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Through a Man’s Eyes

May 7, 2007

Everyone knows about the much talked about kiss at the VMAs between Madonna and Christina.  In a January 2004 interview with ZOO magazine, Christina said, “I love experimenting with my sexuality.  If that means girls then so be it.  It would be wrong to hide this side of my personality.”  Later on in the interview, she also says, “I have casual sex, I love casual sex.”

The kiss could easily be seen as a publicity stunt, but it puts two women who are both strong and sexual, together.  Madonna was a major sexual icon expecially during the nineties. 

After reading this NY Times article off of the Girl Power blog, I had to bring up the infamous VMAs kiss and what it could mean for girl power.  In the article, Jennifer Egan discusses Ariel Levy’s argument in her book, “Female Chauvinist Pigs.”  Levy argues that young girls are using their sexuality for the ego boost of male excitement and the notoriety that follows.  So was this broadcasted kiss between Christina and Madonna done to get excitement from the men?  Are they gaining power for what they provoke in their male viewers?  On another level, is there power in being bad (or notorious)? 

But I think the bigger problem to look at is how women are viewing themselves.  Towards the end of the article, Egan brings in John Berger’s book, “Ways of Seeing,” into her argument.  She quotes a piece of Berger’s writing: “Men look at women.  Women watch themselves being looked at…The surveyor of woman in herself is male: the surveyed female.  Thus she turns herself into an object.” If this is true, then women are always seeing themselves through men, and this means that somehow women have lost a kind of independence from men.  Consequently, this brings a new dimension to girl power; is “girl power” therefore a concept/movement defined by men?  The focus point then of girl power could mean it was created by women who are inevitably seeing themselves as the surveyed female, and knowing that they are watched, they use the male gaze to gain power.  However, Berger is also claiming that women are naturally turning themselves into objects subjected to the male gaze.  Could this possibly mean that women can not carve separate identities from men in a world that has constantly put women under males?

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