The male gaze— what we women constantly observe in media, psychology, and our daily lives. The
objectification of women has sadly been what we’re subjected to every day, whether we realize it or
not. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t realize the jeopardies of this mentality. The male gaze has
been accredited as a core from sexual harassment, abuse, and assault as a result of the
over-fetishization of women in the media. Liz Fe Lifestyle’s book goes over the many ways that the
male gaze can do damage to women as a whole, as well as negate the advocacy to end female
sexualization that many individuals are fighting for.
Typical examples of the male gaze tend to take away the female characters of their human identity.
Woman become simply an object, a prop, of heterosexual male desire. And if you were to remove
these female chapters all together, the plot wouldn’t be affected much. Women are ridiculed to look
and appear more feminine, while maintaining a modest personality. Being a woman comes with
impossibly ridiculous standards to be judged by the male eye. The sexualization of women and girls
have been around since the beginning of time. Males and many have failed to realize and consider
the damage that ensues beyond media and daily experience.
The phrase male gaze emerged from feminist film theorist by Laura Mulvey in year 1975. Her theory
from her acclaimed essay, Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema considers the sexual objectification
of women in media stemming from the male’s point of view. Most of the entirety of the entertainment
industry, women are shown as submissive objects of male desire. Regarding the psychological
thought process behind the male gaze, it is kindred to the Freudian concept of scopophilia – the
pleasure of viewing.
Laura Mulvey is a celebrated film theorist in the industry and her ideas bring awareness to situations
riddled with patriarchy and misogyny in films and other forms of mass media. Mulvey’s theory has
allowed people to start questioning gender roles in films and how they propagate false ideals to
downplay women in the name of fiction. It has been decades since she called out films and media
for their falses ideologies, but still our mass media industry flourishes on the continuous sexual
objectification of women and forcing them in traditional roles emerging from patriarchy.
Today in society as we have become more conscious and informed of the male gaze and the
unappetizing ideas it cultivates, we are also equipped with a broad education to not feed the
misogynistic ways. It is sad to say that such depictions of women are a normal part of our popular
culture and we must un-normalize this mentally to protect women as a whole. Cat calling,
harassment, staring and gawking at women in public, “accidental” and unwanted touches from men
inappropriately. Just to name a few. All of these established mannerisms evoked by the male gaze
portrayed by the mass media.
And we are just scratching the surface because there is still so much to discover and understand
about the male gaze. The male gaze in sports, classrooms, mass media. Society’s perception
regarding women is learned and absorbed from the entertainment industry. These industries need to
stop catering to male eye because it does more harm to women everywhere than one would realize.
How do we put an end to the male gaze? How do we move this conversation to the mainstream