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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

female gazing at: Robert Downey Jr.


A recent paparazzi pic. I love a man with the confidence to pull off a look like this.

I’m posting a picture like this one every weekday, of a man who is attractive and desirable, because I like to look, dammit — and because the female gaze doesn’t have to be such serious business.

Oh, and also as a fuck-you to Bret Easton Ellis, who thinks women don’t like to look.

(If you have a suggestion for someone we should female-gaze at, feel free to email me with a name or a link to a particular photo.)



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  • Lisa

    Tennant next please!

  • Mimi

    Where was this taken? Interesting streetscape. Which I gazed upon after a long, hearty gaze at Mr. Downey, who is most gazeworthy.

  • Stefanie

    I’m loving this new feature. And suddenly I’m figuring out why guys love their gaze so much.

  • Loves2Look

    God he’s handsome. Just f*ing classic! The eyes kill me every time – but what sells me on him is the personality. The battered lace up boots – completely incongrous on anyone else make perfect sense on Robert Downey Jr. This is a real man. Can we please have him cloned?

    And what a perfect middle finger to Easton-Ellis in particular.

    Thanks for this!

  • Althea

    Thank you, MaryAnn.

  • Rosalind

    Thank you for your prompt response to my request!!

  • Shelle

    God, I think Robert is the sexiest man on the planet. That man could dress in anything and I would still stare at him for hours. I love his big brown eyes. He has a fantastic personality and he just seems to be a real man. I really hope Susan knows just how lucky she is, because most of the women in the world would love to be her on a daily basis!

  • Karen L

    How about Gerard Butler? Sure, he’s making mostly crappy rom-coms right now, but he’s definitely a treat for the female eye.

  • Karen L

    Oh, and BE-E can suck it.

  • bats :[

    Please continue this new feature. Please.
    Please.

  • Joanne

    I thoroughly approve of this exercise.

    *Gazes*

  • judy

    Thank you MaryAnn. Just got home from work and checking this out. I just have to try and get the drool off my keyboard first. This is a very good idea. Do keep it up. Downey is so handsome and has so much class and style. I am sorry but I have to say I hope some day he can do a Cary Grant type movie. If any of you saw Only You the one he did with Marisa Tomei he does a great Cary vocal imitation in it. Oh and did I say… thank you.. yes thank you!!!

  • Rachel Hartman

    Paul Gross. Dur.

  • Dokeo

    Yum! Totally agree with most of the suggestions above. But maybe do “Robert Downey Jr. Tuesdays” ‘cuz one is not enough! Also have to give a strong second to Paul Gross – the recent Screen Cap Friday shot sent me back to Slings & Arrows and yes, I do like to gaze at him!

    I’ve been wondering, though, if it’s right to simply counter the male gaze with the female gaze. Certainly there is a “gaze gap,” but does that mean the answer is to aggressively promote a female gaze? Or does that just lead to a “gaze war?” My hope is for a culture where lots of viewpoints (and gazes) are valid. I’m not 100% sure if objectifying hot men (if that’s what we are doing here) is really a step in the right direction.

    I do note that most of the suggestions listed here ask for men who either have personal intellectual bona fides or who have convincingly played nuanced, interesting characters. No one here seems to be screaming for bland beefcake. Does that make a difference?

    That being said, I’m all for telling Bret Easton-Ellis to go eff himself.

  • Oh yes – donds to Paul Gross (with or without Diefenbaker).

  • LaSargenta

    How about Gerard Butler? Sure, he’s making mostly crappy rom-coms right now, but he’s definitely a treat for the female eye.

    Not this female. He’s too soft. So is Russell Crowe…two guys I don’t understand how they became action hero actors.

  • Accounting Ninja

    Ooh, how ’bout Jason Statham?? I’ve always had a thing for 80s Ed Harris, too.

    Dokeo, I disagree. You know how many conversations I’ve had with men, real life and online, that, despite my telling them how I felt, continued to deny that women are “visual” or even denying that women like sex?

