When we talk about the “gaze” in film and visual art, we’re referring to the way that the camera or the artist’s perspective shapes the way we see the subject. Traditionally, the “gaze” in film and art has been male-dominated, with male directors and artists often depicting women as objects of desire to be looked at and consumed by the male gaze.
In recent years, however, there has been a growing movement toward the “female gaze,” a term used to describe a mode of looking that is centered on the female perspective. The female gaze is not simply the opposite of the male gaze; rather, it is a different way of looking that seeks to represent women as subjects rather than objects.
The female gaze is about more than just who is behind the camera or who is creating the art. It’s about how we see and represent women, and how we challenge the ways in which they have been objectified and dehumanized in art and media.
The female gaze is characterized by a number of traits, including:
- Empathy: The female gaze seeks to understand and empathize with its subjects, rather than simply objectifying them for the pleasure of the viewer.
- Authenticity: The female gaze seeks to represent women in a way that is authentic and true to their experiences, rather than relying on stereotypes and cliches.
- Complexity: The female gaze recognizes that women are complex, multi-dimensional beings, and seeks to represent them as such.
- Agency: The female gaze portrays women as active agents in their own lives, rather than passive objects to be acted upon by men.
Examples of films that employ the female gaze include “Carol,” “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” and “The Beguiled,” all of which were directed by women and focus on the experiences of female characters in a way that is sensitive, nuanced, and empathetic.
The female gaze is an important concept that challenges traditional ways of seeing and representing women in art and media. By centering women’s perspectives and experiences, the female gaze offers a more complex and nuanced understanding of gender and sexuality, and creates space for new voices and perspectives to be heard.