The female gaze

In pop culture, the best compliment a male fictional character or celebrity could get last summer was to be “written by a woman”. Gen Z calls it the female gaze and is using it as a compliment for fictional characters or the image that the media portrays of public people.

The media calls it the female gaze and it describes the point of view of people other than cisgender men and how they perceive it. But the female gaze can also be a feminist approach according to Laura Mulvey’s theory and its counterpart, the male gaze. Through the female gaze, the focus lies on what is felt or how is something understood. In contrast, the male gaze focuses on what is shown. It shows the limited male view and how certain men perceive the world as their stage and movie at the same time.

 Judging between women

The male gaze shows the perspective of heterosexual men in arts and literature. Therefore, it is objectifying women and only focusing on their sex appeal. In short, they are objects of desire. For example, female characters in action movies have no depth in character, like Megan Fox in the Transformer movies. She plays the role of Mikaela Banks, a smart girl that knows a lot about cars. But instead of showing the character’s mechanic-like skills, the viewers only saw the actress in revealing clothes. Other examples can be found in certain video games, stereotypical action movies and music videos, such as Perra by J Balvin or Taste by Tyga as they use female bodies as props. Women are used to satisfy the male audience.

Growing up in a world that supports and fuels this perspective, women feel the need to look sexy all the time. They put themselves under pressure to look perfect, even when there are no men around. Some women feel accomplished if they are desired by men; this creates a subliminal competition between women.

 The rise of the pretty boys

Written by a man, means you as a woman are seen as super sexy by heterosexual males.

The female gaze is a new approach to portray characters, not only by women but also by people who are trans and/or nonbinary.

The female gaze was created to show the beauty in femininity and not focus on the body only.

In general, the female gaze doesn’t represent hyper-masculinity to show attractive men. Softer-looking men are becoming popular. The alternative standard of aggressive men with sizzled bodies, like the actors in Magic Mike, for example, is slowly worn out. Softer and gender-nonconforming men are more popular among women. A reason for that could be that women tend to feel safer with innocent-looking guys and less threatening men are seen as more reliable than hypermasculine ones. This new hype is often not really understood by some people.

Effects on young people and our society

One should consider that many young people spend a lot of time reading books, watching movies and listening to music. They get inspired by and also learn from them, consciously as well as unconsciously. Because of that, they develop a perception of the world based on what they see and read. People tend to base their self-esteem on how well they fit the standards and their ultimate goal is to be desired by their preferred gender.

On this ground, both of these gazes can be pretty blunt and harsh dynamics and lead to hurt young people. For example, men don’t have to either be soft-looking or super masculine and women don’t have to act sexy to be seen.

In addition to that, there is no way to fit into both standards and it forces us to put people into boxes. Our whole existence turns into a performance for someone else’s perspective. 

Author: Lea Isler

Women’s soccer: Kick it like a girl

I remember when we were on holiday at campsite and I wanted to play soccer with some guys. One of them didn’t want me to be on his team because according to him “girls can’t play soccer”. After I proved to him that girls are in fact able to play soccer by scoring several goals and leaving him astonished, he went quiet really quickly.

The stereotype of soccer being a sport only played by men is widespread. And you can’t really blame people because even though the women’s soccer teams are quite successful, you hardly ever hear of them in the news, and you can barely watch their matches in free TV.

The history of women’s soccer started in 1884 as the first female team was founded in Great Britain. In 1921 women were not allowed to play inside the stadiums because it was “not appropriate and should therefore not be supported”. In 1970, only 52 years ago, the ban was cancelled. Since then, women’s soccer has grown, but never got as big as men’s soccer.

Did you know that the women’s team of the Vfl Wolfsburg won the DFB Cup eight times in the last 10 years? That’s more than most of the men’s teams and still hardly anybody knows about them.

Even in my career as a soccer player I was often confronted with stereotypes. Some thought I wasn’t feminine enough because I played soccer. They thought it was too rough for women. I never really cared about these comments, even though I thought they were annoying. Many boys revised their opinion after the saw me play. Many tried to compliment me by saying “you’re really good at soccer for a girl”. This is not a real compliment, in my opinion. Either I’m good at playing soccer or I’m not. It has nothing to do with my gender. I am capable of competing with men and I don’t want to be put in a special position.

Stereotypes dominate our lives. Many sports are categorized into “male” and “female”. Any rough sports like soccer, football or rugby are considered to be more suitable for men, whereas creative sports like ballet, dancing or gymnastics are seen to be more feminine. I think that everybody should be able to the sports they love without being confronted with annoying comments. Maybe someday it can be considered an honest compliment to “kick it like a girl”.

