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The Love Gaze: Hollywood Might Not Be Selling Us another Dream After All

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UFL chapter.

“The officer looked at Daisy while she was speaking, in a way that every young girl wants to be looked at some time, and because it seemed romantic to me, I have remembered the incident ever since,” Jordan Baxter said, a character taken from the imagination of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

And if you have seen the movie, you remember DiCaprio’s burning glance, his blue eyes filled with adoration and hope for a reciprocated love.

Regardless, we all know that look because we have read or seen it everywhere: characters pouring their hearts away without saying a word, just by a single look. It is that love gaze that forms part of all the greatest love stories, the stories many yearn to recreate.

However, people often forget fiction is the world viewed through a lens of imagination and the existence of the love gaze might be debatable.

But like Al Pacino said in “Scarface”: “The eyes chico, they never lie!”

The eyes provide us a sneak peek of what’s beneath someone’s soul, according to many. And by many, I mean the saying’s origins have been passed from Bible to Shakespeare. And though people might not reach an agreement on who came up with it, we all agree that the eyes are the liar’s worst enemy. 

“The eyes are the giveaway,” Psychology Professor David Ludden said in an article for Psychology Today.

According to Ludden, the pupils, or the “opening into the eye,” can show the owner’s emotions through their reaction to light and the detection of something in the environment. But he also said it deals with pupil size and the functions of visual exploration and exploitation.

For instance, if the person is on the lookout for a threat or an opportunity (like an attractive person in a party), the pupils open, looking to extract information. However, they dilate once we engage in deeper exploration.

“The eyes may be the windows to the soul, but the pupils tell a lot about what’s going on in the mind of another person,” Ludden says.

They show fear, excitement and arousal. These are words probably associated with love but open to endless meanings and not direct synonyms of love. And according to researchers, how someone looks at you can show their intentions: either love or desire. If their eyes look at your face instead of your body, it means love. However, love can be complicated.

Like in “The Notebook,” Noah looked at Allie as he told her how he never gave up on her.

His eyes looked at her directly as the rain poured down his face – a scene catered to the female gaze.

And at the end, it is not his stare that made us sob, but instead, the whole scene: stripping down the complexity of emotions and their nonverbal communication. The love gaze not only encompasses the mystery behind them; it shows the journey behind it.

The love gaze might not be only stuck in works of fiction, where destiny is already dictated by the hands of a skilled author. However, loving someone is more than just one look.

Mariana is a journalism student at the University of Florida. She's passionate about storytelling. In her free time, you can find her reading a book, working out or binge-watching Netflix.