Male Woman’s Body. The Woman Is Usually

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Male Gaze Theory:

This Theory Belongs To Laura Mulvey. She Uses The Idea Of
Freud’s  Of Scopophilia – The Pleasure
Involved In Looking At Other People’s Bodies As Objects. She Took Cinema As A Voyeuristic
Which Means You Look Without Being Seen And Fetishistic Which Means Encouraging
Erotic Pleasure In Objects Rather Than People. Laura Mulvey Coined The Term
‘Male Gaze’ In 1975. She Belives That In Film Audiences Have To ‘View’
Characters From The Perspectivwe Of A Heterosexual Male. For Some Feminist It
Can Be Thought Of Looking In 3 Different Ways;

Men Look At Women

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Women Look At Themselves

How Women Look At Other Women

The Male Gaze Occurs
When The Camera Puts The Audience Into The Perspective Of A Heterosexual Man.
It May, For Instance Linger Over The Curves Of A Woman’s Body. 

The Woman Is Usually Displayed On Two
Different Levels:

   As An Erotic Object For Both The Characters
Within The Film

    The Spectator Who Is Watching The Film


The Man Emerges As The Dominant Power Within
The Created Film Fantasy. The Woman Is Passive To The Active Gaze From The Man.
This Adds An Element Of ‘Patriarchal’ Order And It Is Often Seen In
“Illusionistic Narrative Film”.


Mulvey Argues That, In Mainstream Cinema, The
Male Gaze Typically Takes Precedence Over The Female Gaze, Reflecting An
Underlying Power Asymmetry.Mulvey’ Also States That The Female Gaze Is The Same
As The Male Gaze Because Women Look At Themselves Through The Eyes Of Men. A Feminist
May See The Male Gaze As Either A Manifestation Of Unequal Power Between Gazer
And Gazed, Or As A Conscious Or Subconscious Attempt To Develop That
Inequality. From This Perspective, A Woman Who Welcomes An Objectifying Gaze
May Be Simply Seeking To Benefit Men, Welcoming Such Objectification May Be
Viewed As Akin To Exhibitionism

The Male Gaze Typically Focuses On:

Curves Of The Female Body

To Women As Objects Rather Than People

Display Of Women Is How Men Think They Should Be Perceived

Viewers, View The Content Through The Eyes Of A Man


This Theory Surrounds Us And Is Unavoidable In Our Daily
Lives.  The Male Gaze Theory Views Women As Passive Objects Being Gazed At
By The Powerful Male. This Affects Women’s Self-Esteem, Advertisement
Portrayal, Identity, And Consumption Of Products. In Order For Us To Find
Meaning And The Significance Of This Theory We Must Understand Why We As
Individuals In This Society Should Care About Male Gaze Theory. 

As Active Members In Our Society We Should Care About
Male Gaze Theory Because Of The Influential Effect It Has On Our Society. 
Male Gaze Explains Media Communication Through Advertisements, Video Games,
Comic Books, And Movies. These Popular Media Outlets Are Constantly Showing
Women As Objects To Be Gazed At. Advertisers Want Us To Give In To Our Sexual
Desires And Buy Products Based On The Emotional/ Sexual Desire We Get From The
Ads. The Male Gaze Ultimately Gets People To Give In To The Consumption Of
Products To Fulfill Their Sexual Or Emotional Wants.  

Male Gaze In Meida

This Ad Belongs
Toa Beer Company. This Women Is Laying On The To Beer Bottle Wearing A Hot
Dress, Exposing Her Breast, Arms And Sexy Legs. Girl Is Young And Sexy Too.
Target Audience For This Ad Is Obviously Men. They Made This Poster Such A Way,
That Male Will Attract To This. It Looks Like A Sex Appeal Ad More Tan Beer Ad

MALE Gaze And Feminisim:

Is Loosely Defined As An Advocacy For Female’s Attainment Of Political, Social,
And Economic Rights. It Became An Established School Of Thought In The US
During The 19th Century And Has Been Practiced In A Plethora Of
Forms In Many Nations. Differences Such As Race, Class, Religion, Geography,
Culture, And Sexuality Can All Create Different Movements Of Feminism With
Unique Goals, Grievances, And Accomplishments. The Corporate Media, Via The
Male Gaze, Either Avoids The Term “Feminism” Completely As Time Magazine
Attempted In 2014, Or Obfuscates And Distorts Its True Meaning.

