Daniel Frampton: What’s so wrong about men looking at women?

Laura McVey and Paul Harrison, both academics, recently co-authored an article responding to Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ campaign, which encourages women to be more active. According to Harrison (resident white knight at Deakin University, Australia) and his colleague McVey, this ‘campaign of empowerment’ is really ‘one of sexual subjectification . . . an example of the continuing power of hegemonic discipline over women’s bodies . . . depicting women and the world from a male point of view’. Yes, the ‘male gaze’ has struck again.

There is some substance to the claim that women are becoming increasingly hypersexualised. In the video advertisement ‘This Girl Can – what about you?’ there is a brief jiggling of the booty that McVey and Harrison dub ‘simulated hypersexuality’. I might be an innocent pup from the provinces, but I don’t find ‘twerking’ in any way sexy. It is also worth noting, however, that such displays are a product of a ghetto culture almost entirely bereft of fathers. Nevertheless, the suggestion that Sport England’s campaign underscores the iniquity of the male gaze is palpably absurd.

During times of universal inanity, telling the truth – that women are, you know, sort of hot – has become a revolutionary act. It’s no real secret that men are generally attracted to athletic young women in sports bras. Men like healthy women, which is simply another way of saying that nature necessarily holds fertility in high regard. It’s almost as if men are designed to fancy women. It’s not so much a pursuit as a higher calling.

The male gaze is a common feminist trope founded, as it only can be, on misandry. It is decidedly inhuman, reproaching men for behaviour which is essentially innate. The so-called ‘objectification’ of women is a particularly nonsensical concern. Imagine walking along Oxford Street past any number of designer Venuses sauntering towards Marble Arch in their tight denim jeans, each leaving an appetising aroma of soft citrus in her wake. The only conceivable way of not reducing them to mere appearance would be to engage every one of them in deep conversation. It would be an exercise in insanity. And I’m not nearly charming or handsome enough to pull it off.

I do not subscribe to the materialist proposition that we are the sum total of our own biology. We are also spiritual creatures, in the sense that we are capable of appreciating beautiful things for their own sake. In particular, it is the male gaze that we have to thank for much of the tradition of Western art, which has for centuries dedicated itself to the elevation of the female body.

Diego Velázquez’s Rokeby Venus, boasting a pair of the most prepossessing and glamorous buttocks in Christendom, is a feminist’s worst nightmare. Housed in the National Gallery, this was the painting slashed in 1914 by the suffragette Mary Richardson in protest at the arrest of Emmeline Pankhurst. Richardson would later claim that she did not like the way lustful men ‘gaped’ all day at Venus’s peachy derrière.

There is a sense, which Velázquez clearly intended, that Venus, her face reflected in Cupid’s mirror, catches you in your voyeuristic glee. Such nudes were often commissioned as a sort of sexual preliminary for naughty 17th century aristocrats after they had retired to their chambers with a bottle of fine wine and a silken handkerchief. Interestingly, the Spanish Inquisition enforced strict rules prohibiting such expedients as the Rokeby Venus. There is something of a parallel here, very much puritanical, between the extreme elements of religion and the particularly disagreeable protestations of feminism today.

One of the paradoxes of modern feminism is its pronounced prudishness that actually goes against the stated goal of such adherents as McVey and Harrison, which is the ostensible ‘empowerment’ of women. A young woman’s beauty affords her a great deal of power in a free sexual market, which the West is. And if there is such a phenomenon as misogyny then surely it is this imbalance of power that is at its root. One need not go much further than Samuel Johnson’s instructive witticism in 1763 that ‘nature has given women so much power that the law has very wisely given them little’.

The great irony in all of this is that feminism is now in the business of undermining the power dynamic that has served women so well throughout the centuries in the West. This is after feminism brought about the conditions of divorce and fatherless homes which arguably made for the hypersexualising of women that McVey and Harrison now oppose. In other words, feminism, being fundamentally irrational and reactionary, provokes itself on to further extremes. This may also explain its hitherto inexplicable lack of a critique of the repressive elements within Islam, which it might on some unconscious level, I daresay, sympathise with.

(Image: Igor Borodin/Shutterstock.com)
Daniel Frampton

  • Harley Quin

    A pretty girl has the world at her feet. Or under it.

    Pretty or not, as Thackeray observed, ‘a woman with fair opportunities, and without a positive hump, may marry whom she likes’.

    Yes, a woman has immense power over men, if she wants to use it.

    Human beings are visual animals. It’s the way we are made. Denying that is to deny our natures.

