"I think Michael has nice buns. Ha ha ha ha! I like buns. I think a butt is like the awesome thing on a guy and if he doesn't have a nice butt, I just, I don't even look twice."
— Karen Croney, Bikini Open 2: Celebrate Spring Break
The Female Gaze is a Gaze trope about the way a work is presented as from a female perspective or reflects female attitudes, either because of the creator's gender or because it is deliberately aimed at a female audience. While it can contribute to it, Female Gaze is not restricted to looking at sexy men but is more importantly about the expectations of how the (presumptive) audience relates to the work.
Female Gaze is (almost) a Distaff Counterpart to Male Gaze, the trope page for which is currently full of "ogling women" examples but extends beyond that into the stuff that's currently on Most Writers Are Male. We write "almost" because of the fact that Male Gaze is pervasive and the default for works aimed at mixed-gender audiences, whereas Female Gaze is mainly found in works that are either assumed to be exclusively for women, like soap operas, chick flicks, shoujomanga, or more idiosyncratic and personal works by female creators. Besides, it's only fair that if straight men and lesbians receive Fanservice, straight women and gay men should be able to get some of their own...
It's worth to note, however, that female gaze is often shot and structured differently fromMale Gaze, with some cynical and biased views resulting in actually empowering the male character instead of actually objectifying him. The same does not happen with Male Gaze because the female character is specifically shot as means of objectification. There are, of course, several exceptions on both sides.
May overlap with HomosexualMale Gaze. Compare Eating the Eye Candy and Longing Look.
The girls in the BOD Man football and soccer commercials. Actually, all of the BOD Man commercials fit this Trope since the female narrator always says "I want your bod!" at the end of the commercials.
The blonde watching the guy shooting pool in this Levi's 501 jeans commercial.
The entire premise of a famous Diet Coke commercial from 1994, involving a hunky construction worker.
The Bathtub Scenes from Tower Of God give you shots of the abs of Ja Wangnan, Hon Arkraptor, Nya Nia, Kang Horyang, Rapdevil and most importantly, 25th Baam.
Dragon Ball Z. Granted, of course, this is a series that prides itself on heavily muscled men beating the snot out of each other. Still, there are far more long panning shots up spandex-clad male bodies than can possibly be justified by dramatic reasons. May explain part of the show's relatively large female following.
All of the Shuffles are subjected to quite a bit of female gaze when suited up. It certainly helps that they all have different body types: George is the archetypical slender and graceful Bishōnen, Chibodee has a rather ample chest, Sai Saici is youthful-looking and Keet-ish, and Argo is very buff. Any wonder as to why this series is pretty popular among girls?
As bonuses, Domon and Chibodee get several Shirtless Scenes. Specially Chibodee, being a boxer and all and having a well-toned frame. Yay.
Gundam Wing. Trowa Barton. Shirtless Trowa from the Endless Waltz OVA. Wheeeee.
Treie Khushrenada. Bubble bath with rose petals. Ooooooh.
Gundam 00 has Tieria Erde's infamous Shower of Angst, as well as Alejandro Corner wearing only in a bath robe and Ribbons Almark in a midriff-baring top and white undies while cranking up the Ho Yay to worm his way up Alejandro's trust and affections.
And the Out of Clothes Experiences coming from the Trans-Am System don't spare anyone from either male or demale gaze. Setsuna and Mr. Bushido aka Graham are among the "victims", and even with all of his scars it's very nice to see Graham naked.
Mazinger Z: Kouji Kabuto. In the anime he was shown half-naked more often than Sayaka. (And this is the resident Ms. Fanservice we're talking about). And in the manga he visited a hot springs resort, and stripped himself once for no reason at all. Duke Fleed from UFO Robo Grendizer also "suffered" from it: an example was when Kouji went to Duke's room late in the night to discuss a matter was worrying him... and both of them were naked up waist during the conversation.
Basilisk: Once, as Oboro and Gennosuke walk through a very thin path in the mountains, we follow Oboro's gaze as she looks at Gennosuke's back...
Also, when China crossdressed in the April's Fool Special, there was quite the bit of attention focused on his bare legs. While America wore a Naked Apron, England dressed up as a nurse, Russia put on a dress... and France, as usual, was buttnaked.
