Berger believes that " the way we see things is affected by what we know or what we believe." People inherit beliefs through a cultural process that shapes their views on life. As children grow, they learn what society expects of them. They carry these beliefs into adulthood. For instance, women and men are expected to behave differently. Someone who deviates becomes a social misfit. The society looks at them as a nonconformance. The views are particularly to women since everything they do is subject to scrutiny by the society. Therefore, this paper discusses how men and women see each other similarly and differently and how that affects their lives differently.
The view of men and women in the society is different. Outer looks judge the man. The more masculine he is, the more approval he receives. Berger (45) states that men who are significant and credible are striking, but the small and incredible are of little presence. The man is an image of power to himself and the woman. He is in control of everything. The woman is a receiver. She does not control how people treat her. The way she conducts herself, what she wears, her talking and walking are used to describe the kind of the person she is (Berger 46). In our society, there is a lot of expectation for a woman as compared to the man. Men have for years dominated the world and the lives of women. A woman`s approval is dependent on a man. Thus, she has to conform to what the man and the society dictate as acceptable. How a lady treats herself is taken as a self-reflection of how others should handle her (Berger 47). Thus, a woman has to be gentle and caring for people to appreciate her.
Men and women are spectators. (Berger 48). However, the woman as a spectator looks at her self through the mirror. She also observes herself being the source of interest for the men. She has to evaluate her looks continually. Her interest in her appearance is not to please herself but to satisfy the expectations of other people, more specifically the men. There is also an element of competition for beauty among women (Berger 52). Therefore, they have to strive to outshine each other. Men are the judges to how women look. Hence, the woman is at the mercy of the man, to get approval. The woman who succeeds to please the man receives a reward. The description of the woman is that of an object that eludes interest to men. European oil painting like the "Judgement of Paris, secret Painting of Lely and Tintoretto" have displayed the image of a woman as one of observation. The men admire looking at a woman`s nudity.
In today's society, the belief that a woman is there to be seen and not to talk is changing. Women are striving to deliver themselves from this stereotype. They are aiming for equality, power and control. Most modern women are no longer seeking approval from the men. The female makes decisions on how to live without expecting endorsement by men. Likewise, the male is supporting the women to achieve their potential and compete for opportunities. However, the people have to accept the changes for a complete shift in beliefs about the place of a woman in the society.
Berger, John. Ways of Seeing: Based on the BBC Television Series with John Berger. British Broadcasting Corp., 2012.
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