    But leftism thinks that our natures can be changed 180 degrees, rather than channelled and controlled. ie that millions of years of evolution can be magicked away with a wave of an ideological wand.

    Which just goes to show how fatuous and dangerous this dim ideology really is,

    • FreedomFirst

      A woman only has immense power over a man IF he is foolish enough to give it to her or if he chooses to not to empower himself over time.

    • Makes one wonder why they say they believe in evolution. They try so hard to deny it.

    • Neptus 9

      Women actually believe in magic and can’t distinguish words from reality.

  • J M

    The only time I’ll stop looking at and admiring beautiful ladies is when I am in my box, and perhaps not even then! I can’t help it. The female body is a thing of beauty.

  • Nothing whatsoever – it’s human nature.

    Of course the lefties wouldn’t care less if it were women starting at men, but the other way around and they all get their knickers in a twist.

    • john widmer

      Yes. its human nature to be sexual and want to have sex with others pretty much constantly. Its social restrictions that tamp down this natural urge.

  • Colkitto03

    My son (early twenties) works in a small village supermarket. A couple of weeks ago on the Friday night shift, he was working on the till. He is tall with naturally curly hair. While serving two very tipsy young women, he bent forward to put money in the till. At that point one of the women leaned right forward, uninvited, and ruffled his hair with her hand while saying ‘woooo”.

    I wonder how a feminist would view this?

    • Craig Martin

      Oh, it’s sexual assault without a doubt.
      Those two predators should be arrested and jailed for a very long time.

      Ah, but they were women, so they were simply expressing their hatred of Patriarchy.

  • The Duke of Umberland, England

    ‘A young woman’s beauty affords her a great deal of power in a free sexual market, which the West is.’

    On the one-hand feminists want equality with men – so they use abortion as an instrument to achieve parity. On the other-hand, abortion is convenient for men – as it relieves them of responsibility – to hook up with the next woman.

    Women then wonder why they are spinsters in their forties as their beauty degrades. (not so free the sexual market then).

    The power of their eros has an inherent weakness; it demands inequality in the bedroom: for the act of consummation to be successful.

    The goal of equality for women; has in the long-run made them more unequal compared to men.

    Somewhere along the line, men and women have lost sight of complementarity and replaced it with the inequality of feminism.

  • Jonathan Tedd

    I adore women, totally and utterly. It’s such a shame that our culture is so sluttish now. No coquettish flirting..more semi naked tattooed and pierced land whales. God girls were sexy back in the 80s..all good figures and not the promiscuity now it seems.

    Can a feminist explain “free the nipple” campaign I mean I’m not complaining (notwithstaning comments above)?

    • Harley Quin

      It’s what’s concealed, not what’s revealed, that interests.

      • The Duke of Umberland, England

        Aye!

        A well-dressed woman, presents endless possibilities.

        • Neptus 9

          Piercings and ink are not signs of being well-dressed, either.

      • Aye!

        It’s much sexier than flaunting it all.

    • john widmer

      >80s. >Not promiscuous. Son, I am dissapointed in you. You speak of an era you don’t know, about a subject you don’t know. Women have always been this ‘slutty’. They just hid it behind a mask of innocence reinforced by cultural norms which stated it was offensive to pry into women’s sexuality and that they should hide it. The second of these masks has been dropped. There’s no such thing as hypersexual. There’s normal sexuality, and this is what you see when you drop the mask. Or do you think Dionysian festivals where everyone banged everyone in ancient greece, with no care for familial ties, was hypersexuality that was curbed by christianity into ‘sanity’?

      Animals want sex. The fun aspect is a cultural value that tries to deny the biological drive to procreate. If it wasn’t fun, people would still want it just as much. The fun part simply creates a reinforcement mechanism for procreation.

  • Snoffle Gronch

    Feminism – the irrational belief that uniquely among all species of vertebrates – humans exhibit no material difference between the sexes in physique, behaviour, or aspiration.

    Poor things.

  • Sargv

    It is helpful to consider (biologically female) feminists to be a different gender from women. It passes the modern definition of gender and makes perfect sense.

    The obvious consequence is: for a heterosexual men to date a feminist is like for a heterosexual woman to date a homosexual man.

    • Interesting comment.

      I will ride along with you here and say that it is a great modern irony that the word “Feminist” shares a root with “feminine” at all. It is quiet clear that most feminist are complete disinterested in the feminine… perhaps hostile to feminine energy.

