Nu comme le jour où je suis né

On Being Objectified

Early morning

Okay, I am a man. Not so long ago, I wrote about the male gaze. Then, I wondered if there was such a thing as the female gaze. My research took me to someplace I didn’t expect. The female gaze is about women looking at women, not at men. Of course women do look at men, but not in the same way. So much for a male’s proud display of his “assets.”

My wife confirmed this, sort of, with a comment about why she takes time to dress well and do her hair, etc. Since she knows that I love how she looks regardless of whether or not she is in very casual clothes or dressed to kill, she tells me she dresses for being seen by others, specifically by women. Women evaluate each other, perhaps more than men evaluate women. Why? Perhaps it is about comparing oneself to others because one is self-critical. I won’t speculate any further as that is something women need to answer, if an answer is to be found.

Yet, women do look at men in terms of deciding whether or not a man is suitable for a relationship, for mating; or more suitable to remain a friend or just as an acquaintance. When it comes to relationship material, the hair, the head, and the butt are the primary zones of interest. When it comes to the penis which men feel is vital to their identity, here is what one woman said in relationship to this:

“Penis-obsession is a male thing, not a female thing. The reason we don’t like unsolicited dick picks from random strangers is that penises, to be frank, just aren’t that attractive. Disembodied penises even less so.

During the years that I spent in China, I learned that women chose mates with no regard for their looks or their physical assets. A career, a place to live [apartment], transportation [car preferred], and social status were the primary factors to be considered. Though I was in my sixties walking down the street with my wife beside me, a young woman hit on me suggesting that I should divorce me wife and marry her. There had to be at least a 40 year age gap. I had one extra qualification – I was a foreigner. It was an ego boost until I realised that they didn’t really see me. I was just a projection. I was objectified.

Men objectify women and women objectify men. It happens and it is predominantly a biological response. One sees it in the animal world, especially with birds who strut their stuff hoping to be chosen by a female who is ready to mate and procreate. I doubt that the male gaze can be eliminated as it is necessary for the survival of the species. However, I do think that men can behave better, much better.

I still gaze at my wife and I do catch her gazing at me. Like I said, it is hardwired into our bodies. That we still enjoy gazing in our seventies is a blessing, not a curse.

Click on this link to listen to an audio version of this blog post.


  1. Robert

    I was with a lady who was purchasing a few clothes. She kept asking if the color of the clothes look good on her, how is the fit, are they cute, etc. At first blush you would think vanity is driving this purchase, but it was more of a fear if being scrutinized by other women

    • skyclad

      Fear appears to drive most of human behaviour, that and joy.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: