Archive for June, 2011

The Other Scarlett

Posted: June 30, 2011 in Desire

someone said everything was getting too ‘male/metrosexual’ round here.

So here is a woman, an object of desire of mine.

Not so much Scarlett on her own, as her character in Lost in Translation.

I loved that film.



There is this trick (you will have played it on yourself) where a writer writes something very personal and somehow manages to convince him/herself that on finishing it, it will magically turn into just another book. That is detached from the personal things it refers to. But that is the point when it becomes even more personal. How do we manage to pull that one on ourselves?

And there is another trick. This one is where I convinced myself that finishing the story would mean the story would be finished. It feels like now, it has only just begun.

Quel con!

I could not keep my patient QRG readers waiting any longer. So here is the first of three-parts of Foucault’s Daughter, aka Scribbling On Foucault’s Walls.

It is available FREE on smashwords:

I am busy trying to get an e-publisher at the moment, so if I am successful the whole novel/la (it is quite short for a novel) will be available to buy online soon!

Thanks everyone for your interest in this project. A reader is a valuable, and sometimes a dangerously powerful thing! As Foucault’s Daughter knows all too well…

This is Kitty’s comment in full from the previous post below. I have added some notes in response in bold. Anyone else got anything to say on it?

‘Theory does turn me on. And it turns on a lot of my friends.

QRG, I’ve seen that you’e had this argument with other people doing similar projects for at least a year now. As those projects have also moved on and become more successful, my guess is that there’s a market for it. So regardless of whether or not the theory fits that, people *are* buying it more and more, which would suggest there is a niche there that people don’t feel is being met elsewhere. How do you account for that?

First I’d like to see the evidence of the ‘success’ of these projects as people measure success in different ways. If you mean bottom line profits then I’d like to see people’s annual reports.  Or at least numbers of copies of magazines/films sold, by gender of the consumer. Also I would say that just because women buy more porn, that you and people you know market ‘to women’ does not mean there is a ‘female gaze’. Men buy porn and I do not think there is a ‘male gaze’. So the theory is not relational to porn consumption but to how we interpret how people look at each other (and themselves).

The world I live in, especially now, in Oakland, California, is definitely dominated by half-naked women. It’s on our TV screens (Jersey Shore, Real Housewives, Kardashians, America’s Next Top Model, Project Runway, Sopranos reruns, Mad Men- I think True Blood is really the one equal opportunity objectifier). It’s in our magazines and newspapers- looking in the back pages there’s maybe 1 ad with a male for every 20 with females. It’s on book covers at the publisher I work for. It’s in the popup ads my computer blocks. I’d be happy to do a photojournal for a week to show what I mean, if you need that. There’s the occasional sexualized Black male body, say, for an album release, where they look tough and angry- female album covers show them being available and seductive. Sure, there’s Bieber, and for every Bieber there’s a Miley, Jasmine, Taylor, Brittney, Christina, Jessica, etc.

Yes please do a photo journal Kitty. All evidence is good in my book.

I disagree about Jersey Shore and Mad Men which I think are all about Mikey Sorrentino and John Hamm. I don’t even watch them and I know all about those to men and what they look like.  They are the ‘stars’ of those shows. Mikey S has launched a whole brand of his male objectification based on his GTL mantra. It is all in Metrosexy! If you look at e.g. sports pages and sports advertisements you will see men’s bodies objectified more than women’s. In The Times newspaper I counted about 14 images of men to 6 of women in objectified situations recently. It depends how you categorise ‘objectification’. Look at the pic on this post – yes it is on a gay magazine, but the boyband, Blue, are not gay. They are happily showing their bodies for a mainly male audience. I don’t see how you can ignore that!

I watch a lot of porn. A lot. I do a lot of reviews. I do notice that almost all of the time, the camera is on the woman’s body, leaving a disembodied dick plowing into her. Male attractiveness in “heterosexual” porn isn’t seen as that important (starting to among some producers, mostly female ones, like Anna Span) but female attractiveness is compulsory. If, as a woman, you are not stereotypically attractive (slender, white, blonde, mildly or not tattooed, femme), you are far more likely to be humiliated, insulted, and treated roughly. Why is that, do you think?

If you see disembodied dicks, doesn’t that suggest the man is being more objectified than the woman? Reduced to a dick? And who watches the most straight porn? Men. So they are watching those dicks intently. This suggests to me their gaze is pretty queer.

Another interesting area is fancy dress, where women get multiple versions of “slutty fill in the blank”, and men get costumes that are scary or silly. If they wear something sexualized, fancy dress or underwear-wise, it will either be from a gay male shop or it’ll be a humorous novelty item. Men being sexy or seen naked (particularly if they’re heterosexual-identified) is often seen in media as hilarious. It’s a punch line.

men being sexy or naked is hilarious? 

