Sunday, 16 December 2007
Laura Mulvey and the Male Gaze Summarised
Laura Mulvey and her theory of the Male gaze influenced by the works of Freud, is key to the Feminist Film theory movement and has been of great influence since the mid 1970's. Mulvey argues that in classic hollywood films in particular women are merely represented to provide visual pleasure to men , and the audience is constructed in a manner where they are all expected to be men. This male gaze is both voyeuristic and fetishistic. Her concept of "to-be-looked-at-ness", exemplifies that women were merley shown on screen in classic hollyowod in order to provide men with visual pleasure and have an erotic impact. Mulvey argued that the typical key protaganist within a classic hollyowod film was male and the audience members where similarly typically expected to be men. The typical male audience member is alligned with the films protagonist, by identification, admiration or aspiration. Therefore the audience member gains narcissistic pleasure from identifying with the films protaganist,placing themselves "in the shoes" of the films hero. Further the infulence of Freud an influnetial pyschoanalytic theorist to Laura Mulvey's theory is the idea of castration anxiety which is what a person unconciously think. For example if a woman was not objectified in the way she was in classic hollyowod or placed in a position of lower authority a male would not feel as powerful. This unconcious idea is that a males power and dominance over a female is his penis, and his dominance is threatened by a woman if she does not arouse this.