Female Gaze

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"I think Michael has nice buns. Ha ha ha ha! I like buns. I think a butt is like the most awesome thing on a guy and if he doesn't have a nice butt, I don't even look twice."
—Karen Croney commenting on contestant Mike Reda at the Perry Ellis Hotbody Contest on Bikini Open 2: Celebrate Spring Break

The Female Gaze is a Gaze trope about the way a work is presented as from a female perspective or reflects female attitudes, either because of the creator's gender or because it is deliberately aimed at a female audience. While it can contribute to it, Female Gaze is not restricted to looking at sexy men but is more importantly about the expectations of how the (presumptive) audience relates to the work.

Female Gaze is (almost) a Distaff Counterpart to Male Gaze, the trope page for which is currently full of "ogling women" examples but extends beyond that into the stuff that's currently on Most Writers Are Male. We write "almost" because of the fact that Male Gaze is pervasive and the default for works aimed at mixed-gender audiences, whereas Female Gaze is mainly found in works that are either assumed to be exclusively for women, like soap operas, chick flicks, Shoujo Manga, or more idiosyncratic and personal works by female creators. Besides, it's only fair that if straight men and lesbians receive Fan Service, straight women and gay men should be able to get some of their own...

May overlap with Homosexual Male Gaze. Compare Eating the Eye Candy and Longing Look. See also Girl Notices First.

Examples of Female Gaze include:


Advertising[edit | hide | hide all]

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]


Comic Books[edit | hide]


Fan Fiction[edit | hide]

  • This trope, in combination with Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls, is possibly responsible for much of the more visceral male Hatedom of fanfiction. While we've come a long way from Slash being regarded automatically as Crack Pairing, there's still kind of a ghetto effect with it, since lots of fanboys get turned off by Slash, Het and even Original Flavor works featuring sexually-objectified male characters and assume fanfic is 'all gay'. (Women, of course, have to get used to the Male Gaze being the default in the media they consume.) Of course, this is all broad generalisations and straight young teenage boys do read and enjoy fic with a Female Gaze, especially in small fandoms or fandoms where it's only the Yaoi Fangirl Periphery Demographic who are old enough to spell.
  • Kanin in The Tainted Grimoire has, on at least one occasion, checked Luso out when he was training, in just swimming trunks.
  • Throughout My Immortal, Ebony checks out every hot guy she meets. She has a very specific fetish—mainly, looking like Gerard Way. Lucky for her, every hot male looks identical to Gerard Way, which must get very confusing. She never checks out girls, however, despite a throwaway mention of her being bisexual.


Film[edit | hide]


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Non-sexual example: In Judy Blume's Superfudge, when Peter is suffering a Potty Emergency because his little brother is taking his time on the toilet, the only alternative that comes to his mind is to wee on a large potted houseplant. A male author would probably have thought of him using the sink first, considering it's right there next to the toilet, but a female author (or reader) is more likely to recall male movie and TV characters whizzing on trees than to think of this option.
  • Elizabeth Peters' Summer of the Dragon has a moment early on where the narrator/protagonist watches a handsome, athletic man walking away from her. (She later refers to her reaction to the sight as "animal lust.")

