Hello ladies: Look at your man, now back at these male avatars, now back at your man... well, you get the idea. What you're actually looking at is detail from a set of 25 Second Life avatars compiled by Los Angeles artist Kris Schomaker (Gracie Kendal in SL), who selected them from her latest Second Life-themed art project, 1000 Avatars. She's submitting these gentlemen to an upcoming feminist art show at Rutgers, "Man as Object - Reversing the Gaze". In most traditional art, she explains, "women have been painted and created to support the male gaze. For their pleasure. This show is a feminist take on that. A reversal in which the male is used for female viewing pleasure."
Of course, because her men are avatars, another layer of meaning gets added:
"Are they really women [in real life]? Are they gay? Does this change the idea of the female gaze? The title is actually '25 most beautiful men?' So the question mark is very important. Are we really looking at men? Who are they? And of course, I love the ideas of the backs again, symbolizing anonymity but also in this case, I believe a form of objectification."
It's a topic we've covered on New World Notes, largely via Iris' yearly Hot Male Avatars column. My curiosity is how hot they actually are, from a woman's perspective, notwithstanding several layers of mediation there are in a screenshot of a male avatar, and an actual male. What say you, my female readers?
As for Gracie, she chose her 25 males from hundreds of candidates because "Each has a real character to him. Whether more sexy or hip, artsy or beautiful." And no, she insists, the sole criterion wasn't a smashing ass.
"When you have seen 1500 butts," as she tells me, "they all look the same after a while."
Oh yes, you wanted to see all 25? Courtesy Kristine Schomaker, see them all after the break. Possibly not safe for work viewing, what with the farrago of dude buttocks about to fly your way: