You’re on morning run on the beach, or doing a little yoga, or collecting shells with your toddler. And you’re rockin’ your MI OLA bikini – it fits, feels great, and stays put, just what you need because it’s summertime, you’re at the shore, and you’re on the move. You’re enjoying the sunshine and warm breezes. Basically completely blissed out and in the moment.
Two men jog past. You see – no, you feel, the male gaze. We’ve all been there.
Although it’s a popular topic in today’s media, the idea of the male gaze was introduced in 1975 by filmmaker Laura Mulvey, a scholar, and filmmaker. She wrote an essay exploring how visual arts, especially films, sometimes frame women in provocative and sexualized situations. This perspective defines the woman as an object of desire – not only for the other characters in the film – but also for the viewer watching the scenes with a ‘male gaze.’
And today, while making memories on a beautiful summer day, you’ve been hit with the male gaze. What do you do?
Remember why you’re wearing a bikini. You may have heard the phrase ‘clothes make the man (or woman).’ Your fashion choices give clues about who you are as a person and what you see as your role.
So why are you wearing a bikini?
- Well, you are at the beach. What else are you going to wear, a snowsuit?
- You’re confident in your skin. You feel good about you. You’re living your truth with power and purpose. You’ve created your own path and are making your way, head up and looking forward.
- With confidence comes ambition. You’re determined and committed to your health, your family, and a life lived fully. This includes meeting your seven-minute mile time, or just running the first mile.
- And you respect yourself. You like the choices you’ve made, the plans you have, and yes, the clothes you wear to express your strength and your spirit.
Your bikini may show your style, but it doesn’t tell your whole story. You are more than what you wear, and the male gaze doesn’t see it. Remind yourself of this.
- You’re passionate about life. Always curious, on-the-go, and focused optimistically on what you can become.
- You enjoy new experiences. Whether it’s traveling the world, going on the school camping trip, or finally tackling a paddle board, you’re eager to try and learn and grow – either on your own or with family and friends.
- You have your own views about the world. You listen and watch and discuss. You don’t take social media, or any media at face value and go along, just because everyone else does. You form your own opinions and have reasons to back them up.
You can find your voice in these strengths. You know what you know. You know what’s important to you. You know who you are today and where you want to go next. The male gaze may still be part of how some men interact with you, but we’re well past 1975.
Stereotypes are being challenged more frequently, and some changes are happening. Here’s how to be part of the change.
- Talk about it. You are sexy, beautiful and delightful – and you’re also an athlete, an adventurer and a human being. It’s okay to be all of those and to tell people those truths.
- Be a spark. Staying true to yourself makes you an example to other women. Seeing you confidently wearing a chic MI OLA bikini and moving forward on your adventures may inspire others to step up, think for themselves, and embrace their life.
Meet the male gaze with a direct look. Keep going. Your life awaits and you’re not going to be held back by anything.