The thrill of being invited by the camera to regard a naked man in an explicitly erotic context as a woman drove home how rarely I’ve felt that when watching mainstream TV, let alone “prestige” TV. Only male arousal wins awards.
…conversations about sexism on TV have a tendency devolve into the negatives of objectification: how it dehumanizes, marginalizes, decentralizes. The “male gaze” theory is so familiar now that we sometimes let it flow into abstractions it was never guilty of. We all know, thanks to Laura Mulvey’s Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, that the male gaze eroticizes the object it looks at, and that the camera facilitates that look. But there’s more than visual pleasure or narrative centrality at work. There’s the right to what some have called the female gaze. The erotic—from a female viewpoint—rarely finds its way onscreen.