I’m more interested in gathering data and asking questions than I am in declaring “this is what a female gaze is”. I’m more into “this is what a female gaze can be”. I’m interested to read more about the male gaze, too, to compare- if you are male-identified, is your gaze male no matter what?

I’m guessing you equally argue that the male gaze doesn’t exist, right? Maybe I’m wrong but I haven’t seen you mention the male gaze at all really, except in passing. Almost all this debate and discussion seems to center around the female gaze. I’m all for a queer gaze, but no, I disagree that *all* people have it. Perhaps there’s ways in which a homoerotic gaze is more common, but it’s certainly still stigmatized.

Yes I don’t believe there is a male gaze. But your project is about the ‘female gaze’ so that is what I was arguing with. I do not know any projects focussing on the ‘male gaze’. Obviously you think all porn is focussed on the ‘male gaze’. But if it is I’d say that gaze likes to gaze at cock as much as if not more than anything else.

I do believe that people who identify as male tend to (not all, but many if not most) look at different things for pleasure (and with different intentions) than people who identify as female. I went to the presentation of first findings and it did support my understanding that, at least culturally, there tends to be a different response and intention around the consumption of pornography between those two genders. I don’t believe in a gender binary, I believe in a spectrum (maybe even more complicated than that, but spectrum works for now) or a bell curve. I’ve said that a lot, but you do tend to ignore it’

You say you don’t believe in a gender binary, but you think people who identify as male like looking at different things to people who identify as female? That is a binary. You said ‘two genders’. Two = bi= binary.

QRG has been getting into a spot of bother-again-about the ‘female gaze’ again! This time by arguing with Kitty Stryker, who has recently set up the Andro Aperture Project.

This is what she says about the project (emphasis mine):

‘Andro-Aperture is a mini-crusade for the appreciation of male beauty in all its forms- sexy men,sexy male, and sexy trans-masculine bodies of all kinds. There aren’t enough images shot for female appreciation, so I want to explore and discuss what defines (and defies) a female gaze.

I want to celebrate the diversity of the erotic male body- encouraging more sexy photos of male-identified people of different ethnicities, body sizes, ages, hairiness, and abilities.

I want to challenge the knee jerk reaction that “female bodies are just more attractive”.

And really, I just want hot porn to jerk off to.’

I have said before I don’t think there is such a thing as a female or male gaze. I have said it in relation to my problems with distinguishing between ‘female’ and ‘male’ in the first place  here:

and here:

and I have agreed with Mark Simpson when he has said it (in not so many words. He takes it as a given, that the main ‘gaze’ in contemporary visual culture, is ‘metrosexual’ or maybe seen another way, ‘Transexy’) here:


and here:


But to take Kitty’s own words on the subject:

There aren’t enough images shot for female appreciation, so I want to explore and discuss what defines (and defies) a female gaze.

I do not agree with this statement. I think it involves a number of reductionist positions. The first is that ‘men’ and ‘women’ are two distinct groups in a gender binary. The second is that those two distinct groups like to look at different things for pleasure. The third is not articulated but it is that the ‘female gaze’ in this context is ‘heterosexual’ – men being looked at by women for the women’s heterosexual pleasure.

Kitty says she wants to discuss and explore what ‘defines’ the female gaze but when I have tried to do this, she and her readers have suggested I am disrupting their project. But she has not discussed, explored or defined it. She has just said it exists and needs catering for by commercial pornography. I do not even know what defines a ‘female’ so how can I know what defines a ‘female gaze’?

She also says

I want to challenge the knee jerk reaction that “female bodies are just more attractive”.

I do not know who has this reaction. Wherever I look I am surrounded by images of male bodies. In The Times newspaper, on Wimbledon TV coverage, on buses, in magazines, on adverts, in the park. The world I see before my very eyes is saying to me that ‘male bodies are as attractive if not more than female bodies’. And that men demand to be looked at, by anyone, and that we notice them looking at us, looking at them, looking at themselves!

So I think Kitty’s project is based on a number of false premises.

I will write more soon I  just wanted to kick off my side of the debate in my own ‘space’ as I am not getting very far in her side of town. This person has summed up my objections very well indeed:

Nietzsche Was Right

Posted: June 27, 2011 in Identity, Writing
Tags: , ,

When a woman has scholarly inclinations there is usually something wrong with her sexually. Sterility itself disposes one toward a certain masculinity of taste; for man is, if I may say so, “the sterile animal.” -Nietzsche

(photo via @rachaelewilliams)

Disembodied Limbs

Posted: June 26, 2011 in Porn

I can’t get this image out of my head. I keep going back to it to try and work out what the guy is holding. My perverse imagination has decided it is part of a body the delicious model has recently dismembered.

Any other ideas?