Male Gaze, translated from English, means in Spanish male look and refers to those audiovisual narratives that portray women from the point of view of a man, heterosexual and white, promoting stereotypes that reserve and sexualize it.
Being present in most entertainment products consumed by society, many women - unconsciously - build their identity and value based on that look.
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Male Gaze, its origin in the cinema
La teórica británica Laura Mulvey creó el concepto en 1973 en el ensayo Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema en el que hizo un análisis, a partir de las teorías psicoanalíticas de Sigmund Freud y Jacques Lacan, de la participación femenina en el séptimo arte.
La pionera en el análisis feminista del cine dice en este ensayo que la mayoría de las películas retratan a la mujer como objeto de deseo y placer, porque sus personajes son creados por hombres.
Mónica Lloret Carrillo, profesora de la Escuela de Humanidades y Educación del Tec de Monterrey, Campus Estado de México, agrega que la participación femenina, su cuerpo, sus diálogos, su actuación, se dan bajo la mirada de un hombre que necesariamente es heterosexual, blanco, perteneciente a la cultura Occidental.
The Male Gaze is not exclusive to cinema, applies to analyze all visual narratives where women appear: series, commercial, soap operas, streaming transmissions, advertising, etc..
How to identify the Male Gaze?
The actress is young, "beautiful", "sexy", thin, appears with tiny clothes that show her body;The camera makes close up in its breasts or legs.
While the woman has a role in history, her dialogues, action and outcome depend or subordinate the man.
From a critical look you can say that it is as if all spectators were men and the woman appeared in the film to meet their expectations.
The teacher in humanistic studies by the TEC considers that it is a problem because "women are building our identity from those visual referents and we unconsciously believe that we are valuable or our role is decisive to the extent that we are a subject of desire".
Historically, women have had void or little access to capital.The way of having a better life has been subordinating to a man who does and the tool for it is the "beauty", to beat others in the competition.
The academic recognizes that this has changed in recent years, but the Male Gaze reinforces stereotypes such as women is "weak", "submissive" or that "it cannot make its own decisions".
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Heroin, but "sexy"
Patriarchy is one of the organization systems present worldwide that puts with greater rights, visibility and power to the heterosexual white man in front of others: women, racialized people, people with disabilities, LGBT+community, etc..
The entire society assumes as normal to patriarchy and, therefore, it is so easy that it sneaks everywhere, says Lloret Carrillo.
Audiovisual products can reproduce it, without realizing it and putting the female figure as an object of consumption.These are some examples:
Princess Leia, played by Carrie Fisher, in the Galaxias War, Episode VI The Return of Jedi, is the slave of Jabba and appears in a bikini.
She frees herself alone from being who had her deprived of liberty, but she does it with a tiny outfit that shows parts of her body while the male characters come out with suits that cover the body.
Another case is that of Halle Berry, who was one of the first black heroines in the cinema, but did not get rid of the Male Gaze.There is a scene in the movie 007: another day to die when he leaves the sea with an orange bikini and a knife.
The Bechdel test
¿Cómo saber si hay brecha de género en la película que estoy viendo? El Test de Bechdel es una herramienta que se utiliza para evaluar productos culturales audiovisuales con diálogos.
The requirements are three: that there are at least two female characters, who have a name and have a conversation between them (and the subject does not relate to men).
"There are very few products that pass the test, not even the films whose protagonists are heroines," says Mónica Lloret Carrillo.
And although some films pass the test, the Male Gaze is still present, because it is a problem that is reproduced systemically in society and has to do with the frames that are chosen when a woman comes out or with the role that is assigned to the Act.
For example, it is Male Gaze not to see an older woman, with fallen stretch marks and breasts, in a sexual scene but like grandmother.
The specialist invites "having a refined look, problematizing female representations, making bias visible and building new narratives".The solution is not to stop going to the cinema but to see it critically.