The Gendered “Gaze”

“Of Mother Nature and Marlboro Men …”

Genderization in the media


Carl Jr Advertising Campaign, 2005

The “male gaze”, a term first referred to by Laura Mulvey, is the way in which women and the world are depicted from a masculine point of view, by the visual arts, as objects for male pleasure.

Feminist film critic Mulvey introduced the term in her 1975 essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”. In her essay, Mulvey posits that gender power asymmetry is a controlling force in cinema and constructed for the pleasure of the male viewer, which, in turn, has its basis in patriarchal ideologies and discourses.

Consisting of three component perspectives, the person behind the camera, the characters within the text, and the spectator, the “male gaze” occurs when the audience is placed into the perspective of a heterosexual male by the camera. Females are typically (or stereo-typically) displayed on two different levels: as an object of erotic desire for the characters in the text, and as an object of desire for the “spectator”.

The male is portrayed as a dominant power, whilst the female is shown as being passive and subordinate.


Mulvey, Linda. (1975). ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”. [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 26 February 2017)



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