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Um, Are You Doing Your Makeup For The Male Gaze?

Within the realm of TikTok makeup videos, the “male gaze vs. female gaze” phenomenon has been a trend that’s basically impossible to ignore recently. This trend reveals the contrasting ways in which makeup is applied — and, in turn, the contrasting ways it’s perceived depending on its (albeit very binary) audience: the male gaze or the female gaze. But what is the male gaze vs. female gaze makeup trend, and what message is it actually portraying? Let’s get into it.

In case you’ve somehow never heard this term in the year 2024, the male gaze refers to the way women are often portrayed to satisfy male desires, emphasizing traditional beauty standards and sex appeal. Makeup looks inspired by the male gaze typically focus on enhancing features like lips and eyes, often favoring the “no makeup” makeup look that often, in reality, takes kind of a lot of makeup to achieve.

In contrast, the female gaze typically embraces individuality, creativity, and self-expression. Makeup for the female gaze is less about conforming to societal expectations and more about celebrating personal aesthetics and embracing “imperfections.” 

This trend on TikTok has given rise to countless videos where creators showcase their interpretations of these two gazes, sparking discussions about beauty standards, self-image, and the power of makeup as a tool for personal empowerment, rather than mere attraction. 

@mimiermakeup

tutorial: @Mirta Miler male vs female gaze🎀 #trend #makeuphacks

♬ SEBASTIAN SALLOW EVERYONE – Josie

You can search through all the different videos on this trend and compare the similarities and differences between each person’s interpretations of the makeup types, but above all, there are a few truths to take away from this trend: The first is that makeup can wildly transform the way your face looks. (I mean, seriously — these creators can do some really fantastic stuff with a few products and some brushes!) 

The second, and perhaps more important, is that it doesn’t matter if you do your makeup for the male gaze, the female gaze, or simply your own gaze (or even if you choose to wear no makeup at all). As long as you feel confident in how you look, the rest doesn’t really matter.

Starr Washington is a member of the Her Campus National Writer Program, contributing to the lifestyle vertical. She also serves as the President of the Her Campus Chapter at her university. Currently a senior at San Francisco State University, Starr is pursuing a degree in Broadcast Electronic Communication Arts (BECA) with a minor in Africana Studies. Following her undergraduate studies, she plans to pursue an MFA in creative writing. Starr is dedicated to showcasing her blackness in her professional work and is always rooting for black creatives, particularly in film, literature, and travel. In addition to her writing, Starr works at her university’s multicultural center, where she organizes annual events for both the campus and the Bay Area community. She was a speaker at the San Francisco State University Black Studies Origins and Legacy Commemoration, where she had the honor of sitting alongside the founders of the country's first Black Student Union. Starr teaches a course she developed called “Intro to Black Love” within SFSU’s experimental college program. In her rare free time, Starr enjoys chipping away at her TBR list (she finishes one book, then adds three more to the list), writing poetry and fiction, and spending time with her music enthusiast partner and their three-year-old German Shepherd. She is a Scorpio from Michigan.