Author: Leonie Janke

OK Millennials?

How the online fight between Gen Z and the Millennials escalated

Not far ago, in 2019, millennials were mocking the baby boomer generation by using the phrase “OK Boomer“. Now the tables have turned, and the Millennials are no longer the revolutionary generation making fun of the old established attitudes. Millennials are now the target of online jokes regarding their fashion by the younger generation, Gen Z. 

Would you describe your clothing style as trendy? If so, it is likely that you can be considered as a part of Gen Z. Or do you still love to wear your skinny jeans and side-parted hair like a typical millennial? These simple preferences regarding different fashion choices have divided the internet and led to a generational conflict on various online platforms. Whereas some Gen Zs have claimed that skinny jeans are now out of fashion and should be “cancelled“, some Millennials have fought back, protesting that no one can prescribe what to wear. This whole conflict escalated quickly, leading to hate songs and mocking videos. In my opinion, the people who took part in this online fight damaged the reputation of their generation. Especially for the Millennials, regarding their age, an online fight about fashion was not the most mature idea.

Millennials vs Gen

According to the Pew Research Centre, anyone born between 1981 and 1996 is a Millennial. The generation afterwards, Gen Z, is classified between 1997 and 2012. This categorisation implies that you share experiences with other people of your generation, like major political events, the economic situation of your country or the cultural and social influences through popular culture. Millennials were often criticised in newspapers as lazy in their career, unable to commit to their relationships and even as Facebook addicted. Yet, they are seen as adaptable, tolerant and open-minded. If you compare these to the stereotypical characteristics of a Gen Z, many are relatively similar. Like Millennials, Gen Zs are connected through social media, using Instagram and TikTok. Critics perceive their multitasking abilities as a lack of focusing. Additionally, Gen Z shares the liberal tolerant political view but appears more vocal and active, as seen in the “Fridays for Future“ movement. Another difference is Gen Z’s preference in working, where not flexibility but independence is favoured. As you can see, these two differ in some areas, like fashion, but are not oppositional. 

Do you identify with your generation?

After the controversial online dispute, I asked myself if I really identify with my generation. Even though I am part of Generation Z, I often understand references only for 90s kids. So, it is possible to share certain attributes with the other generation. Especially for people born between two generations, it can be hard to be sorted into one. Besides this, you sometimes don’t want to be associated with your generation because your opinions aren’t mainstream. Of course, a generation unites lots of people, each individually and differently. It is important to remember that your generation doesn’t determine you. It is just a construct to analyse the social structures and the influences of the time you were raised.

Author: Sandra Haupt

Who run the world?

A special kind of girls!

Hollywood is changing. Movements like #metoo or the Weinstein-scandal prove that actresses are still facing sexual harassment and discrimination in the show business. So, while female artists start to challenge their position in the movie metropolis, how come the characters they so often embody are still tied to old-fashioned clichés?

“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” vs. The Tomboy

First, we have the beautiful, pink, lipstick loving, girlie girl. She is totally into fashion and … well, that’s about it. Sometimes portrayed as a bit silly, always very superficial and definitely hyper-sensitive like Gossip Girls’ Serena van der Woodsen or Legally Blondes’ Elle Woods. Mean Girls’ Regina George was at least given the potential to be the villain of her movie by creating the proto-typical evil first cheerleader who embodies all the clichés and is simply unlikeable. However, this cliché does not apply to all girls and even Hollywood realized it so they decided to widen the field of female characters by creating the absolute opposite of the girlie: the tomboy. Mulan and Game of Thrones’ Aria Stark are probably two of the most prominent examples. This type of woman is portrayed with traits that society usually attributes to men, like fierceness and a thirst for adventures. Sounds like a cool character! Well, if you enjoy wearing men’s clothes and being friend-zoned by all the boys, it is. This character is nearly always bold and funny, but never anyone’s crush or even allowed a bit of sexiness. You say they are totally different? I say they have a few things in common… Sure, their interests and character traits differ massively but they have two things in common: First, every female character always looks effortlessly stunning. And second, their whole existence serves one purpose: make the female lead look better.

The Female Lead

We all know and love them: Hermione Granger, Princess Leia or Katniss Everdeen. The woman you really want to be. Obviously, they, too, look stunning and gorgeous throughout the entire movie. The difference is they are not aware of it and don’t even care about it. This character depends on its differentiation to the girls around her. She is prettier than the girlie girl without even trying, cooler than the tomboy without caring and also smart, funny and everything else. By highlighting her specialness, the other girls seem inferior, undesirable and even pathetic.

