Stef (firecat) wrote,

Gender query: Self-consciousness of image

I read a blog called The Beheld.

In this post, "Recommended Reading," Autumn Whitefield-Madrano discusses Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth and recommends some books that "go beyond" and "work alongside" Wolf's book. One of them is Ways of Seeing by John Berger. Whitefield-Madrano includes the following quote from the book:
A woman must continually watch herself. She is almost continually accompanied by her own image of herself. Whilst she is walking across a room or whilst she is weeping at the death of her father, she can scarcely avoid envisaging herself walking or weeping. … And so she comes to consider the surveyor and the surveyed within her as the two constituent yet always distinct elements of her identity as a woman. … Thus she turns herself into an object—and most particularly an object of vision: a sight.
Whitefield-Madrano says that she relates to this quote.

I don't. Sometimes I dress to look and/or feel a certain way, but once I'm dressed, I don't go around constantly surveying myself. And when I do feel that way, I hate it.

So I'm trying to figure out whether this is in fact a part of being a woman or identifying as feminine (and thus my not doing it is part of my being genderqueer) or whether the author maybe doesn't know what he's talking about or is exaggerating what he's talking about (by using terms such as "continually" and "scarcely avoid").

I'd love for people of all genders to comment on this. What is your gender? Do you constantly watch yourself and feel aware of your image of yourself most of the time? Do you think women or people who identify as feminine usually do that?

Ways of Seeing was published in 1972. In what ways do you think enforced image self-consciousness for women or people who identify as feminine has changed since then?

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