31 May Male Gaze
In 2018, truly horrific allegations about Harvey Weinstein came to light. We won’t rehash them here, but suffice to say, he used his significant wealth and privilege to sexually coerce and abuse women. This behaviour is, in part, what spawned the #metoo movement. There are too many stories of abusive behaviour by powerful men to count, but the focus of this article won’t be on overt abuses. Rather, we’ll take a look at something a bit more insidious, a corruption that most people aren’t even aware of. This corruption is the male gaze phenomenon.
Everything you experience is filtered through your own subjective reality. Put another way, all of your memories, all of your cultural experiences, all of your wants and needs and desires, everything that you are – it all changes the way that you see the world. That means if you’re attracted to a certain type of person, you’re more likely to see them as an object of desire; sexual attraction will change the way you see the person. If you’re a filmmaker, you might decide that means they need to be shot “in a sexy way”; a focus on their most attractive features. For a very long time, most of the people behind films – directors, producers, cinematographers, screenplay writers, and the like – have been men. Not just any men, either; straight men. That means women were their objects of desire, and they were written and shot as such.
This has obvious repercussions – if every filmgoer is made to see women as objects of desire, rather than as fully fleshed out characters, it may start to filter into their everyday lives. Remember, the premise here is that we are the sum of all of our experiences, and that those very experiences shape the way we see the world: a positive feedback loop. When you’ve seen a thousand TV shows and movies where women are shot this way, it may become harder to see women as being more than just objects of desire. The problem is further compounded by the fact that cinema is a language, and that the vocabulary of any language shifts depending on it’s usage. When all of the cinematic tropes regarding women have been developed under the glare of the male gaze, it becomes that much harder to get away from it.
What does all of this have to do with a speakers agency, you might wonder? We are in the business of empowering as many people as possible, and that means empowering women. That’s why we’re an entertainment agency that has a whole category devoted to successful, talented, entrepreneuring women who will share their hard won experience with the people in your organization. No male gaze there; just real women who have lived through real experiences and succeeded in achieving their dreams.