How To Tell If You’re Watching A Movie Through The Male Gaze (3)
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- female characters who are otherwise capable and accomplished being self-deprecating in order to avoid emasculating men.

Intersecting with the occurrence of passive women, and the need for women to cater specifically to male spectators, this is a case of women being allowed to be leaders, but not so much that it makes the menfolk uncomfortable. A favourite example of this – purely because it is exercised in a tongue-in-cheek manner – is 1994’s Maverick. In this tonally brilliant adaptation of the 1950s character, the lead female character, Annabelle (Jodie Foster) is a talented con-artist who regularly engages in pointed verbiage and intellectual warfare with the male lead, Bret (Mel Gibson). In many sections of the film, we see Annabelle ‘playing dumb’ in order to manipulate Bret – a...

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