Discussions About Feminism In Corporate Media Usually
Take The Form Of What Project Censored Refers To As News Abuse. News Abuse, A
Term Coined By Former Project Censored Director Peter Phillips, Refers To News
Stories Which Are News Worthy, But Covered In A Manner Which Is Not News
Worthy, Or Rather, Sensationalized And Distorted. Feminism Is A News Worthy
Topic, Since Women Comprise Slightly More Than Half The Population In The US
And Thus Their Issues Pertain To A Majority Of Human Beings, But When Covered
By The Corporate Press, It Is Introduced In A Non-Newsworthy Manner. For
Example, When Both Buzzfeed And Huffington Post Offered Their Lists Of Supposed
Celebrities Who Do And Do Not Identify As Feminists. The Coverage Lacked A
Nuanced Explanation Of The Term Or Its Need In Society. Furthermore, The Focus
On Celebrities Posits That Only Women Who Have Attained Fame Through The Male
Gaze Are Worth Covering, Limiting Feminist Spokeswomen And The Discussion Of
Feminism To The Behavior And Success Of Those Operating In Industries Dominated
By The Male Gaze. This Framing Ignores Feminist Movements That Are Not For
Entertainment, But Rather Meaningful Changes In Communities Across The World.

Feminism Generally Only Makes It To The Corporate Press
As Part Of A Sensationalistic Story. In May 2014, A School Shooting In Santa
Barbara, California Was Followed By Misogynistic Social Media Messages. In
Response, Corporate Media Attention Was Given To The #Yesallwomen Social Media
Hash-Tag. Yesallwomen Aggregates The Experiences Of Women With Violence,
Harassment, And Misogyny, Arguing That All Women Have Experiences With One Or
More Of These Abuses. Similarly, And Later That Year The Corporate Press
Reported On The Gamer-Gate Story Ad Nasuem. Gamer-Gate Involved Individuals
Threatening A School Shooting At Utah State University, If Feminist Game
Reviewer Anita Sarkeesian Spoke At The School. The Speech Was Canceled Due To
Inadequate Security. The Male Gaze Theory Posits That The Corporate Press
Covered These Stories Involving Feminism Because They Included The Culturally
Masculine Trait Of Violence. The Narrow Focus Of Coverage Blockaded Connections
To Larger Issues. For Instance, In Their Coverage Of Gamer-Gate The Corporate
Press Could Have Covered The Tradition Of Violence Against Women. Instead They
Focused On Doxing, Which Is The Harassment Via Releasing Of Personal
Information, Such As Email Addresses, Phone Numbers, And Mailing Addresses,
Dissociated From Violence Against Women. The Examples Of Yesallwomen And
Gamer-Gate Demonstrate That The Corporate Media Is More Likely To Cover The
Topic Of Feminism Only When It Fulfills The Sensationalistic Demands Of The
News Outlets.

Lets see what other people says about male gaze:

The male gaze has unfortunately been
around in advertising for many years. It has been used countless times to draw
male attention towards a product, which clearly is very offensive and
oppressive towards women; leading them to believe that the only good they are
to society is as objects for men to look at and for advertisers to use to help
sell their product. There is a very fine line between using sex in advertising
to sell, and just being downright sexist towards women. There seems to be a
link between male fragrance adverts and sexual objectification, as they very
regularly use naked or semi-naked women in their adverts. This use of women as
“Sexual props” for advertising has sparked outrage amongst feminists for
decades, and even caused British film theorist and feminist, Laura Mulvey, to
write her essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”(Gina Miller).


