How to Avoid Living for the Male Gaze

Man staring at woman

The male gaze is the perspective of how men view the world, which inherently sexualizes and objectifies women. Pop culture - especially in the early 2000s - places immense pressure on women to act a certain way to appease heterosexual men. This has become so embedded in our culture that it is a subconscious for women to adapt their behavior to suit the patriarchy. If you find yourself falling into this trap, here are some tips to avoid living for the male gaze:

1. Wear What YOU want to wear

As women, we find ourselves considering what features men like about us, and highlighting those features through clothing. It might be an uncomfortable top, or a flattering dress that hits all the “right” angles.

Not dressing for the male gaze doesn’t mean you can’t wear feminine or revealing clothes. It’s all about the intention behind your wardrobe. If you simply have a preference for short shorts, more power to you! However, if you feel the need to show more skin to satisfy the men around you, then there is a problem. Whether you wear baggy sweats or crop tops, the only person you should be dressing for is you. 

2. Feel Free to Share Your Opinion

Adhering to the male gaze means agreeing with your male peers and engaging in conversations that only they are interested in. If you’re interacting with both men and women, and you feel the men dominating the conversation, try to switch the conversation to a topic where the women can actively engage. This brings the women together and it gives them an opportunity for them to express their opinions.

3. Question Yourself

When presenting yourself to the world, ask why you act a certain way. Why do you feel the need to be quiet? Why do you always apologize? Why do you say “yes” all the time? Or clean up before the party is even over? Oftentimes, we do these things to satisfy the male gaze without even knowing it! Our subconscious is trained to seek male validation, which can be mentally draining.

While these steps won’t completely stop you from adhering to the male gaze, they provide a solid foundation to encourage mindfulness as you move forward. 


Written by: Sera Bunca

Instagram: @serabunca

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