Breaking the Spell: How Female Magicians and Assistants Are Redefining the Male Gaze

Breaking the Spell: How Female Magicians and Assistants Are Redefining the Male Gaze

Redefining Visibility: Female Assistants and the Male Gaze in Magic

The role of the female assistant in the world of magic, historically overshadowed by the spectacle and charisma of the male magician, represents a narrative ripe for reevaluation. This dynamic, often characterized by the assistant's decorative and passive role, is not just a reflection of stagecraft but a mirror to the broader societal norms influenced by the male gaze. This concept, coined by Laura Mulvey, illustrates how visual arts and literature cater to a masculine viewer, positioning women as objects of pleasure rather than subjects of their own stories. In the context of magic, this paradigm has not only shaped the portrayal of female assistants but also their perceived value and agency within the performance.

A History of Invisibility

Traditionally, magic has been a male-dominated field, with women relegated to the sidelines, often as assistants, or as the victims of the magician's performance. Their roles were to look attractive, assist with the illusions, and enhance the magician's prowess, frequently without acknowledgment of their own skill and contribution. This setup perpetuates the male gaze by framing the female body as a spectacle, an object to be dissected, disappeared, or transformed, serving the narrative of male dominance and female passivity.

The Assistant as an Artist

It's essential to acknowledge that the art of magic is not just in the hands of the magician. The assistant, regardless of gender, plays a pivotal role in the success of an illusion. Their skill, timing, and performance are as critical as the magician's. Yet, when filtered through the lens of the male gaze, the assistant's artistry is often diminished or rendered invisible. This reduction not only undermines the assistant's contribution but also reinforces gender stereotypes within the profession.

Shifting Perspectives

The conversation is gradually shifting, thanks to the voices and visibility of female magicians and assistants who are challenging traditional roles. These professionals are not only questioning the passive portrayal of female assistants but are also actively redefining their roles to reflect skill, creativity, and agency. By doing so, they are dismantling the male gaze from within, presenting a form of magic where gender does not dictate one's role or value on stage.

Towards a More Inclusive Magic

The path towards inclusivity in magic involves recognizing and challenging the structures that have historically marginalized female assistants. This includes reevaluating how we portray women in magic, not as mere objects for the male gaze but as integral and autonomous artists. By promoting visibility, acknowledging contributions, and fostering a culture of respect and equality, the magic community can transform the narrative, making it as enchanting and compelling as the illusions they perform.


The role of the female assistant in magic, under the scrutiny of the male gaze, is a complex narrative of visibility, agency, and artistry. By confronting these issues head-on, the magic community can create a more inclusive and equitable space for all performers. In doing so, magic becomes not just an art of illusion but a platform for social change, challenging us to look beyond the spectacle and see the true magic in equality and respect.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.