Blog Post #2 – Ways of Seeing Episode 2

The objectification of women continues to permeate in modern society and many women participate, perhaps unwittingly, through the constant stream of sexually charged images posted on the internet and social media platforms.  The roots of this phenomenon are likely the result of centuries of psychological misogynistic undercurrents. In Berger’s BBC episode  2 of “Ways of Seeing”, he discusses European nude female paintings and their correlation to the representation of women in the 1970s. Berger, quoting Kenneth Clark, states that “Being naked is simply being without clothes” but nude is a form of art. “Ways of Seeing” ep. 2 is eye-opening and it helps us recognize why being a woman can be quite an ordeal. Women are brought up to behave in a certain way that requires approval from others particularly men. Our own thoughts and opinions are carefully curated before we can express it. Women were made to feel a sense of inadequacy and be their own worst critic because the idea of being brutally judged and ridiculed is unbearable. I believe we have more control over our image and how we are depicted in today’s trendy age of social media however women are still objectified and still targeted by the male gaze even more at present. Beauty is bound to be competitive, Berger says. Women continue to endure online bullying and harassment because of how they look and act. There are millions of women influencers on Instagram /Tiktok and it’s an overly saturated online platform to say the least. Many of them, regardless of their fortes, agree to promote their ideas or products for different reasons. Some female fitness influencers, performers, artists, models, actors and others are in fact encouraged to show more skin and explore more of themselves which is even more pleasurable to the male eye. There are a lot of support groups that work towards women empowerment and change which makes women feel less superior and fight for gender equality. Despite these gains, many challenges still remain. Women are still underrepresented in politics, science, military, etc. It is still very much a male dominated world as much as we repel this truth. It is still and continues to be a work in progress.

Woman objectifying woman

On his second episode in “Ways of Being”, Berger says how ‘woman has to survey everything she is and everything she does because how she 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.’ This is what is generally thought after analyzing the nude oil paintings on Europe before and during 19th century. But what I think is that the same phenomena continues to happen nowadays as well. During the nude painting era man were the ones to objectify woman and they were the spectators. While nowadays, I think that women are objectifying women themselves, they are the ones that pose and the one that judge, the performer and the spectator at the same time. This is seen mostly on social media like Instagram or TikTok, where woman objectify their bodies using them to have attention and to gain popularity. Before, male figure would have control on woman image and she would not even be allowed to touch her breasts because her man wouldn’t allow her. Today women claim that they have control over their bodies. On the one hand, this is true because most woman around the world are shown to have control and to express themselves how they want to. But on the other hand, i think that women don’t have that much of control over their bodies as they claim. What is controlling them today is social media. A big number of women are seen to follow role models that appear on social media. They try to copy them in a way they lose their identity. They become someone they are not. Overall, i think that this phenomena is going to be discussed for more years to come. Human nature is complex in an infinite way.


Blog post #2

Representations of women today are similar to that in Ways of Seeing, episode 2 as women are objectified in society. They are judged and harshly criticized by other women and men. However there are women who are working toward change. Women have more control over their images in the media today but some are still targeted by the male gaze trying to sculpt women into some so called perfect figure. Women nowadays are criticized for either being too skinny or large . Today women can’t take pride in their bodies, posting photos of body progress or simple photos in a dress are subject to judgement .There are many women who have put up with mean comments and “internet haters” who just want to devalue and dehumanize women. Berger talks about how men are justified for only seeing women for their beauty, and expect that woman use the tool at their disposal to attain beauty for men. When she does so, she is then considered a narcissist and therein lies the double standard. Before nude potraits were very common and didn’t mean you were scandalous and wanted sex it was just a form of expression. Today we are judged for showing our body in a Provocative way.

Blog Post #2

Think of examples that are closer to our time period. Do representations of women today, for example on Instagram or other social media, objectify them in the same or similar ways as those that Berger describes in Ways of Seeing, episode 2? Do women have more or less control over their images in the media or are they still determined by the male gaze? Does sexuality play the same role in images of women today as what Berger describes in the episode? (As you think about your answer think of specific places in the episode to respond to, and try to use techniques from They Say/I Say to formulate your response. In other words, use Berger’s analysis as a “they say.”)