Applying Theoretical Approaches to Media Texts LO: to develop your understanding of the ‘male gaze’ and ‘feminine mystique’
Starter: <ul><li>Working as a group, produce a brainstorm on the stereotype of ‘the opposite sex’. </li></ul><ul><li>NB: T...
Swap sheets: <ul><li>Now sort out the adjectives/descriptions into positive and negative attributes. </li></ul><ul><li>Wha...
Are your descriptions anything like these?
<ul><li>As Jonathan Schroeder notes, 'Film has been called an instrument of the male gaze, producing representations of wo...
When women are viewed or judged from a male perspective it is called ‘The Male Gaze’. <ul><li>The male gaze has been domin...
<ul><li>scopophilia  - the pleasure involved in looking at other people’s bodies as (particularly, erotic) objects. </li><...
<ul><li>Mulvey argues that various features of cinema viewing conditions facilitate for the viewer both the voyeuristic pr...
Marylin Monroe <ul><li>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbQqnJw7xL0&feature=fvwp&NR=1 </li></ul>
<ul><li>Traditional films present men as active, controlling subjects and treat women as passive objects of desire for men...
<ul><li>Mulvey argued that the cinematic apparatus of  classical Hollywood cinema  inevitably put the spectator in a mascu...
As applied to the thriller genre: <ul><li>'Women in peril' were a feature of many Hitchcock films, as they had been in cin...
<ul><li>Mulvey distinguishes between two modes of looking for the film spectator:  voyeuristic  and  fetishistic , which s...
The Feminine Mystique: <ul><li>In her 1963 book, Friedan defines women's unhappiness as ‘‘the problem that has no name,’’ ...
<ul><li>Chapter 1  - Friedan goes on to point out that the average age of marriage was dropping and the birthrate was incr...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Feminine_Mystique <ul><li>Chapter 2  - Friedan shows that the editorial decisions concern...
<ul><li>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-taEaSfPtbY </li></ul>
<ul><li>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYFmdlzff98 </li></ul>
Working in groups apply the approaches to media representations of: <ul><li>Nigella Lawson Katie Price/ Jordan Hillary Cli...
<ul><li>Group reflection and presentation </li></ul><ul><li>How useful to you are these approaches in making sense of medi...
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Applying feminist approaches to media texts

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Applying feminist approaches to media texts

  1. 1. Applying Theoretical Approaches to Media Texts LO: to develop your understanding of the ‘male gaze’ and ‘feminine mystique’
  2. 2. Starter: <ul><li>Working as a group, produce a brainstorm on the stereotype of ‘the opposite sex’. </li></ul><ul><li>NB: Think about how females and males are conventionally represented. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Swap sheets: <ul><li>Now sort out the adjectives/descriptions into positive and negative attributes. </li></ul><ul><li>What does this show you about ‘our’ stereotypical views of the opposite sex? </li></ul><ul><li>NB: these are culturally defined. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Are your descriptions anything like these?
  5. 5. <ul><li>As Jonathan Schroeder notes, 'Film has been called an instrument of the male gaze, producing representations of women, the good life, and sexual fantasy from a male point of view' (Schroeder 1998, 208). </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion: What do you think this means? How is the male POV different to that of female? </li></ul>
  6. 6. When women are viewed or judged from a male perspective it is called ‘The Male Gaze’. <ul><li>The male gaze has been dominant in the media as the majority of media texts were produced by men – Laura Mulvey. &quot; Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema &quot;, 1975 </li></ul><ul><li>NB: This is now changing and we see more ‘fair’ or ‘positive’ representations of women. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>scopophilia - the pleasure involved in looking at other people’s bodies as (particularly, erotic) objects. </li></ul><ul><li>Apply these ideas to the following text: </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Mulvey argues that various features of cinema viewing conditions facilitate for the viewer both the voyeuristic process of objectification of female characters and also the narcissistic process of identification with an ‘ideal ego’ seen on the screen. She declares that in patriarchal society ‘pleasure in looking has been split between active/male and passive/female’ (Mulvey 1992, 27). This is reflected in the dominant forms of cinema. Conventional narrative films in the ‘classical’ Hollywood tradition not only typically focus on a male protagonist in the narrative but also assume a male spectator. ‘As the spectator identifies with the main male protagonist, he projects his look onto that of his like, his screen surrogate, so that the power of the male protagonist as he controls events coincides with the active power of the erotic look, both giving a satisfying sense of omnipotence’ . </li></ul>
