What is the Female Gaze?

The female gaze is a term that’s typically used in film, but I believe it can and should be applied to other parts of our life from the music we listen to, to the art that we view. Allow me to introduce- Female Gaze Photography. It would probably help to know what the female gaze is, so let me explain it in simple terms. 

The male gaze is the way that typically men view the world whereas the female gaze is the way women typically view the world, but it’s deeper than that. The male gaze seeks to sexualize and objectify the subject- typically women. You might think that the female gaze seeks to view men in the same demoralizing and objectifying way that men typically view us, but you’d be wrong. Instead of objectifying men, the female gaze focuses on the emotions, feelings, and atmosphere of the subject. This might sound a little confusing in theory so let me show an example or two.

The Epitome of the Male Gaze

This photo was taken of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. It shows his huge muscles and those little spikey things coming out of his hands. His face is angry. His muscles are veiny. His skin looks sweaty. Everything about his posing and expressions feels very aggressive and in-your-face. Even just the words and fonts on this magazine cover are quite aggressive. SHREDDED! BIG BACK! GET OUT! The font is bold. The colors are bold. Even the little photo at the top- want abs like these? It’s the epitome of the male gaze.

Hugh Jackman as wolverine on the cover of a magazine representing the male gaze

The Epitome of the Female Gaze

In contrast, this photo is of the same Hugh Jackman, but it couldn’t look more different. His face is clean shaven. He’s wearing a soft sweater with a soft blue color. His hands are on his hips in a more neutral position rather than in a gross and threatening manner from the other magazine. He’s got a soft smile. His hair is well managed, but a little messy. The fonts are gentler. The colors are more subtle. Even the words on this magazine cover are softer. “The Joy of Keepsakes.” and “Recipe for romance.” The epitome of the female gaze.

Hugh Jackman on a magazine representing the female gaze

So why does this matter?

In a world and more specifically a country that has been fighting mercilessly to take our rights away, it’s even more important now to have media that represents the way literally anyone but straight white men view the world. But even more than that, I think it’s valuable for us as women to be able to see ourselves the way we view others, which is why I created Female Gaze Photography. I’ve explained that in another blog post that I’ll link here:

6 Female Gaze Photos taken by Me

If you want female gaze photos of yourself