The Male Gaze
“Visual Pleasure and
What is the Gaze?
The concept of gaze is one that deals with
how an audience views the people presented.
For feminists it can be thought of in 3 ways:
• How men look at women,
• How women look at themselves
• How women look at other women.
Gaze and feminist theory
Laura Mulvey coined the term ‘Male Gaze’ in 1975.
She believes that in film audiences have to ‘view’
characters from the perspective of a heterosexual
Features of the Male Gaze
The camera lingers on the curves of the female
body, and events which occur to women are
presented largely in the context of a man's
reaction to these events.
Relegates women to the status of objects. The
female viewer must experience the narrative
secondarily, by identification with the male.
“I love the way she fills her clothes.
She looks just like them girls in Vogue.”
Watch the video and then be prepared for questions
What colour top was he and she wearing?
What bowling lane was used?
What colour belt did he and she wear?
What colour shoes did he and she wear?
What colour eyes did he and she have?
Why some of you might not have known
the answers to all the questions.
You were too busy looking at the woman.
Use of the Male Gaze in everyday
Some theorists also have noted the sexualizing
of the female body even in situations where
female sexiness has nothing to do with the
product being advertised.
Can you think of any examples of this?
Criticism of Mulvey and Gaze theory
Some women enjoy being ‘looked’ at e.g. beauty
The gaze can also be directed toward members of
the same gender for several reasons, not all of which
are sexual, such as in comparison of body image or in
Are there any ‘flaws’ in these arguments?
Key theorists beliefs
Jonathan Schroeder (1998), “to gaze implies
more than to look at – it signifies a
psychological relationship of power, in which
the gazer is superior to the object of the gaze.”
• Write up this theory onto your blog.
• INCLUDE a full write up response to why we
(the audience) couldn’t answer all the
questions to do with the video shown.
• You MUST refer to Mulvey’s theory.