The Male Gaze: What It Is, and What TikTok Often Gets Wrong

If you’ve only ever encountered the term Male Gaze on social media, you might be forgiven for thinking it’s just another term for male approval.

"Male Gaze" is a phrase that’s gotten attention on and off over the past couple of years. It has a deep meaning.

In general, the male gaze describes the act of depicting women in the visual arts, from the point of view of a heterosexual male.

What Is the Male Gaze?

Jean-Paul Sartre used the term to describe how the act of gazing at another person creates a sort of power difference.

Being, Nothingness, and Ways of Seeing

The heterosexual male perspective with which movies are made does two things:

Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema

It objectifies women for the men within the film’s story, while objectifying them for (the presumed male) moviegoers.

Another type of gaze is the Oppositional Gaze. It's when the gaze is not just built along the lines of gender, but also of race.

Are There Other Types of Gazes?

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