While Bleach has lots of Male Gaze, the female fans are given quite a bit of eye-candy too. How many times has Ichigo gotten Clothing Damage, to start? And what about Renji, his very tattooed body, and his very sexy Slipknot Ponytail? Let's not forget Byakuya wearing a tuxedo in some pictures, Ikkaku and his own share of Clothing Damage, and especially Grimmjow.
Don't forget the time Ichigo failed to land a scratch on Ulquiorra, but succeeded in ruining his shirt.
Okamoto's mech in Star Driver has a "Fanservice Mode" that lets her see into her opponent's cockpit and through his clothing. While he's preparing to attack her. Oops.
One Naruto two page color spread had "female gaze!" all over it. The girls are all happy and relaxed and you don't see too much of their bodies... but the boys bicker all over and they're all naked and you see almost everything of Rock Lee... Okay, there's Chouji too, but he looks very happyand he DOES have his fangirls too.
In her dÚbut episode Karin apparently held a lengthy conversation with Sasuke's chest. That was where the camera was aimed, anyway...
Tiger & Bunny spoils female viewers often, with eye-candy like Barnaby's muscled body after a shower or Kotetsu as a male Bandage Babe frequently figuring into the show, especially in later episodes; at times the writers also seem to throw in references for a certain type of fangirl specifically, such as the Running Gag of Barnaby catching Wild Tiger in a "bridal carry" whenever the latter finds himself thrown into the air. That's not to say that the show lacks Male Gaze, either, considering some of the focal shots on the resident Ms. Fanservice, Blue Rose.
When Lucien first appears in his true form as Lucifer - completely naked - pretty much the first thing he says is "What are you looking at, Miss Yoko?" The fact that Yoko is on her hands and knees in front of him doesn't help.
And after Kanji shows up, he's often seen wearing a sleeveless shirt, which lets the animators focus quite a bit on his rather nice and muscular arms.
Taken Up to Eleven in the animated rendition of a certain school trip in which everyone gets drunk. He ends up totally sloshed and with his shirt open while the girls make drunken passes at him in their own ways. Niiiiiice abs, Narukami.◊
Spider Man has certainly done enough splits and other flexibility-related maneuvers in skin-tight spandex to qualify for a spot here.
Jason Todd and Roy Harper have become the victim of this multiple times in Red Hood and the Outlaws by Starfire and the aritst.
Jason Spends most of issue 6 in his birthday suit plus a giant leaf.
Noh-Varr. The Noh-Varr example has gotten a lot of positive feedback from feminist groups as being a great scene that doesn't shove the fanservice in your face - if you like guys, then it's a bonus, but if you don't, then the scene is still important to the plot and interesting to read. Kieron Gillen has stated that this was his intention, and that there's a real imbalance between sexy female characters and sexy male characters (also pointing out that "sexy" doesn't have to be "sexist").
This trope, in combination with Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls, is possibly responsible for much of the more visceral male Hate Dom of fanfiction. While we've come a long way from Slash being regarded automatically as Crack Pairing, there's still kind of a ghetto effect with it, since lots of fanboys get turned off by Slash, Het and even Original Flavor works featuring sexually-objectified male characters and assume fanfic is 'all gay'. (Women, of course, have to get used to the Male Gaze being the default in the media they consume.) Of course, this is all broad generalisations and straight young teenage boys do read and enjoy fic with a Female Gaze, especially in small fandoms or fandoms where it's only the Yaoi FangirlPeriphery Demographic who are old enough to spell.
Kanin in The Tainted Grimoire has, on at least one occasion, checked Luso out when he was training, in just swimming trunks.
Writers frequently have Hinata Hyuga do this with Naruto...but the kicker is that with her Byukugan (X ray vision), she can see more, and far less obviously than most.
Batman Forever and especially Batman & Robin, would provide the audience with loving close-ups of the dynamic duo's chest, crotch and rear every time they suited up. Either it's an example of the Female Gaze or a homosexual version of the Male Gaze (Male Gays?). Considering how Camp the Batman movies had become by this point, it could be hard to tell, though considering that Batman Forever and Batman & Robin were directed by Joel Schumacher, it's probably the latter.
Shows up briefly in Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? After a character's husband, who pretty much defines "bastard" tells her he's leaving her for her friend and walks off she starts over in a new town. Thankfully there is a handsome, sensitive Christian sherriff around, who also has a nice butt judging by the scene where he climbs up on a ladder and Sheila finds herself staring. We get a POV shot.
