Honors College Theses

Publication Date



English (B.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Joe Pellegrino


Feminist literature is rife with multiple, sometimes conflicting, sometimes partial, definitions of the female gaze. A definitive understanding of the female gaze incorporates the literature but includes other modes of thought and analysis appropriate for a number of different media. Bridgerton articulates this understanding as it privileges female sexuality not just through dialogue, but through its focus on multiple characters’ bodily awareness. Non-verbal elements like blocking, the physical articulation of bodies, changes in camera angles and foci that privilege subtle and nuanced movements, and even the pervasive use of music all contribute to the form and characterization of the female gaze. All of these elements create an emphasis on feeling and internal thought which is more important than the ongoing action. The plot becomes secondary to the characters and their personalities upsetting the entire flow of the male gaze. Bridgerton illustrates this definition with an emphasis on slow touch and by showcasing not only the female perspective and background but the male’s as well. Thus, the eroticism of the male body in the female gaze is not of a passive object but one of holistic appreciation of the character.