Several days ago, the article on Justin Jedlica took an instant interest in me. For those who do not know, Justin Jedlica is one of the big name in the plastic surgery world. He is notoriously known for undertaking 90-ish cosmetic surgeries in the last 10 years. The mass media even label him as the new Ken. Just like Valeria -the Russian model who changed herself to resemble Barbie, Justin underwent cosmetic surgeries in his whole body -not only facial surgeries.
To be abruptly honest, my radar rang when I read the article. Driven by my curiosity, I consulted the Almighty Google for further information on Justin. Finally finding his twitter account, my suspicion was proven true. Justin Jedlica is an openly gay man. This revelation on his sexuality then led me into revisiting the concept and construction of gay gaze.
It's no secret that women are doing cosmetic surgeries to transform themselves into beautiful princess. But then, when they appeared more beautiful, these women actually subjected themselves into the trap of male gaze. They surrendered into a state of being objectified. After all, their body alteration was mostly based on man's concept of beauty. If they are being honest, their body alteration was aimed to attract more men (or women in some cases) -despite the claim that they're doing it for themselves. There is no denial that the concept of physical beauty was derived from men's standard and satisfaction.
An interesting thing is that in the heterocentric world full of masculine hegemony, straight men always refused to be objectified. When they are objectified, their position at the peak of power dynamic would be toppled down. That's the reason why there are only male gaze and not female gaze.
Yet, the term gay gaze that has been around in the intellectual limbo for almost two decades actually gives another perspective on men's position in the power dynamics. Due to the nature of same sex attraction, a gay male is willing to be 'objectified' by another man. This does not mean they fall from grace in the power dynamics. At the same time when they were objectified by another man, they are also objectifying another man. The key of this gay gaze is mutual objectification without the occurrence of power stripping. There is a willingness to be objectified, mainly to attract the other party. Without this willingness and temporary power loss, the seduction cannot happen. Furthermore, the loss of power actually does not happen due to the nature of queer power dynamics which operates outside the heteronormative structure.
Coming back to Justin Jedlica, he is actually a further proof of this mutual objectification and man's willingness to be objectified. By transforming his face into Ken-like as well as placing implants in his biceps, triceps, chest, and abs, Justin is actually trying to transform himself into a perfect person sending out invitation to be objectified by other gay men. The logic is, if he does not have the willingness to be objectified, he will not bother transforming himself into a guy with perfect body. Interesting enough, almost all of his body alteration were actually conforming to the stereotype of ideal gay man. Six pack chiseled abs, well rounded chest, slightly bulging biceps and triceps, while still maintaining the lean figure. This is not to generalise that all gay men will be attracted to such figure, as there are many spectrums within.
On the other hand, his constant scoring of himself -and his confession that he will continue altering his body in search for the perfect figure- also shows his objectifying himself. After all, the mutual objectification is a first step of going forward.
Disclaimer : I don't want to sound homophobic or stereotypical, but I just want to explore more of Laura Mulvey's idea on the 'male gaze' towards the construction and establishment of 'gay gaze'.