In her essay, Mulvey describes her new
found term “Male Gaze”. She says it is putting the audience into the
perspective of a heterosexual man, by focussing the camera on parts of women
that men find sexual. This could be her hips, legs, curves, etc; as long as the
camera is clearly indicating it has sexual connotations (done through
techniques such as slow motion) it is considered the “Male Gaze” (Chris Timothy, 2013).


The Male Gaze
theory is knocked about in advertising like its nobody’s business, which is
down to the idea that sex sells; much to the disgust of feminists and women.
The idea that their one accomplishment is to be used as eye candy so men
purchase certain products is enough to outrage anybody in this current day and
age. For example, the Obsession for Men campaign run by Robert R Taylor in 1993
for Calvin Klein. The campaign featured a poster ad which contained the image
of a fully naked, 19 year old Kate Moss, laying on her side and looking deep
into the camera.

Kate Moss for Calvin Klein – 1993

The campaign has
been labelled one of the most iconic fragrance adverts of all time, but for
what reason? Can anyone even see the aftershave? No, this is purely a naked
teenager who’s only reason she was hired was to catch the attention of men, the
“Male Gaze” if you will. Moss recently shared her insight into the experience
in an interview with Emma Akbareian from the Independant. She shares with us
the way that campaign broke down her relationship with the photographer and her
then boyfriend, Marco Sorrenti.

“Calvin Klein
saw Mario’s Sorrenti book and it was pictures of me on holiday and stuff and
so he was just like – great I can see it, it’s obsession. Like he saw it – and
it was obsession.”

She then goes on
to say,

“He was obsessed, I’d wake up in the morning and he’d be taking
pictures of me and I’d be like f*ck off. I laid like that for like 10
days, he would not stop taking pictures of that. We split up after that.
When you’re in a relationship with a photographer and they start abusing that
relationship – and being like, ‘I want you to do this, and I want you to do
that’ – it makes you go, ‘No’. I didn’t want to work all the time, but he’d be
like ‘Get up on the roof, take your clothes off,’ and I would think, ‘F*ck
off!’ ” (Emma Akbareian – 2015)


You tell me, is this the kind of
relationship and human exchange we want to advertise? Admittedly, Calvin Klein
probably was unaware of there being this kind of situation between Moss and
Sorrenti, but that doesn’t make the campaign not offensive towards women.

Spectatorship Beyond Male Gaze:


Laura Mulvey’s ‘Visual Pleasure in Narrative Cinema’ (1975)
can be seen as a base for many feminist theories within media. Within her
writing she presented the idea of the ‘Male Gaze’, where she believed women on
screen were seen as sexual objects, placed there for the eye of the
heterosexual male viewer,”The film opens with the woman as an object of the
combined gaze of spectator and all the male protagonists in the film. She is
isolated, glamorous, on display, sexualised” Mulvey (pg. 21). She thought women
were presented through three different ‘views’ , the first being
how the director / camera man captures the actress in a certain way on camera.
The second being how the male characters within the film views
the female characters. The third being how the spectator views
the character, which Mulvey believed was always through the eye of a
heterosexual male.

Although Mulvey’s work was seen as a key contribution to
feminist film theory it has often been subject to criticism. Many theorists
have argued there is also a ‘Female Gaze’, Magic Mike is a
great example, the whole film is focused on Channing Tattums body who is a male
stripper. The target audience for this film was majorly women and Mike can in
many ways be viewed as a sexual object on screen.

Jackie Stacey wrote ‘From the Male Gaze to The Female
Spectator’ (1993) where she presented the idea of the female spectator who
actively desires. Stacey talks about homoerotic desires a female spectator can
have for a female character, homoerotic refers to unconscious thoughts that can
be sexual, however the thoughts are not acted on, and the spectator may just
have a fascination for the female character.  Stacey believed “pleasures
of spectator ship work on unconscious as well as conscious levels” (pg. 29).
This then leads on to idea that female spectators can also have homosexual
desires for females on screen and see them through the eye of a lesbian
spectator rather than a heterosexual male as Mulvey suggested.