Is Netflix our Silver Lining?

To be clear, I like Hermione and Katniss as much as everyone else does because they are strong and fight for what is right. But would it be so terrible if they were shown ironing their hair in the morning? 3-dimensional characters like Jess Day from New Girl are rare: she’s a bit weird but embraces it, she is not cool about sex or relationships, she dresses funny and yet she doesn’t want to change. Her character is loved by her friends not because, but despite of her sometimes annoying habits. We need more female role-models like her and Netflix is giving them to us with Set it Up’s dedicated, hard-working Harper, who is truly interested in Baseball and too nice to the people around her, or with Love and Monsters’ Aimee. She also has an impressive personality, as she not only manages to survive the apocalyptic appearance of the monsters, but also serves as the leader of an entire colony of survivors. While those women are, again, of course breathtakingly beautiful they still are fantastic characters as they struggle with insecurities and make mistakes but prove themselves through hard work and their positive character traits. So, while Hollywood kind of fails to improve their girls, Netflix shows how character development is done.

Author: Anja Sonn

Summer Games Done Quick

Watch your childhood memories get destroyed

Seeing how our issue this term is nearing its final production steps, there has been a lot of discussion on stereotypes within our team. And what better stereotypes are there than the ones revolving around gaming and gamers? Well, let me destroy the misconception of sweaty and unsocial gamers in the next few minutes as they destroy your favourite games in the meantime!

Gotta go fast!

First of all, you might ask what I’m talking about. The “Games Done Quick“ event takes place twice a year in America and is livestreamed for free on a platform called „“. Gamers from around the world met up this past week in Bloomington, Minnesota, to showcase their skills in some of the most classic video games out there but also a bunch of new releases. I already hear you say “Pff, video games don’t take any skill. It’s just pressing a bunch of buttons.“. I’ll have to pull a Trump on this one and tell you you’re wrong. Remember that time you got stuck on that one dungeon in “The Legend of Zelda“ as a child and you just couldn’t figure out the solution? How about just entering a series of button presses in the exact right amount of time to launch yourself over the entire thing, maneuver skilfully to the desired spot on the map in the dark – because obviously the developers had not intended for you to take that route – and just slay the boss of the level without having any of the tools available you’d have access to if you took the normal way around. This is what’s called a “speedrun“ in the community: the abuse of ingame mechanics to beat a game within a fraction of the time needed, compared to playing normally. Months of preparation go into every single one of these runs that have been featured during this past week. Even more impressing that the players don’t only show off incredible tricks but also entertain the audience at the same time and try to explain what they’re doing. So if you were worried you wouldn’t understand what’s even happening on your screen, fear not!

The good cause: Médecins Sans Frontières

There’s a massive production team behind these events every year. Most of them coming straight from the community themselves. And – to my knowledge – all of them organising this on a voluntary basis, though there are known sponsors and brands to help out. During the stream, the audience can donate money which entirely goes to a good cause. The winter production forwards it to cancer research and the summer production to “Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)“; a non- profitable international medical humanitarian organization created by doctors and journalists in France in 1971. MSF gives emergency aid to people affected by wars, epidemics, famine, natural disasters and man-made disasters, or areas where there is no health care available. It provides this help to all people, regardless of their race, religion or political beliefs. (definition taken from Noteworthy as well that MSF have won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999. They act on a set of 5 fundamental medical rules: Impartiality, Independence, Neutrality, Bearing witness, as well as being transparent and accountable. An overall great cause to donate money for, right? Something a few hundred thousand other people have thought, too, and they’ve raised a whooping $3,003,839. So not only have there been new time records set for some of these memorable games, but also a new record in the charity’s history that started in 2011.

With all that being said, I can only implore you to go check out this great exhibition if you’re interested in video games. There’s over 100 games being showcased so there should be something available for all tastes and ages. The livestream itself has ended yesterday, but all the runs have been recorded and uploaded to the „Awesome Games Done Quick“ YouTube channel. For legal reasons, I can’t link you directly. Go check it out and enjoy! Same goes for Doctors without Borders. Their homepage is incredibly informative. Go check that out, too!

Author: Tobias Lorenz

Disclaimer: Neither the author nor anyone on the eMAG team is involved in “Awesome Games Done Quick“. This is the author’s own opinion and he has not been paid to promote the event.