  • MorganCourtenay

    Well, the left-wing has always been about denying and degrading biology. However, I tend to agree with Jewish teaching on contact between men and women: it is good and healthy but must be done with moderation and wisdom. From my background, I always dress conservatively when going out.

  • Revd Robert West

    I do not think that you will stop men looking at women any more than you can men looking after women, or women wanting to be noticed by men; but they should certainly stop women intruding into the male role – that is simply not good for the good of all.

    • john widmer

      You meant women looking after men, and you got it wrong. Its not looking after, its lusting after. Attraction is purely physical. There’s no such thing as love at first sight.

      • Arthur Peacock

        “There’s no such thing as love at first sight.” What you mean is, you personally have never experienced it. Not quite the same thing.

        • john widmer

          No, I experienced it plenty as a hormonal teen. That’s what it is. Just hormones designed to get babies to pop out. Divorce rate is 80% in the U.S. Must be all those ‘loving’ relationships. You don’t know a thing about a person until you’ve been around them for years. But people marry within months. People don’t marry for love, they marry for the hormone honeymoon period that comes with a fresh relationship.

          If you don’t know any biology or psychology on this subject you should probably shut up now and save yourself the grief.

          • Arthur Peacock

            I’ve been happily married for 37 years. So I probably know more about the subject than you do.

          • >> I’ve been happily married for 37 years. So I probably know more about the subject than you do.

            No… it’s possible you know more about YOUR MARRIAGE than John does, but your one example says exactly nothing about marriage for anyone else. That is an anecdote, nothing more.

            Good for you… many would like to have what you have (and fail, over and over to stay married, or to be happy about it) but your experience has no impact on the larger population… it is as John describes.

          • john widmer

            Confirmation bias. Love doesn’t come magically. It comes from being with someone over a prolonged period, as I’m quite sure I said. That’s why arranged marriages… where the female has no choice!… tend to actually end up as happy or unhappy as western marriages. Because love is a consequence of longterm relationships, not ‘at first sight’. You’re being shortsighted and naive, grandpa.

          • Wrong. The current divorce rate in the US is 16.9 divorces per 1,000 married women, the lowest since sometime before 1980, and the marriage rate for women is up to 32.2 marriages for every 1,000 unmarried women, both above 15 years old. My sister was one of those quicky marriages, about six months before they got married. Good thing it didn’t last, since she was still married to the same guy when she died 54 years later. While my ex and I had been together for two years, the marriage lasted about 5 years. Anecdotal, but not uncommon. It’s about commitment not time.

          • john widmer
  • >> reproaching men for behaviour which is essentially innate. The so-called ‘objectification’ of women is a particularly nonsensical concern.

    Agreed. Biology demands that we find and attract a mate, or fail to breed (and fail the perpetuation of the species). Which is fine an well, as long as we don’t use our eyes of any appreciation to do so??? C’mon.

    Or we can use our eyes… as long as the appreciation is for something rarely appreciated. Like a “full figured” woman. Or an older woman. Then, some appreciation is okay. Even encouraged.

    Whatever… men would be wise not to ask permission from “the culture” for what they appreciate.

    As for “objectification:”

    >>One need not go much further than Samuel Johnson’s instructive witticism in 1763 that ‘nature has given women so much power that the law has very wisely given them little’.

    This ^ is exactly right… most men are terrified of women. And men are not typically terrified of “objects.” No man gets nervous around the remote control for his TV…

    Men are incredibly clear that women are not “objects,” that’s the whole point, in fact. That is the allure.

  • A. Cooke

    “Better to be looked over than overlooked” Mae West

  • The_Mocking_Turtle

    If you are very physically attractive, or unusually freakish, people will pay more attention to you than a nondescript individual because you appear to be physically atypical, by accident of birth or by design. (Which is why some people have cosmetic surgery and/or get tattoos and/or have their bodies changed, modified, pierced and whatnot.) However there is a very real difference between a casual glance of appreciation/surprise than a lecherous leer, which, based on my experience, most women don’t appreciate particularly when given by an old, fat, ugly or otherwise unattractive member of the male gender (or same gender for that matter).

    Behaviour which appears harmlessly cheeky in a teenager, or man in his twenties, seems ribald and immature in his thirties, distasteful in his forties, and downright creepy when in his fifties or older. This is the problem. If men had more self-awareness appreciating the opposite sex would most likely be a better judged act, more appropriate to whom they are, and offence much less likely to be caused.

    It’s more about the looker than the look truth be told.