What Women Want has Mel Gibson's character taking advantage of hearing a woman's inner monologue about repeatedly looking at his crotch to do whatever he can to make her do it again.
In Iron Man, there's the extended, multiple-angle montage of a filthy, disheveled Robert Downey Jr. dressed in a thin, skimpy tank top and flexing perfectly sculpted, wiry arms while lifting and hammering pieces of metal and sweating in the extremely, extremely flattering fiery forge-light.
Chris Hemsworth as Thor was already quite easy on the eyes. Add in a Shirtless Scene and him wrestling in the mud and you can hear the girls Squeeing from miles away.
And now of course, there's The Avengers. Where to start? It introduces Captain America with a lingering shot of Chris Evans' ass as he pummels a punching bag (and throws in a few more ass- or full-body-shots later on when he's dressed in his tight, colorful suit whose pattern immediately draws the eye to his shoulder-to-waist ratio); devotes a noticeable chunk of screentime to several unnecessary, loving pans over Chris Hemsworth's biceps, triceps, and deltoids and centers a large number of shots on his long, luscious, disheveled golden hair; has Jeremy Renner constantly posing and aiming a bow while in a skintight, sleeveless outfight that shows off his ass and arms pretty much every time he moves, and has a scene focusing on a completely naked, Carpet of Virility-sporting Mark Ruffalo whose only concession to modesty is a conveniently-placed bit of rubble in the foreground (not to mention all the earlier scenes of him with rolled-up sleeves and an open collar). And if you move from that baser titillation to the numerous tight closeups of Robert Downey Jr.'s dark, silver-streaked hair, dashing, neatly-trimmed goatee, and enormous brown anime eyes framed by lashes of extension-scale length and thickness; and a pale, piercing-eyed Tom Hiddleston in sleek black hair, wearing either an elaborate, elegant green-and-gold robe and helmet, or a ridiculously sharp suit and overcoat; and you've got one of the most eye-candy-heavy superhero movies ever made.
Non-sexual example: In Judy Blume's Superfudge, when Peter is suffering a Potty Emergency because his little brother is taking his time on the toilet, the only alternative that comes to his mind is to wee on a large potted houseplant. A male author would probably have thought of him using the sink first, considering it's right there next to the toilet, but a female author (or reader) is more likely to recall male movie and TV characters whizzing on trees than to think of this option.
On both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, there is lots of this going on. Angel, in particular, seems to like being shirtless for absolutely no reason at all. And then there's Spike — who is the only one that's ever naked in sex scenes(whereas Buffy is completely clothed).
Which could well be symbolic either of the relationship and respective vulnerability status of the pair, or of the fact that a show about a vampire-slaying young woman with large amounts of character drama might just have a reasonably sized female demographic.
Amy Pond gets in on this when she watched the Doctor change clothes in Doctor Who. When asked if she was going to turn her back on him, she cheerfully replies "Nope!" (This also gave gleeful Matt Smith fans a Shirtless Scene.)
Of course, there's the entirety of the Russel T. Davies era. For example, the women in the show are consistently introduced face-first, rather than from the legs up, so the audience views them as subjects rather than objects; the Tenth Doctor is regularly lingered-over by the camera; and almost every recurring male character has had a Shirtless Scene.
Honestly, in Adam-12, we've got reasonably attractive actors in tight cop uniforms. Then there are anvilicious seat-belt buckling scenes, and the camera likes to focus directly on Reed or Malloy's crotch while they perform the maneuver.
John Crichton in Farscape is given a wardrobe-upgrade to leather as the series progresses, involved in a variety of Fetish Fuel situations, is hit on by a majority of the main cast (and raped by one female villain), and is subject to a surprising amount of topless, rear-angle and crotch-level camera shots.
Eric Northman from True Blood at the beginning of season 3. Do I need to say anything more?
Supernatural becomes more and more dominated by the female gaze as the series progress. Admittedly, the entire cast was ridiculously attractive with plenty of fanservice for everybody, but -starting around the middle of season two - Sam and Dean spend increasingly longer crying, hugging and being tied down to things.
Also, Sera Gamble(s?) , one of the lead writers used to write porn for women. So, yeah....
In Community episode Interpretive Dance Troy has to call Britta out on this because she won't stop looking down when talking to him while he is wearing a leotard.
In her Playboy video profile there's a scene in a diner in which Playmate Lindsey Vuolo is shown looking at the cook's butt. In real life the butt is her favorite male body part below the neck.
