comScore Female TV Characters Who Challenge the Male Gaze | The Mary Sue
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16 Women on Television Who Challenge The Male Gaze

Orange is the new dismantling male dominated media.


As described in “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” Laura Mulvey’s seminal work on the objectification of women in film, the “male gaze” refers to female characters fulfilling the role of attractive, passive playthings for men. Yet many contemporary shows rebel against this model by presenting multi-layered women who demand the audience’s attention. Here are 16 characters currently on the air who do just that. The list is makes no claims to being exhaustive, so please share in the comments the rad women you think are holding their own on television.

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Adrienne Trier-Bieniek, PhD is a gender and pop culture sociologist. She is the author of Sing Us a Song, Piano Woman: Female Fans and the Music of Tori Amos (Scarecrow Press 2013) and the co-editor of Gender and Pop Culture: A Text-Reader (Sense 2014). Her writing has appeared in various academic journals as well as xoJane, Gender & Society Blog, Feministing, and Girl w/Pen and she runs the Facebook page Pop Culture Feminism. Adrienne is a professor of sociology at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida. 

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