    A lady gets tired of never being believed. Especially when it’s other men telling these guys this stuff. I’m all, LISTEN to me! I’m a woman!

    Then they walk away shaking their heads, thinking that I’m just lying to myself, OR that maybe I, the lone freak-woman, might think like that but “most women don’t, trust me, I’ve dated some”.

    ARRGG. So I totally grok the “aggressively” part MAJ endorses. :)

    On the more serious side, as long as we continue to live in a patriarchy, women “objectifying” men has no real life percussions. At the end of the day, women are still the ones commodified, men are still in power (in Hollywood and everywhere else).

    As for regular guys getting nervous, sorry to sound insensitive, but you’re just worried about losing that special male privelege. The privelege to look at porn and hot women everywhere and your wife or girlfriend just has to deal with it, because that’s “the way men are”. But all of a sudden, the shoe is kind of on the other foot, and y’all get nervous? That actually makes me wary…it makes me think that every time I’ve heard a guy tell his wife she’s “being ridiculous” for getting jealous of the hot women he drools over, that maybe she had good reason.

  • Rachel Hartman

    For me, part of the female gaze isn’t just about the pretty but the personality. Let’s take Paul Gross, since I was voting for him earlier and he’s a great example of how the pretty and the personality need to interact for me. Paul Gross happens to hit my buttons when it comes to judging a man physically: I like tall men with dark hair and blue eyes. I like ’em so much I married one. But the pretty alone is not enough for me. Ideally, I want a tall man with dark hair and blue eyes who is smart, witty, and has a certain spark to him. (Lucky me, my husband qualifies on these traits as well.) Paul Gross is always going to be in my female gaze because he hits the pretty and the personality buttons. Other men with dark hair and blue eyes may hit the pretty but not the personality, and the pretty isn’t going to overrule the lack of personality when it comes to my female gaze. OTOH, a great personality/charisma will overrule my “tall, dark hair, and blue eyes” requirements.

  • Tammy

    @rachel: You said, “OTOH, a great personality/charisma will overrule my “tall, dark hair, and blue eyes” requirements.” That is SOOO true. The pretty is never unappreciated, but the personality (or, at least, the ability to project an appealing personality on-screen) is so very much a part of my ‘gaze’. Pretty is the A-1 on a delicious piece of beef, that just makes it heavenly. :-D I’ve always preferred my beef with A-1, though it’s fine without it. A man rarely makes my ‘lust list’ without at least some pretty, somewhere. But he never makes the list without the personality.

  • Lost in a supermarket

    I think that in order to close this egregious “gaze gap” we need to start gazing retroactively. I nominate Valentino . . .
    Furthermore, why limit ourselves to movie stars? Albert Camus was pretty easy on the eyes.

  • bronxbee

    i agree with the retro-gazing; i just suggested one to maryann, matter of fact.

  • Accounting Ninja

    Theory: lots of us have mentioned that we like “personalities” as well. Men like BEE use this as “proof” that we are not visual or sexual creatures. BUT, I submit it is because women are taught all their lives to see a man as something more than a set of body parts. Man is always presented as fully human, so it is hard for women (generally) to objectify them. I mean, look at the roles these guys play: complex, human.

    What do you think?

  • Rachel Hartman

    Accounting Ninja, you’ve said what I’d been musing over privately here since I first posted my comment about how I need personality to go with my pretty.

  • For awhile now I’ve been saying that if there’s one man for whom I could be tempted to leap the fence (so to speak), that man is Clive Owen.

    Of course my gaze is not female… so, I’m curious: how do your female gazes regard Mr. Owen?

  • My female gaze is very happy to settle on Clive Owen. As lots of posts point out, pretty plus personality is what draws the female eye of Sauron. If they’re funny too (especially self-deprecating humour) they have me hook, line and sinker. This is why my gaze likes to alight upon Rufus Sewell and David Tennant – both of whom can, and do, take the piss out of themselves.

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