Although most of the fanservice on Game Of Thrones is of the male gaze type, there is quite a bit of fanservice for those who appreciate muscular bodies. The first episode has a scene where Robb Stark, Jon Snow, and Theon Greyjoy get shaved and are all shirtless (this was actually done because footage from the pilot was shot months apart and the three characters have facial hair in certain scenes). Khal Drogo and most of the Dothraki males are almost all shirtless, as well. The series also showed a few shirtless scenes with Renly Baratheon and Loras Tyrell, who are lovers
On The Nanny, Fran revealed that she'd had constantly been admiring Maggie's male model boyfriend Michael's butt in the underwear ad he was in on the billboard over Times Square in the "Maggie's Boyfriend" episode.
In Unnatural History, after mentioning that he goes commando, the camera is very sure to follow Henry's bum as we walks upstairs.
During a heat wave in the summer of 1992, Washington, D.C. general news reporter Wendy Rieger was doing a Vox Pox interview with a shirtless twentysomething male who was playing soccer on the National Mall. He told Rieger that the black shorts and T-shirt combo matched perfectly but it was soaked with sweat and became unwearable. She told the guy that she thought that his black shorts-and-sweaty bare chest combination was good style for him by saying "It looks like you're well matched here." When she said that, Rieger was copping a feel by running her index finger over his near-smooth chiseled chest.
Merlin: Apart from the occasional Cleavage Window from Morgana or Gwen, the show overwhelmingly prefers to ogle the guys, with at least one Shirtless Scene per episode. Starting with the season two opener, Arthur no longer hides behind a screen to change, Gwaine is gratuitously topless in his introductory episode, and the knights have a tendency to not wear shirts, seemingly at random. Then there's the season 5 two-part premiere, where Gwaine and Percival spend pretty much the whole time shirtless and performing manual labor.
Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" is nothing but Female Gaze. We're talking about a video that idolizes a guy who can't even start a lawn mower, but shit damn if he doesn't something sentence a shirt off with his muscles.
K.T. Oslin's "Younger Men" which is about an older woman who's thinking about becoming a cougar, has the Female Gaze in this verse:
''Woah, look over here We got a cute little ol' runner to the right Blue shorts, no shirt Whoo! You're lookin' good darling
Resident Evil 4, zooms into Luis's crotch immediately after he states that he has something for you....coincidence or subliminal messaging? You be the judge.
Mass Effect has been known to cater to this as well as Male Gaze; while not as frequent as Miranda, Jacob gets some camera-ogling, especially on his abs.
In Mass Effect 3, if Kaidan is still alive and you've been pursuing the romance with him, FemShep (and the camera) will spend time checking out his ass while they're walking aboard the Normandy. The opening scene also has a female NPC whose eyeline suggests that she's checking out his ass as she walks by. This has not gone unnoticed.◊
Doug Walker is more than aware of his large female fanbase and has been invoking this frequently. We're fairly sure that giving a blowjob to a joystick or having a minute long series of orgasm faces weren't meant for his male fans. Unfortunately there's a downside to putting himself in the stereotypically girl position, as he gets a gross amount of body-shaming and death/rape threats for "being slutty".
Apparently, Channel Awesome has discovered that this and suggestions that the male cast are hot for each other are the keys to attracting more female viewers.
As early as the brawl vlogs, Noah justified his constant directing the camera to Doug's butt and legs (who in turn, was crawling, bending over all the time and lifting up his jacket so we could get an even better look) as being for the ladies.
Speaking of Noah, SWS2 (with Sage, Critic and Joe) was a lot more objectifying than the first one with Chick, Goggles and Benzaie. Critic was shirtless, Sage was giving an offscreen blowjob and Spoony went on at length over how slutty his conquests were.
Done in Suburban Knights. While guys got Chick cleavage in the first part, Critic was the one to show the most skin and Wario!Jareth's crotch gets weaponized.
Continued in Demo Reel, with a barrel-ton of Ho Yay, a shot of Donnie's ass in replacement for Scarlett Johannson's Male Gaze in Lost in Translation, Tacoma looking good in a dress, Carl's accent getting treated as sexy by cosplayers, and Quinn getting outfitted in tight shirts and wife-beaters that show off his muscles.
During an episode of Archer, Archer calls Lana out for staring at his ass in the crouch firing position. She tries to play it off, but the close up shot of his butt, leaves little doubt to where she was looking.