The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

Actions speak louder than words

In light of the recent events involving Artificial Intelligence at WHS, I’ve spent some time reflecting on society’s view of women. Rather than discuss what has occurred within our school, since national news has done so already, I want to discuss the topic of the male gaze and how the sexualization of women has resulted in situations like this one. 

There is a theory within feminist dialect known as the male gaze. According to, the male gaze is “a way of portraying and looking at women that empowers men while sexualizing and diminishing women.” The male gaze is shown in a good portion of today’s media, ranging from advertisements to video game characters to scenes in television. 

One of the most well-known examples of the male gaze is seen with the DC character Harley Quinn. The character was first featured in Suicide Squad (2016) and again in Birds of Prey (2020). Suicide Squad was directed by David Ayer and Quinn wears very little clothing. She is highly objectified throughout the film which clouds her portrayal as a powerful female villain. In contrast, Birds of Prey was directed by Cathy Yan and Quinn is shown wearing much more clothing. This film focuses on her strength as a female villain rather than sexualizing her. 

When directed by a man, Quinn is sexualized for the sole reason of satisfying men. In contrast, the same character directed by a woman is empowered and shown for her strength, not her body. This is the sexualization of women. This is the male gaze. 

As a result of the male gaze, women receive an extreme amount of societal pressure to fulfill sexual images that have been exhibited in the past. As women, we feel the need to conform and accept the role in which the patriarchy has put us. My social media is filled with girls posting in bikinis or in short, tight dresses, usually striking some sort of pose that accentuates their body. While women should feel empowered to post however they want, cases where they feel pressured to fit into sexual standards are occurring far too often. And even when girls claim they post this to feel good about themselves, they subconsciously are being influenced by the patriarchy. 

To understand the events that have plagued our school, we need to understand the male gaze. This situation happened because the patriarchal society has normalized viewing women in a sexual light. This empowers men to enjoy viewing women sexually with very little repercussion. 

The truth of the situation is that male students took photos off of girls’ social media pages and used AI to make pornography. This happened because it is normal to view women as such, thanks to the male gaze. 

All I’ve heard is anger about the situation. Teachers and students alike are disgusted by what has occurred. My health class had an anonymous discussion about the events and every student communicated that they felt negatively about what had happened.

So, why aren’t we turning the anger into action? Letting this situation continue without action fuels the male gaze and the patriarchy. We need to hold the perpetrators accountable and fight against the system, rather than ignore it and hope that it goes away. It won’t go away. 

As Mark Twain said, “Actions speak louder than words.” This includes educating ourselves and teenagers on these topics. Health classes should incorporate the sexualization of women into their curriculums as a way to educate and fight against it. Teachers should allow and even prompt discussion of this theory when seen in literature or media. We cannot simply say we are angry. We must actively fight until we are satisfied.

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  • A

    Avery CuppNov 8, 2023 at 8:38 pm

    beautiful article. spotlights the importance of how women are viewed in correlation with their treatment within society, calls out real life situations, and allows a discussion to be had in a productive manner. Wonderful job miss fargari

  • C

    Caroline BarryNov 8, 2023 at 5:38 pm

    The male gaze concept originated in film theory wherein the framing of visuals literally places the women in context of how the man views her, sexualized, objectified, powerless. It’s intentionally understated and subconscious. These young girls at WHS are being abused beyond words—from young men who have been empowered their entire lives by media. I hope this case becomes a catalyst for protections against AI abuse.

    From an alum, props to Hi’s Eye for always writing about the tough topics and picking your own spin. WHS is more often than not in the news for negative experience (my senior year being the 2016 gun control/police brutality art exhibit). Your voices and autonomy are paramount!