For the past week I’ve been trying to write a short essay on the female gaze. So naturally I read the essay where the phrase ‘male gaze’ was coined. But i in all my reading and research on a female equivalent, I found no real definition of or belief in a feminine gaze, as it is merely synonymous with “art made by women,” which is not exactly what I’m trying to write about. Also, the current discourse on all that is a lot more gendered than what I am attempting to describe.
Yesterday I discovered my Enneagram type and this substantiated the gaze or perspective I have been trying to quantify, one that develops as a result of being outside the polarities—one of the outsider, the foreigner, the alien.
But it makes sense why I was using the feminine/female as a misnomer, because it is a perspective that is often othered in the current state of our world, and I feel it is incredibly close to this particular sight I am trying to get a handle on.
It made me recall an archived post that I wrote last year:
Once I leave a city, a people, an experience, it fades. I have no use for these things because they are behind me, not with me or before me. I have always been future-focused, barreling forward with a mysterious sense of urgency to accomplish something I’ve yet to fully understand (though I feel I’m close)—one who doesn’t have time for feelings, for self-pity or drama, because there is always some new idea I’d rather feed. Because of this, my long-term memory is quite poor. But some moments are cemented:
My kindergarten classmates and I sat on the floor in a circle. I scanned the circle, observing the romantic relationships and friend groups that had already begun to form when my inner voice said resolutely, “I don’t belong here.” It sounded old and already tired. Yes, I didn’t feel like I belonged in my small town, in my family, and possibly in that classroom, but this response was more existential than that—it meant I didn’t belong in this world. And I’d cry, those formative years. I’d cry and tell God I didn’t want to be here—but of course it was too late, I’d already agreed upon it and descended.
I will never forget that moment, never stop being intrigued by the maturity of it, because that feeling has never gone away, and I know it never will.
“The writer must be universal in sympathy and an outcast by nature: only then can he see clearly.” (Julian Barnes)
Anyway, per usual, what was intended as a quick something to write has turned into something of greater complexity, and I’m not sure when I’ll have that essay fleshed out, or if I ever will. I’m doing this thing where I let things come to me now, instead of hunting them down if they don’t want to be found (yet).