Dive Deep

Trying to shake off the male gaze means arming yourself with insight. Here are some of the resources that helped me understand how the male gaze came to be — how the masculine, heterosexual perspective has determined the portrayal of women throughout history, and how it continues to structure gender norms today.

Mug up on your male gaze

In this seminal essay, John Berger discusses the implications of the male gaze, from art to advertising. Read this if you’ve ever wondered about whether showing unclothed bodies is inherently problematic or potentially empowering (spoiler: it’s all about the difference between nakedness and nudity).

Follow that with a shot of rebellion

Long before #MeToo, the anonymous feminist art collective The Guerrilla Girls has protested the lack of women artists and photographers in the world’s most prestigious museums, as well as the bad behaviour of the male artists celebrated in the same galleries. Their video poses a question: exactly what kind of male imagination lies behind the famous, revered images of women?

Explore The Male Graze

See how it shows up in Hollywood

This incisive documentary picks apart the onscreen portrayals of women that are so commonplace they now seem natural to us. It reveals how the male gaze, by informing so much of our media, shapes cultural norms and creates real consequences for women.

Acknowledge nuance

Drop in on this conversation with poet Amanda Chong, as she talks about how the male gaze—traditionally enforced by male artists, directors, photographers—can be so hard for women to escape.

The complex and pernicious effects of the male gaze can easily feel overwhelming, and I sometimes wonder if we can ever unshackle ourselves from it.

But I’ve found that an antidote is to take what I see with a pinch of salt and a strong dose of comic relief. If you’re ready for the next step, then Tread Mindfully as you navigate pop culture.