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The Female Gaze

Updated: May 12, 2021

So how many of you have experienced that weird feeling of being stared at by a complete stranger (usually with uncomfortably flirty eyes sometimes followed by an unwanted wolf whistle). Here you are walking down the street in your new silk slip dress (yes its sexy but thats no invitation) you feel carefree and happy until this unwarranted confrontation occurs. It sucks!

It is my opinion that these actions are perhaps very much encouraged by what is called the "male gaze". The male gaze is often analysed in terms of photography and film and was first introduced to us by the amazingly talented theoretical feminist theorists Martha Rosler and Griselda Pollock. The male gaze is the image given to us in which the woman is displayed as an impassive object, merely there to be looked at and admired.

Here is a link to a short video displaying aspects of the male gaze and how it can be used in cinema, while also showing the difference between females shown objectified compared to a viewpoint that is not objectifying but empowering . From this video it is clear how frequently the male gaze is used to exhibit women as objects of desire above all else.

What many female creatives are now doing is taking back control of this image by using the female gaze that creates an image of women through the eyes of the female viewpoint. This shows the female as empowered through their own thoughtful creative process, no-longer just depicted as object of desire now we can finally be seen to create. It is my opinion that this perspective should be cherished for its relevance in depicting the image of the female. There is possibility for authenticity and relatability in the female gaze which in my opion we cannot get from the male gaze.

Even when through the female gaze the woman is sexualised through the understanding that this image was created by a woman.

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