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Barstool Sports CEO: Has Anyone Heard About This Sexist Thing My Site Does Every Day?

Image via ABC News

Each day is an opportunity to learn something new. Erika Nardini, the CEO of Barstool Sports, recently discovered the concept of the male gaze, and she wanted to pass it on to her audience.

“One of the things that we started to look into was the idea of the male gaze, which I want to talk about for a second,” she said on the Feb. 22 episode of her podcast, Token CEO. “I don’t know if you guys have heard about the male gaze—I actually didn’t know a whole lot about it, but I read a lot about it last week.” Go on—or go off!

Imagine you’re listening to a CEO explain something that they believe must be new to everyone else, because it’s new to them. Take it away, Nardini:

In feminist theory, the male gaze is the act of depicting women and the world—and most acutely in movies, in advertising, in visual mediums—as being passive, as being sexual objects. The notion of the male gaze, what that really refers to, is the woman is only viewed in the perspective of the male. So when a woman is costarring in a movie, she’s really only costarring to help tell the story of the man.

That’s a good explanation, but it might be more helpful for me if I can apply this knowledge with examples. To go outside of TV shows and movies for a moment: Hypothetically, if a site took a bunch of Instagram photos from a woman then repurposed them as wordless “Smokeshow” galleries once a day (occasionally twice a day, because sometimes there’s enough news for Smokeshow early and late editions), would that be an instance of the male gaze? Or, again hypothetically, if someone with hiring power judged an employee’s merits based on whether she was attractive enough to be on camera, would that be the male gaze?

“The idea of the male gaze is that everything is constructed for a white male,” Nardini said. Damn, that’s valuable to keep in mind! Thanks for sharing your findings, Erika. Have you considered discussing them with your company?