I mean, if men think they are the only ones who like to study the movements of a well-constructed body, then they are kidding themselves, poor lambs.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • The X-Files episode directed by Gillian Anderson starts with the Male Gaze (camera just below armpit level, directed past Scully's bosom) and turns to Female Gaze (Mulder asleep in bed).
  • In both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, there is lots of this going on. Angel, in particular, seems to like being shirtless for absolutely no reason at all. And then there's Spike—who is the only one that's ever naked in sex scenes(whereas Buffy is completely clothed).
    • Which could well be symbolic either of the relationship and respective vulnerability status of the pair, or of the fact that a show about a vampire-slaying young woman with large amounts of character drama might just have a reasonably sized female demographic.
  • Amy Pond gets in on this when she watched the Doctor change clothes in Doctor Who. When asked if she was going to turn her back on him, she cheerfully replies "Nope!" (This also gave gleeful Matt Smith fans a Shirtless Scene.)
    • Of course, there's the entirety of the Russel T. Davies era. For example, the women in the show are consistently introduced face-first, rather than from the legs up, so the audience views them as subjects rather than objects; the Tenth Doctor is regularly lingered-over by the camera; and almost every recurring male character has had a Shirtless Scene.
  • Honestly, in Adam-12, we've got reasonably attractive actors in tight cop uniforms. Then there are Anvilicious seat-belt buckling scenes, and the camera likes to focus directly on Reed or Malloy's crotch while they perform the maneuver.
  • John Crichton in Farscape is given a wardrobe-upgrade to leather as the series progresses, involved in a variety of Fetish Fuel situations, is hit on by a majority of the main cast (and raped by one female villain), and is subject to a surprising amount of topless, rear-angle and crotch-level camera shots.
  • Eric Northman from True Blood at the beginning of season 3. Do I need to say anything more?
  • Supernatural becomes more and more dominated by the female gaze as the series progress. Admittedly, the entire cast was ridiculously attractive with plenty of Fan Service for everybody, but -starting around the middle of season two - Sam and Dean spend increasingly longer crying, hugging and being tied down to things.
    • Also, Sera Gamble(s?) , one of the lead writers used to write porn for women. So, yeah....
  • In Community episode Interpretive Dance Troy has to call Britta out on this because she won't stop looking down when talking to him while he is wearing a leotard.
  • In her Playboy video profile there's a scene in a diner in which Playmate Lindsey Vuolo is shown looking at the cook's butt. In real life the butt is her favorite male body part below the neck.
  • In 2004, when she was interviewed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno First Lady Laura Bush said that her personal trainer has a nice butt.
  • Although most of the fanservice on Game of Thrones is of the male gaze type, there is quite a bit of fanservice for those who appreciate muscular bodies. The first episode has a scene where Robb Stark, Jon Snow, and Theon Greyjoy get shaved and are all shirtless (this was actually done because footage from the pilot was shot months apart and the three characters have facial hair in certain scenes). Khal Drogo and most of the Dothraki males are almost all shirtless, as well. The series also showed a few shirtless scenes with Renly Baratheon and Loras Tyrell, who are lovers.
  • In this segment on The Doctors, women discuss what makes a good butt on a guy.

Music[edit | hide]

  • Gackt's solo career has been one long courtship of this trope. Whether he's appearing nude in photo shoots and TV commercials, or dancing suggestively while groping his chest, abs, and crotch, or ripping off his shirt in front of cheering crowds of women and men, Gackt is no stranger to the Female Gaze.


Video Games[edit | hide]


Web Comics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Doug Walker is more than aware of his large female fanbase and has been invoking this frequently. We're fairly sure that giving a blowjob to a joystick or having a minute long series of orgasm faces weren't meant for his male fans. Unfortunately there's a downside to putting himself in the stereotypically girl position, as he gets a gross amount of body-shaming and death/rape threats for "being slutty".
    • In general, That Guy With The Glasses invokes this unusually often. Especially notable in that by and large it's actually more common than the Male Gaze.
    • Apparently, Channel Awesome has discovered that this and suggestions that the male cast are hot for each other are the keys to attracting more female viewers.
    • As early as the brawl vlogs, Noah justified his constant directing the camera to Doug's butt and legs (who in turn, was crawling, bending over all the time and lifting up his jacket so we could get an even better look) as being for the ladies.
    • Speaking of Noah, SWS2 (with Sage, Critic and Joe) was a lot more objectifying than the first one with Chick, Goggles and Benzaie. Critic was shirtless, Sage was giving an offscreen blowjob and Spoony went on at length over how slutty his conquests were.
  • Done in Suburban Knights. While guys got Chick cleavage in the first part, Critic was the one to show the most skin and Wario!Jareth's crotch gets weaponized.
  • YouTube: Shirtless blogger Connor Murphy goes into a clothing store and asks them for advice on buying a shirt, who then tell him that he doesn't need one. When he performs the Fake Shirt Trick we find out that women think nude is the best men's shirt color.

Western Animation[edit | hide]