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Mastering The Female Gaze: The Story Behind ‘Strange Kevin’ On TikTok

The internet’s latest crush isn’t all he’s hyped up to be.

Credit: strangek3vin / TikTok, janelyshutup / TikTok (repost from strangek3vin)

TikTok is no stranger to making specific terms trendy. Right now, the phrase ‘female gaze’ is trending on the platform thanks to one user named ‘Strange Kevin’. Commenters have described him as having ‘mastered’ the female gaze in several of his viral videos.  

In his most popular video, he lip-synced to “Boyfriend” by Justin Bieber – initially acting nervous and awkward before switching to a more confident persona. The confidence and eye contact with the viewer is apparently what women find irresistible. But what exactly is the ‘female gaze’ and has Kevin really mastered it?

Although many people on TikTok are using the term ‘female gaze’, it seems that few of them actually know what it is. The term is based on art critic John Berger’s concept of the ‘male gaze’. This phrase describes how women in visual arts are usually depicted from a heterosexual male perspective. The ‘male gaze’, as it is deeply ingrained in society, impacts how women view themselves, dress, and act. In contrast, the female gaze is the way in which men and women are portrayed from a woman’s perspective. The female gaze puts less emphasis on physical sexual attractiveness and more emphasis on emotional intelligence and personality traits. Simply put, the male gaze focuses on physical features whereas the female gaze focuses on emotional features.

The idea of the female gaze has gained popularity recently thanks to TikTok. A recent trend was women showing themselves when they used to dress for the male gaze versus dressing for the female gaze. Like many psychological buzzwords, TikTokers began using the phrase without truly understanding what it means. The concepts of ‘male gaze’ and ‘female gaze’ have been changed so much by TikTok that the male gaze is now equated to women wearing skirts and makeup, and the female gaze is when women have armpit hair or wear ‘unappealing’ clothing. According to TikTok, a man named ‘Strange Kevin’ has ‘mastered’ appealing to the female gaze. But what exactly is his secret?

Credit: anastasiagerrans / TikTok

Has Kevin really ‘mastered’ the female gaze?

Before Kevin got banned from TikTok (more on that later), he rose to fame for several videos where he apparently appealed to the female gaze.  In multiple videos uploaded to TikTok, he would lip-sync to songs, acting nervous before becoming more confident, and making direct eye contact with the viewer. He amassed three million followers and had many women commenting about how he had mastered the female gaze. Several women made videos explaining how he appeals to the female gaze despite not being ‘conventionally’ attractive.  Some noted how he defies the ‘alpha male’ stereotype, instead appearing non-threatening and approachable. Others said that his eye contact was what made him so attractive, as his eyes were meeting the viewers, rather than appearing to look at their body. The general consensus was that his confidence was at just the right level, so it wasn’t threatening or overbearing, making him seem approachable.

Credit: blairwalnuts / TikTok

Although Kevin was hailed as the ‘female gaze guy’, he was banned from TikTok after being canceled. His past misogynistic and offensive videos were found and circulated across social media. Additionally, a woman claiming to be his ex-partner came forward and said he had been abusive toward her. After all of this surfaced, Kevin lost his cult following and his TikTok account was suspended. It shattered the image many people had of him being the ‘ideal man’.

Did Kevin really master the female gaze?

No, not really. He can’t appeal to the female gaze through a TikTok as there is no chance for displaying emotional intelligence without real-life interaction. Although he did appeal to what many women find attractive in men, this isn’t what the female gaze is. It is about non-physical factors that can only truly be assessed through interaction, not a TikTok video. However, if the Kevin situation taught us anything, it’s that attraction often goes beyond physical features. Confidence and body language are two assets that get often overlooked in a world obsessed with image.

Written By

English student at Queen's University Belfast

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