Charley says: Men – always use a condom

Any feminist analysis of literature, particularly visual media such as TV, will usually end up invoking ‘the male gaze’ – that is, whether female characters are viewed through the prism of (heterosexual) male desires, concepts about women, etc, or whether there is a greater personal truth to them.

Of course, if you’re targeting an ad at heterosexual men that’s largely about their desires, the male gaze is something that’s going to crop up. Back in the 80s, when HIV/AIDS was a very worrying new disease, persuading men to use condoms for pretty much the first time in a generation was something that required a large-scale government health campaign – even if there was a chance they’d get AIDS and die if they didn’t.

So behold, the male gaze writ large. She’s hot (look!), she’s up for it (look!), but oh the horror if she asks you to stay the night!


  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.