Fighting Against the Male Gaze in a Relationship

Man staring at woman

Men tend to be depicted as the dominating gender, who are really focused on this funny thing called sex. My mom taught me this lesson at a very young age. Though I haven't researched the science behind this claim, I do know that men have a lot of social and individual expectations of women that cause us to feel uncomfortable. Women are pressured and manipulated into behaving and looking a certain way in relationships, even if we don't want to. We have to look perfect, act submissive, and be quiet. What strategies do you use to overcome what guys may expect from you? What can you do to be content in your own skin without the pressure of a man's wants in your head? My goal is to guide you through the ways of fighting against these patriarchal systems. 

The male gaze dominates social media. Many ‘funny’ Instagram pages, for example, depict women practically naked and flaunting off their bodies in front of the camera. Men usually follow these pages, so this type of media is aimed at grabbing their attention. As women, we can't do anything to change this. I hate that my boyfriend might occasionally see those videos when he scrolls through Instagram. Do I have to change who I am as a woman because of that? Not at all. There are a lot of men out there who view women as toys. They don't always see us as human beings with feelings. How can we deal with this? Well, you can't do much but be yourself. A real man knows what he has in front of him. If his eye is turned by the photoshopped ideal of femininity, then he is not for you. 

Oftentimes, men in relationships expect explicit images, like nude selfies. They feel they own the right to see your body. Newsflash: your body, your choice, even in a relationship. If you want to send nudes, great. If you don’t, no pressure. You shouldn't feel compelled to show off just to please a man. Men should look at us for who we are on the inside rather than just how we look on the outside. The size of your breasts or even the shape of your body shouldn't matter. Everyone is unique and beautiful in their own way. If a man can't recognize your beauty beyond what you show on the outside, he's not worth your time. 

If a man spends time talking to you and gets to know you as you truly are, he is worth your time. This is crucial to know before getting into a serious relationship with a man. You don't want to assume that they are someone they're not. Take things slow, give them time to show who they really are. There are a lot of men out here who only like women based on their looks. They are just looking at her from the outside and thinking that they love her. Love doesn't work like that. Some men may admire your beauty, but they are only interested in what they think you can offer them sexually. As women, this is objectifiying and demeaning. We deseve to be appreciated and cherished like a rose, not gawked at like flashy lights.

Since not all men are solely guided by sex, please be patient when it comes to getting into a long-term relationship. Do not move forward if you are not comfortable or ready for it. Do not talk to them anymore if they’ve made their unfavorable intentions clear. Don't get caught up in something you can't get out of. Before you move forward, make sure everything is fine and comfortable within you. Do what makes you happy, and always please yourself before any man. 

Written by: Audre Arnett

Instagram: @infinityaudreee



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  • Pam

    Thank you for your message. I’m 68 years old and still run into men that think women are sex objects.They think that the older you get and have been married you need a man to release your sexual energy. Lol. I have a bob aka battery operated boyfriend. Now Bob doesn’t mow the grass or do the dishes but he gets the job done for what he is designed for.

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