The lecherous gaze

Yes, another Sick Day, but I press on with today’s very pointed Zippy strip:

(#1) It’s all about ogling

From NOAD (note the content of the examples chosen: men ogling women, the canonical ogling scenario):

verb ogle: [with object] stare at in a lecherous manner: he was ogling her breasts | [no object]:  men who had turned up to ogle. ORIGIN late 17th century: probably from Low German or Dutch; compare with Low German oegeln, frequentative of oegen‘ look at’.

As a man-desiring man of advanced age, I can report many decades of ogling men — almost always as a matter of everyday sexual fantasizing, not aggressively — but I appreciate the distressing attentions paid by men to good-looking women with attractive breasts (the late Ann Daingerfield Zwicky was such a woman and so was the object of a range of aggressive ogling, often accompanied by various degrees of sexual imposition; this is very ugly territory).

In any case, ogling is canonically a male thing, though women friends of mine have cultivated ogling men as a pastime (engaged in most often by two or three female friends together).

And then there’s lecherous viewing of representations of people (photographs, drawings, paintings) rather than actual people. In our culture, this is primarily an activity engaged in by men viewing women.

Note that ogling as a canonical male-on-female thing reproduces the canonical situation of lechery, which is that of male sexually desiring female — though that isn’t actually part of the lexical semantics of lecherous. From NOAD (again, note the example):

adj. lecherous: having or showing excessive or offensive sexual desire: she ignored his lecherous gaze.

Meanwhile, Zerbina, on the counter-attack against the lecherous male gaze, looks for material that would provide her with representations of sexually desirable male bodies. Men’s bodybuilding magazines turn out not to do the trick (because they’re devoted to developing male bodies as end in itself, to provide men with satisfaction in their self-development and to provide appreciative coverage of men in competition with other men). Women’s tastes and opinions don’t really enter into these practices.

So what she gets are Mack trucks in human form. From Wikipedia on one of the leading bodybuilder magazines:

Muscle & Fitness is an American fitness and bodybuilding magazine founded in 1935 by Canadian entrepreneur Joe Weider. It was originally published under the title Your Physique, before being renamed to Muscle Builder in 1954, and acquiring its current name in 1980. There is also a companion magazine called Muscle and Fitness Hers, oriented toward women.

Muscle & Fitness has a more mainstream fitness and bodybuilding lifestyle focus than its companion publication, Flex, which mainly covers more specialised “hardcore” and professional bodybuilding topics. It offers many exercise and nutrition tips, while at the same time advertising a variety of nutritional supplements from companies.

(#2) The cover of the January 2019 issue, not designed to stir the loins of passionate women (or me, for that matter)

The number of such magazines is stupendous, especially when you realize that separate editions are prepared for different countries. Here’s the cover of another:

(#3) The cover of the Summer 2022 issue of Muscular Development; well, he has a nice smile (I’m really into smiles)

ROCK. HARD. ABS. Pass the word.

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