Two Journal Articles, One Performance Duet, A Quote and a Glimpse of Practice 07/06/2020

Spencer Smtih, R. (1976) Voyeurism: A Review of Literature

I read this paper in an attempt to gain some insight into the “pleasures” of viewing, from an audience perspective, or the pleasure of being watched from the perspective of the performer. But, instead, I learned more about deviant behaviour of voyeurism.  Throughout the text, the author is explicit about the limited amount of papers available in print form and the lack of books that are dedicated entirely to this topic. Thus, the author draws from multiple knowledge sources, such as measures of treatment for voyeurism, punishment, social learning, learning theory, theory of perversion, and psychoanalytic theory. From this, it is evident that some forms of voyeurism are more subtle that others, such as briefly glimpsing another person’s body when they are not looking or masturbating to sexual stimulus. This subtle voyeurism can be seen as a natural phase of development of which there is no crime in looking. However, the more blatant, harmful and perverse acts of voyeurism; following courting couples, recording sexual encounters without their knowledge by planting cameras, rape, sadomasochism are illegal.

As a woman undertaking research about objects that are often perceived as representing deviant sexualities, or even femininity as a form of exhibitionism, I thought it was useful that, even though the majority of reviewed literature, relative to voyeurism, is inherently linked to male adolescents, Spencer Smith also discussed how women have fantasised about or engaged in voyeuristic activities and are therefore also sexually stimulated by the act of “watching” or even being watched themselves. To reiterate, anything that bends slightly away from “normal” penetrative sex, such as fetishism, homosexuality, cunniligus, fellatio, or sadomasochism, would be considered deviant. This behaviour, like inscribed gender roles, is learned.

Matschiner, M. and Murnen, S. K. (1999) Hyperfemininity and Influence.

This study draws from theory concerning gender and status, including expectation states theory. The study attempts to find out how hyperfemininity (makeup, high heels, cloths that accentuate curves of the body) can be used as a persuasive or tool to enhance engagement in men or women. It was hypothesized that a woman‘s expression of hyperfeminine attitudes would lead male college student participants to agree with her in response to a persuasive speech because it would indicate her compliance with women’s subordinate status. Meaning, if the woman is compliant with hyperfemininity, the man does not feel threatened. However, women who listened to a hyperfeminine woman speak, deemed her less intelligent and less trust worthy because she is reliant on her sexuality to attain engagement.

Another interesting point here is that a hyperfeminine woman believes that part of her success as a woman is the ability to maintain a (sexual) relationship with a man. I understand that to separate heterosexuality and lesbianism would be difficult, but this paper contains a heterosexual bias and is reductionist in stating hyperfemininity in women only exists to please a males. The in depth use of “expectation theory” has generally clarified the notion of gender status and how gender differences in behaviours that reflect and perpetuate status inequality are likely to occur in mixed-gender interactions. Further, regarding objectification, the authors posit women might learn that being an object of male sexual desire is part of their expected role.

Performance Enemy

If you have a spare 30 minutes (or you can skip some parts, like I did) and need to learn more about minimalist movement and slow pace in duet performance, this is one to watch. I enjoyed the use of repetition and the semi-erotic element between the women and how they stayed connected throughout the performance.

Quote that is helping with my ongoing creative practice

“Creativity takes courage” – Henri Matisse

A glimpse of practice

I will be back with more notes next week, but in the meantime, you can see my daily updates by following me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook

Rowena x