On the heels of Amanda Hess’ defense of ogling World Cup athletes, Esther Breger contends that the BBC America sci-fi show Orphan Black “embodies that female gaze better than anything else on television right now”:
In sex scenes, the camera glances past [Tatiana] Maslany’s body to linger on beefcake abs. Sarah’s two love interests, Paul and Cal, take on the role of Bond girls – objectified eye candy who spend their time helping our heroine or betraying her. Paul is a Ken Doll, and Cal is Your L.L. Bean Boyfriend come to life. Even when she uses sex as a distraction – jumping Paul when he begins to suspect her identity last season– Sarah isn’t a femme fatale or vixen. The focus is her desire, not his. When Paul has sex with Rachel this season, he’s like a stallion at a livestock auction. She commands him to undress, inspects his body, appraises his teeth, pours him a glass of wine and won’t let him drink it.
Meanwhile, a reader squeals over the previous post:
So I’m an ardent World Cup fan, I love the game, and “explosion at the mancandy factory” is now my new favorite line! I have been struck by how HOTHOTHOT almost all of the goalkeepers have been this year. (¡OCHOA! Be still my heart! Being a soccer nerd, the fine playing just adds to the hotness exponentially) But can we talk about the man hugging??? It’s one of the most beautiful things in a sport that is full of beautiful things! Now, where are my smelling salts?
Another changes the mood:
As a straight guy who was told at a young age that I was “not cute enough to date”, I take extreme umbrage at the assumption that men do not have their self-esteem thrown for a loop based on the objectification of the male body.
The problem is that a guy who is not considered physically attractive is basically expected to “suck it up” and deal with it. We’re told to go to the gym, as if all the blame rests on the individual. No one would dare suggest such a thing about feminine beauty.
There is nothing that can be done about the inherent objectification that goes in with sexual human beings. It’s like male masturbation; anyone who says “no” on the survey is lying. However, the idea that men do not somehow suffer as a result is crazy. This should at least be acknowledged by women, or else it’s simply exercising privilege – the privilege to look at men like meat while forcefully fighting against looking at women like meat.
Another is on the same page:
Thank you for highlighting the very recent and prolific objectification of World Cup athletes. I don’t necessarily have a problem with it per se, but I do have a problem when it’s by Jezebel or other feminists outlets who self-righteously and consistently claim that women should not be judged by their bodies – but say it’s perfectly okay to do it to dudes. The obvious double standard is infuriating; how can objectifying one population be sexist and disgusting, but objectifying a different population the exact same way is perfectly kosher? That’s crap. Pick one or the other, judge or don’t judge and stick to it. I don’t care which as long as you are consistent about it.
This strongly echoes your discussion thread a while ago where women shared their stories about not being attracted to short men. Many posts were defensive about their sexual preference (i.e., that’s just who I am), but when they were challenged by a guy who said (along the lines of) if this were a bunch of guys talking about women’s weight or bust size they would be called misogynists. The very next poster said “as they should be.” I think it’s this point that you say “and the beat goes on!”