#TrendingNews Blog Business Entertainment Environment Health Lifestyle News Analysis Opinion Science Sports Technology World News
Male vs. Female Gaze: What Does it Mean in the World We Live in Today

To understand the difference between the female and male gaze, it is important to look at how both are viewed in society. I also think that the female gaze can be viewed in a few different ways. The female gaze is how women view themselves. That there is finally this ability to look in, rather than just the reflection of how society has wanted to see us.


There is also the definition of the world being viewed from a female gaze, meaning more feminine without the purpose of benefiting men. I do believe the two definitions I have named also tend to intertwine with each other.


Freud’s idea gives insight into the difference in growing sexually between men and women, and how it begins when we are young. Right away girls' minds make an initial decision about sexuality, which takes boys longer to understand. Women have this mindset right away that this is something that we don’t have but want, whereas boys begin uninterested and grow as they get older. This leads to the idea of fetishes, and how they are more prominent in men rather than women.


Leading into cinema we see Freud explain, “Given the structures of cinematic narrative, the woman who identifies with a female character must adopt a passive or masochistic position” (120). In the protagonist, supporting characters, and the narrative it becomes evident that “womanliness” can be held at a distance until it is needed. It is giving feminism if it is needed, but also allowing it to be seen as more masculine if that is how society is wanting to view women that day. It is always wearing the mask of what the male gaze is giving to us and letting them decide who we will be that day.


            After understanding the male gaze, it is appropriate to believe the female gaze is quite opposite of that. It is a way of speaking and listening, rather than the action and chaos that fills a screen. As well as, looking through the lens of both desire and detail that take place in a women’s cinema. Allowing there to be this connection to desire, but in a way that isn’t just purely sexual.


More so, we are looking at the perspective of women’s fantasies that normally do not show in a film. We see this in films such as “Pride and Prejudice”, which it is viewed as boring and slow to some people.


However, people looking through the lens of a female gaze, are falling in love with the finer details of their hands lightly touching and the eye contact across a room. It isn’t this intense love through actions, but through the mind; that is where the female gaze lives.


Once the difference is understood you notice how most Hollywood films are only seen through the gaze of a man. There is no build-up to the connection, it is fast-paced and physically intense in various ways.


 I enjoy films that portray more of the female gaze. It gives a layer to a movie that we miss out on when they don’t give us a female perspective. We don’t get the exploration of intense emotions and see the unraveling of feelings take place, as well as the build-up of how the feelings occur. It is more real in the way that we are seeing the progression of truth inside another human being.


The male gaze focuses more on the power that is held within the gaze, rather than the degradation of a woman. Objectification comes more from the viewers rather than the initial male gaze we see. The male gaze is represented more so by the power which is held in his look, leaning more towards the ego that is taking place in the man.


This idea is that he is looking at a woman; in his mind, she is already his. The male gaze and objectification both share the similarity of high egos being involved, meaning that they are degrading women to get themselves higher.


When looking at the male gaze, it becomes quite clear that this is the lens cinema has been casting for decades.  “The man controls the film phantasy and also emerges as the representative of power in a further sense”. There is this stereotypical viewpoint on women that cannot be escaped by the male gaze, which I also see as the gaze of society.


We see this through examples such as the specification of women in films, commercials, pictures, and more. The male gaze has a way of looking at women as if we are meant for them. What women wear, how we are made to look on a screen, the filters we use, and the way we are supposed to act, it is all cleared through the male gaze. Objectification is more so what occurs from the male gaze taking place, making it a product of what happens because of the need for power over women.


It reminds me of when I was beginning high school and from the adults surrounding me, all I heard was, “If you want boys to notice you, you have to seem quiet, kind, and far from opinionated”. It is a moment I will never forget because that was the first time in my life I understood what it meant to live life for the male gaze and not my own. Women spend their whole lives relearning themselves from the gaze of a man, and I believe that is where peace is found. Outside of the gaze, objectification, and how we are supposed to live, there is the ability to just be.


Edited By: Youssef Jarray




Share This Post On


Leave a comment

You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in