whereas they are not in females. It also shows men are more likely to make an effort toview pictures of the opposite sex and pay out money.The findings shed light on why men are much greater consumers of pornography than womenand why sales of Playboy have always exceeded those of Playgirl, according to Dr BenjaminHayden at the Centre for Neuroeconomic Studies, Duke University School of Medicine,Durham, North Carolina."One natural inference is that men are more willing to pay to see these images," he told TheDaily Telegraph.Previous research has identified several core characteristics of rewards. Economists haveshown that people tend to be impulsive, meaning they prefer rewards sooner than later, andthat they are less impulsive when rewards are bigger.This study shows that photos follow the same principles, and that more attractive photos actlike larger rewards, said Dr Hayden. Rewards also offer incentives to work harder and theycan be traded for other kinds of rewards, which is why men exchange money for pictures of naked women.The team gave 20 heterosexual men and 20 women opportunity to view non pornographic photos of members of the opposite sex and tested if money would offer as much reward, aswell as whether people would work harder on a computer to see a photo they were interestedin.Men were significantly more patient than women when choosing to view attractive femalesthan when choosing to view neutral or unattractive females."For men, the reward of seeing a woman is strongly influenced by physical attractiveness, butfor women physical attractiveness has little or no impact," said Dr Hayden.
The study of gendered representations in the cinema began in the early 1970s with MollyHaskell's
 From Reverence to Rape: the Treatment of Women in the Movies
(1974). Haskelllooks at images of women in movies made from the 1920s to the 1970s (the 1980s are
included in the second edition), mainly—but not exclusively—in Hollywood. The book'sscope is ambitious,
Representations of the feminine (Jennifer Jones and Lillian Gish) in
Duelin the Sun
(King Vidor, 1946).
 identifying major themes in American cinema such as "The flight from womenand the fight against them in their role as entrappers and civilizers" (p. 61).Haskell's critical method, which maps genres and stars historically, has beenquestioned subsequently by academic film theorists, although some of her ideas,such as the notion of star images as "two-way mirrors linking the immediate pastwith the immediate future" (p. 12), are more sophisticated than her detractorsmight suggest.
The study of images of women was crucial to the development of feminist film culture in theearly 1970s but was superseded in the feminist film theory that emerged in the middle of thatdecade by textual approaches concerned less with the manifest content of films than with theideological predispositions embedded in their syntax and in the apparatus itself. Drawing on post-structuralism, semiotics, and psychoanalysis, Claire Johnston developed a theory of cinematic representation based on an understanding of film narrative as a mythic system thatnaturalizes conventional gender relations. Within this system, the figure of woman functionsnot as a representation of female subjectivity but as the object of male desire. Thus Johnston'sremark that "despite the enormous emphasis placed on woman as spectacle in the cinema,woman as woman is largely absent" (p. 26). However, rather than calling for the production of realistic or positive images of women, she argues that the more stylized and unrealistic afilm's iconography, the more it de-naturalizes both itself and the ideology it serves. Unlikemany feminists in the 1970s, Johnston does not reject popular cinema as a "dream machine" but embraces its contradictory possibilities. In her comments on the films of Dorothy Arzner (1900–1979), one of a very few female directors in the studio system, Johnston lays claim to areflexive and critical strain within Hollywood cinema.Working within the same feminist framework, in 1975 Laura Mulvey wrote what is perhapsthe most celebrated and contentious essay in the history of film studies, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema." Mulvey's essay is also concerned with Hollywood but concentrates onlooking at relations as they are systematized by mainstream conventions. In mainstreamcinema, Mulvey contends, a gendered division of labor allies the male hero with themovement of the narrative and the female figure with its spectacle. The cinematic apparatusaligns the gaze of the spectator with that of the camera, and editing conventions subsume thelook of the camera into that of the protagonist. This system of looks assumes narcissisticidentification with the male protagonist of the narrative and voyeuristic enjoyment of thefemale object of the gaze. This enjoyment is, however, ambivalent, because of the castrationanxiety engendered by the sight of the woman. The two forms of pleasure associated with thefemale image are also defenses against this threat: sadism, which acknowledges sexualdifference and takes pleasure in investigating woman's guilt, and fetishism, which disavowssexual difference and worships woman (or a particular body part or item of clothing) as phallic substitute. Mulvey concludes her essay with a radical attack on the pleasures of mainstream cinema and calls for a cinema of "passionate detachment" in terms that stronglyevoke the materialist avant-garde and the political counter-cinema of the 1970s. This analysishas been revisited and modified by many theorists and historians, including, on severaloccasions, Mulvey herself, and from this debate film studies has developed a complexunderstanding of cinema as a social technology of gender.The initial emphasis on femininity in the study of gender in cinema clearly resulted from the political impulse to identify and work against gender inequalities. However, as Steve Neale

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