Serving the male gaze

A woman is supposed to be seen, gazed upon, and the seer that matters the most , is a man. She fits the standards of aesthetic that appeals to a man. She is a woman, and she is written by a man. She moves carefreely, with the playfulness of a child and sensuality of a woman. She is supposed to be looked at, and that’s her value. She is a fantasy, a male fantasy. She exists, only to be seen and admired by him.

She is a representation of his fantasy, and he finds her in every woman. And when there is  demand, there has to be supply, hence she was and is constructed by many of us. Many of us, have created a version of her, that exists only to serve that male gaze, stare almost. I don’t know how many of us would accept it, I definitely am hesitant and was bit ashamed to accept that there is a version of her in me. Because how could I give in to this singular version of a woman that is accepted as ‘the woman” by a man.

Vygotsky’s theory of social development in social relationships, proposed that children develop on the basis of social interaction. He suggested that we are born with four elementary mental function, attention, sensation, perception and memory.  Our social and cultural environment allows us to use these elementary functions to develop higher cognitive functions. The zone of proximal development happens when we are helped by others. If we assume a community where boys are expected to learn and succedd while girls are expected to be pretty and mainly to be aesthetically appealing.
Both are in zone of proximal development to walk, yet the boy is provided with opportunities to practice and develop in a playroom, he is encouraged to use and explore the equipments and eventually learn to stand and walk by using those equipments. The girl also has the potential to walk but does not receive any support or encouragement to learn and explore the playroom, she is not expected by her environment to, instead she is encouraged to be looked at and encouraged to understand her role to be pretty.

Vygotsky also suggested that, Inner speech develops from external speech, by gradual process of internalization. Thought itself is developed by conversation. This would mean that the internalization of the normalization to be looked at by others, mainly the main character, a male, a patriarch, by a woman can be tracked back to a kind of outer speech and narrative, she was exposed to, at a younger age.

This theory does give the answer to my why,  yet leaves me unsettled by the manifestation of that internalization by me and by so many other women, girls.

It is unsettling because, it reduces a woman to her body parts, to an object, to a possession, an inferior secondary character, who is acceptable, as long as she is appealing to the male gaze, as long as she acts as if her purpose is to be looked at, as long as she is passively pleasing and fits the parameter of beauty set by him, as long as she is serving his gaze.


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