Have you ever heard of ‘the male gaze’?
A = yes!
B = yes but I don’t think it’s relevant to my life (comment 😊)
C = no?
D = no but I might look it up
E = I just looked it up and IT BLEW MY MIND (or at least it definitely made me consider things)
I remember when I first heard about ‘the male gaze’ as a wee 18 year old. I am not being hyperbolic when I say it changed my life. I was in the throws of anorexia, had a deep hate for my body, and I had never once had an orgasm during sex with a man. Then I heard about the male gaze.
Initially the term was coined for film analysis, but it can and has been extended to describe all elements of life. Essentially (and I am doing it a disservice here by being so brief), almost EVERYTHING we are ever presented with and consequently the way we are conditioned to think about our own bodies, personalities, lives, etc., is through the eyes and perspective of a man. Film, media, advertising, social situations, social ceremonies like marriage, etc., we are conditioned to think of all these things and consequently monitor our looks/behaviour/thoughts to appease men.
I cannot tell you how shocked I was when I sat for a while thinking about my life and realised it was true. This was one of the pivotal things that helped me get through my anorexia. I stopped subconsciously obsessing about what was attractive to men, acceptable to men, appealing to men, and envy-inducing to other women because of how we would be compared by men, and started to appreciate my body and all it’s ‘flaws’ for the fantastic thing it is. I starting eating food to nourish me, did exercise that was fun for me, wearing clothes that were comfy for me, and had sex in positions and for lengths of time that were enjoyable to me- and not pseudo-enjoyable to me because of how I was being perceived by my male partner.
If anyone can relate to this, please please I would whole heartedly consider looking more into the ways our society subconsciously functions, and empower yourself to live your life in ways that you enjoy. I am aware the ‘male gaze’ as a ‘feminist’ model has criticism, but even just the act of reevaluating all I took for granted and realising the bitter truths of society felt like getting a new pair of eyes to me. It may sound obvious, but the male gaze is so pervasive in society we often forget how obvious it is.
I think this is especially pervasive and prevalent for young impressionable girls (less so older women in my experience). So if you have a young daughter I urge you to look up on this and educate her on loving and valuing her body, her mind and her accomplishments for herself, not for how she appears to menkind.
Thank you for reading my midnight thoughts 😃❤️
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