Updated: Mar 10
Internalised male gaze
Have you ever noticed yourself walking differently or push your hair back over your shoulder hoping you catch the eyes of a man casually walking by? This is the symptoms of a societal induced view of ourselves. The internalised male gaze is an extension of the male gaze theory, which is the objectification of women in media. It’s used to please men in order to promote a product or company by “showing off” a beautiful woman. The male gaze theory can be seen in adverts as well as movies and TV shows. Women are taught that certain looks and ideals are what men want and therefore act and dress accordingly. So how does this effect women and their own views of themselves? Women are brought up in a critical society which judges them on their appearance first and mind second. This is a conscious idea in both men and women. This is what leads women to objectify themselves.
The male gaze is a feminist theory in which women’s appearances are depicted in arts. This theory is titled as ‘the way of seeing’ and involves Freudian and Lacanian concepts such as scopophilia. This is a dressed-up way of saying that many phycologists believed this way of objectifying women was a great way to manipulate men. The internalised male gaze theory is the idea that women objectify themselves for men in order to win affection and validation. However, the objectification isn’t seclusive to men. Many women have come forward and spoken about their views on other women. A great article written by K.M. Sims in 2016 spoke about the objectification of women from the viewpoint of an LGBTQ+ member. Is this article she says “I, a woman and a resolute feminist, have knowingly and willingly participated in the gross objectification of other women and, thus, turned into a person I can only describe as a total and complete douchebag. A “douchebag” is any person that stereotypically prescribes to a patriarchal sense of the world, who has a tendency to be old school, and mostly has no fucking clue. A “douchebag” also has the solitary duty to get as many women as they feasibly can into bed (a pursuit that I was much too keen on during the second coming of my newfound lesbian adolescence).” This piece of writing shows how we as a society are brought up in a period which emphasises beauty, specifically sexually.
When we see ourselves in the reflection of a window or in a mirror. We shouldn’t see ourselves as a body for others to look at. A great quote I’ve grown to appreciate is that the painting knows it’s worth before it was looked at and after. We don’t need the validation of others to know our beauty is worth something. When you walk down the street hold your head high and remember that only a true Goddess finds validation from herself.
- Briony G