The false freedom of the female gaze




The male gaze is objectifying, reductive, and dominates our visual culture. So, the antidote must be balancing it out with a new emphasis on the female gaze, right? Wrong. The way the female gaze has been conceptualized still propagates the usual stereotypes about female identity. What was meant to act as a liberation from the male gaze turns out to be a different limiting view of women. Moving away from the male gaze then isn’t simply a matter of replacing it with the female gaze, but overcoming the idea of gendered gaze altogether, argues Emma Syea. We know what the male gaze is. It pervades our visual culture, objectifying, reducing, and simplifying women – an expression and reinforcement of an unequal power dynamic in a patriarchal society. We know, in other words, that the reign of the male gaze is over. Time to make way for the female gaze.The female gaze may be a hot ticket but it remains something of a mystery, with some even doubting its existence. While the literature on the …

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