Stacey found films about “one women’s obsessive fascination
with another” (pg. 28), could not be watched by spectators through the eye of a
heterosexual male. She argued films of this nature explored the possibility of
female spectators feeling the same way as the obsessive character on screen.
The film “All about Eve’ was described by Stacey as a great example of “the
pleasures and dangers of spectatorship for women” (pg. 50). The film is about a
young fan called Eve who is obsessed with Margo a Broadway star, Eve manages to
get into Margo’s life which ends up threatening her career and relationships.

Stacey uses a lot of Freud’s theory when analysing ‘All
about Eve’, she believes “Eves journey to stardom could be seen as the feminine
equivalent to the masculine Oedipal trajectory” (pg. 54). Which can be seen as
Eve having a desire to be just like Margo, however when the rivalry develops it
appears Eves desire of Margo becomes more of wanting to take over her life.
Stacey also suggests Margo is seen as a “desirable feminine” (pg. 56), it is
not just Eve who identifies with her, we as an audience also do. She is seen as
a powerful women and many of the male characters within the film are
intimidated by her, therefore the male characters do not objectify her as
Mulvey has previously suggested. Throughout the film we see Margo through the
eyes of Eve, not through the eyes of a heterosexual male.

Overall it appears there is a clear counter argument to
Mulvey’s original idea of ‘The Male Gaze’,  women can also have desires
for women or men on screen, they may be sexual or they can just admire a
character, this view appears to be a lot more updated in terms of the society
we now live in.


Real Life Consequences of the Male Gaze


1: I don’t dance in public.

     Dancing is great
and fun, but that saying “dance like no one is watching” is a
bit hypocritical in a culture where we are told that there are always people

That they have a right to be watching – and
judging. And not just men employ the male gaze. Other women also
objectify and evaluate one another, seeing each other through the gaze because
we’re trained to. It’s not socially acceptable to question the
status quo.

2. No matter what a woman wears, it is assumed that those clothes are worn
for the gazers.

      Not only does
this take away from a woman’s right to bodily autonomy  that she can wear what she wants, when she wants,
for no one but herself  but she also will
be evaluated at first glance: easy, snooty, bitch. Based on her
clothes. Even the strongest-willed, most open-minded and independent
feminists will be made to feel like a medium-rare T-bone once in a while. And
believe it or not, that kind of experience is damaging. And that kind of damage

3. It alienates any man who isn’t white and heterosexual, as well as any
man who truly and deeply respects women.

      through this
alienation, it sustains harmful stereotypes that men are mindless,  sex-crazed
beasts. And that resilient stereotype degrades men intellectually,
emotionally, and physically. It ignores all of their uniqueness, their talents,
and their entire personalities by reducing them to animalistic brutes. Because
a culture that degrades women can’t flourish if it doesn’t also degrade men who
respect women. This is what we mean when we say that patriarchy hurts everyone
– because it maintains a culture where only one type of
masculinity is considered acceptable.

4. It invalidates any female sexuality that is not categorized as

     In fact, it
invalidates any female sexuality, period, while enhancing
issues like slut-shaming and fat-shaming. These types of shame can
completely eliminate the ability to explore sexuality or even discuss it in a
healthy manner. In the same way that male stereotypes degrade them into a
blank, obnoxious slate, stereotypes of femininity crumble intelligence, free
thought, creativity, and self-expression into self-hatred and hatred of other
women. For women who don’t conform to archaic, puritanical standards of
sexuality, that type of dominance can destroy self-worth, diminish the ability
to speak your mind, and make physical intimacy an anxiety-ridden pass-or-fail
final exam. The reason that the male gaze can specifically trigger all that
business is because it isn’t just the event of a man looking at a woman. It
isn’t even just the event of men looking at women as objects. It is the
persistent perception that all men are always objectifying women – and that
they should be.

