Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fascinating post about gendered responses to viewing nudes

I came across this link today, which was traveling across Twitter, and clicked over. From the point of view of an anthropologist, this is fascinating. Here's the opener from the article by Dr. Lisa Wade (no relation):

Last year in a post about the truism “sex sells,” I asked:

But whose sex is sold? And to who?

“If it was simply that sex sold,” I continued…

…we’d see men and women equally sexually objectified in popular culture. Instead, we see, primarily, women sold to (presumably heterosexual) men. So what are we selling, exactly, if not “sex”?

I argued that what was really being sold was men’s (presumably heterosexual) sexual subjectivity, the experience of being a person in the world who was presented with images that were for his titillation. Women do not live in the world this way.

The author then follows up with a study on male and female responses to viewing nudes. It's absolutely fascinating, and I highly encourage you to look.


  1. Interesting, thanks for the link!

  2. You're welcome, Trisha. I thought it was interesting research, very well explained.

  3. Weird, huh. To be honest, I do feel uncomfortable when I view male nudes in public [provocative ads and posters], even if I am homosexual. On the other hand, female nudes don't get a reaction out of me, because I've been subject to the sights since a very young age.

    It's truly subconscious and it starts the moment the individual is subjected to the outer world, usually at a young age and we are all bombarded with sexual images that teaches us the gender politics of the day. Boys can stop and stare, but girls can't.

  4. Thanks for commenting, Harry. It's interesting to hear your point of view - I had a comment on Facebook where someone was saying she didn't react as much to male nudes because she'd seen a lot of Greek statuary. But that would be very different to me, too, because it's not what you would call "provocative." In any case, definitely an article worth mentioning.

  5. Well, the nude shown on the magazine wasn't provocative and evoked the Greek aesthetic, but then again it's rare nowadays that the make body is revealed in a sexualized way. Even with bath cosmetic, you have a towel and usually to really go into the provocative territory, it has to be obvious that the male is nude.