The Gaze: The Male Need to Look vs the Female Need to Be Seen—An Evolutionary Perspective

  • Jennie Cummings-Knight


Advances in technology mean that we respond to the visual in particular ways that are ever more specific and defined. Theories of socialisation of gender play down the importance of biological differences between males and females. I will argue, however, that there remain in our species evolved and biologically based sex differences in visual focus and also correspondingly different needs in “seeing and being seen”. Homosexuality and transgenderism in humans are also viewed by society not as social constructs, but natural expressions of felt gender identity. This is at odds with social constructionist theories of gender which often underpin much of LGBTQ literature. Male and female sexual preferences also reflect evolutionary differences which will be examined in various ways, including the use of pornography. In a social climate where perceptions of gender are becoming more fluid, evolved biological sex differences persist. In 2016, in the UK 93.4% of the adult population identified as heterosexual according to figures from the Annual Population Survey reported by the Office for National Statistics (2017). Gender differences between male and female in the human species are both archetypal and vital to the creativity and health of human societies.



Bishop Woodford House Retreat Centre, Ely (where much of this chapter was written).

Geoff Cummings-Knight (proof reading).


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennie Cummings-Knight
    • 1
  1. 1.Golden Leaf Counselling ServicesCromerUK

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