Real life alternative to Male Gaze:

1: Awareness:

      Train yourself
to see the gaze everywhere. Because that’s exactly where it is.Television
shows, commercials, movies, conversations with men, conversations with women,
your trip to the grocery store for emergency milk in yoga pants. Find the male
gaze, whether literal or figurative. One of the most useful ways to get
used to identifying the male gaze in your daily life is to begin identifying it
in the media. It allows the distance necessary for you to be objective
and to think about what we consider normal and what those standards translate
into for your everyday life. Television and movies (and even magazine
covers!) are the best source for this kind of analysis. So many of
my favorite shows are also some of the greatest offenders of
female autonomy. A great example is this persistent image of extremely thin,
always made-up women falling for slobbish, overweight men because apparently
women cannay, are supposed to overlook the physical attributes
for inner beauty. And yet, I have never seen a show that demonstrates the
reverse. And it’s this media-perpetuated idea that women are always interested, always available
that informs my personal experience of men rarely approaching me with inquiry
into my sexual availability and leaving upon my immediate dismissal. But
the male gaze isn’t always so obvious. Sometimes it’s not physical at
all. Sometimes it’s the fact that men assume I think Channing Tatum is
hot, or that I love chocolate, but obsess over the scale daily. It’s the
assumption that I do yoga to impress men with my flexibility, that I stretch
out before and after playing sports to “show-off, ” that I follow fashion
trends and celebrity gossip religiously. And these stereotypes are just
as damaging. So notice them. And challenge them.

2. Be Vocal

     Talk about it. Aloud!

If the movie you’re watching is a “chick flick,” does
that mean it’s for “chicks” or for objectifying them? If it’s really made and
produced for female consumption, why do you sometimes feel alienated or judged
by it?

When you start to say these things aloud, several things
happen. Often, other people are feeling the same way, but just don’t know how
to address it. Your speaking out can help because cultural messages like
stereotypes get their power from alienation. Sometimes giving a voice and
solidarity to someone who feels like their whole world was made for someone
else can give that beautiful, kindred, but potentially frightened spirit the
courage to keep thinking for themselves and challenging cultural ideals. When
you speak out, you give others the courage to speak out. Your conversation can
be the spark that ignites other conversations. And don’t be discouraged when
maybe maybe someone doesn’t feel the same way, and once you bring it up, they
say that you can’t change culture. Because that’s ridiculous. Because we still
can’t vote or hold our own land, right? Culture is not the same as it was
hundreds of years ago  or even fifty
years ago. We got the right to vote because hundreds of women marched and
protested, were arrested, starved themselves, were violently force-fed in U.S.
prisons, and eventually earned us the right to vote. Culture
changes all the time. All it takes is for somebody somewhere to say
something. And the rest, as they say, is history.

3. Be Active

     The male gaze
isn’t just affecting the way that models and actresses are viewed. It
affects every single person that identifies as a woman in real
life. Everyday. Actively thwarting male gaze means that when your
self-declarations not to be touched or ogled are dismissed, you can assert the
validity of your experience, your voice, and your viewpoint. Sometimes that
means going to a boss, professor, or even law enforcement. I’ve even confronted
male co-workers and bosses on behalf of other women, stating
that Ithink it’s wrong, so as not to make them any more
uncomfortable. Don’t just stand there. Do something. And if at first, you feel
like your actions aren’t working, keep trying until you’re satisfied.

4. Turn the Magnifying Glass into a Mirror

      I’m not saying
that you need to whistle at guys or comment on their behinds. In fact, I don’t
recommend that. That’s still objectification, and if we’re all objects at the
end of the day, nothing will ever get done. However, explain it in
whatever terms the gazer will respond to. Since many heterosexual men tend to
say that they’d love for girls to whistle at them, maybe ask
them how they would feel if a man treated them that way, or
how they feel to know that men catcall their mothers, sisters, girlfriends. Ask
how it would feel to know that whatever you wear or do or say, at any moment,
an entire lifetime of success can be reduced to an air-humping motion. Or to
feel around every dark corner that you are about to be sexually violated,
humiliated. Talk openly and honestly about what being a woman feels like in
regards to the existence of the male gaze. Find solidarity in other women’s
experiences. Create change in the viewpoints and experiences of men.

Categories: Dance


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