Fabrizio del Wrongo writes:
Was it wise to bestow upon women the power of the selfie? So prone are they to both posing and self-admiration that I sometimes fear they’ll lose themselves in selfies the way some young men have lost themselves in video games and internet porn.
A serious question: What part does the male gaze, that great bugbear of Feminist cultural critique, play in the female selfie? Is the male gaze always there, perhaps lurking in the theoretical outskirts of the photo, like Bill Cosby standing outside the door of a sorority party? Or, as in Schrodinger’s thought experiment, is it invoked only when a heterosexual man happens to look at the image?
Since the images featured on I Shot Myself are of girls and by girls, I’m going to assume the latter. As no animals were harmed during the making of your favorite motion picture, no men were involved in the making of these images.
But for whom were the images created if not men? Okay, maybe a few gals who are really into softball subscribe to the site, but I’m guessing they’re greatly outnumbered by people with dicks. And if the girls are posing for people with dicks, it’s only a matter of time before the male gaze Cosbies his way into the discussion.
We can’t seem to escape that pesky male gaze. Maybe we don’t want to? Reasonable people can disagree, but I think there’s a lot that’s charming — even life-affirming — in the spectacle of a young woman preening for the enjoyment of men. It’s one of those acts that contributes to the texture of human experience.
For me, much of the appeal of I Shot Myself resides in the fact that its content was created without the imposition of a photographer, i.e. a mediating agent. Consequently, it communicates undiluted showoffiness and self-absorption — the very things girls are best at. And like girls themselves the photos often read as both guileless and knowingly manipulative. How is it that women embody so many contradictions? Is that why they drive us crazy?
But don’t kid yourself into believing that male gazing isn’t part of the equation. When dealing with young women, there’s never a moment when it isn’t.
Nudity below. Have a good weekend.