  9. 9. Marylin Monroe <ul><li>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbQqnJw7xL0&feature=fvwp&NR=1 </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Traditional films present men as active, controlling subjects and treat women as passive objects of desire for men in both the story and in the audience, and do not allow women to be desiring sexual subjects in their own right. Such films objectify women in relation to ‘the controlling male gaze’, presenting ‘woman as image’ (or ‘spectacle’) and man as ‘bearer of the look’: Men do the looking; women are there to be looked at . The cinematic codes of popular films ‘are obsessively subordinated to the neurotic needs of the male ego’. It was Mulvey who coined the term 'the male gaze'. </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Mulvey argued that the cinematic apparatus of classical Hollywood cinema inevitably put the spectator in a masculine subject position, with the figure of the woman on screen as the object of desire. In the era of classical Hollywood cinema, viewers were encouraged to identify with the protagonist of the film, who tended to be a man. Meanwhile, Hollywood female characters of the 1950s and 60s were, according to Mulvey, coded with &quot;to-be-looked-at-ness.&quot; Mulvey suggests that there were two distinct modes of the male gaze of this era: &quot;voyeuristic&quot; (i.e. seeing women as 'whores') and &quot;fetishistic&quot; (i.e. seeing women as 'madonnas'). </li></ul>
  12. 12. As applied to the thriller genre: <ul><li>'Women in peril' were a feature of many Hitchcock films, as they had been in cinema since its early days. Hitchcock's first film, The Pleasure Garden (1926), features a woman who falls victim to a deceitful and violent husband, while the victims of the killer in The Lodger are blonde women. Hitchcock himself favoured blonde actresses, and more than one was obliged to bleach her hair for a role. Several actresses complained that Hitchcock could be brutal on set, and he often seems to enjoy watching his female characters suffer. </li></ul><ul><li>Hitchcock saw female sexual vulnerability as a powerful dramatic device, which he exploited ruthlessly. </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Mulvey distinguishes between two modes of looking for the film spectator: voyeuristic and fetishistic , which she presents in Freudian terms as responses to male ‘castration anxiety’. Voyeuristic looking involves a controlling gaze and Mulvey argues that this has has associations with sadism: ‘pleasure lies in ascertaining guilt - asserting control and subjecting the guilty person through punishment or forgiveness’ (Mulvey 1992, 29). Fetishistic looking, in contrast, involves ‘the substitution of a fetish object or turning the represented figure itself into a fetish so that it becomes reassuring rather than dangerous. This builds up the physical beauty of the object, transforming it into something satisfying in itself. The erotic instinct is focused on the look alone’. Fetishistic looking, she suggests, leads to overvaluation of the female image and to the cult of the female movie star. Mulvey argues that the film spectator oscillates between these two forms of looking. </li></ul>
  14. 14. The Feminine Mystique: <ul><li>In her 1963 book, Friedan defines women's unhappiness as ‘‘the problem that has no name,’’ then she launches into a detailed exploration of what she believes causes this problem. Through her research—which includes many theories, statistics, and first-person accounts—Friedan pins the blame on an idealized image of femininity that she calls the feminine mystique . According to Friedan, women have been encouraged to confine themselves to the narrow roles of housewife and mother, foresaking education and career aspirations in the process. </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Chapter 1 - Friedan goes on to point out that the average age of marriage was dropping and the birthrate was increasing for women throughout the 1950s, yet the widespread unhappiness of women persisted, although American culture insisted that fulfillment for women could be found in marriage and housewifery; this chapter concludes by declaring &quot;We can no longer ignore that voice within women that says: &quot;I want something more than my husband and my children and my home.&quot; </li></ul>
  16. 16. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Feminine_Mystique <ul><li>Chapter 2 - Friedan shows that the editorial decisions concerning women's magazines were being mostly made by men, who insisted on stories and articles that showed women as either happy housewives or unhappy, neurotic careerists, thus creating the &quot;feminine mystique&quot;—the idea that women were naturally fulfilled by devoting their lives to being housewives and mothers. Friedan notes that this is in contrast to the 1930s, at which time women's magazines often featured confident and independent heroines, many of whom were involved in careers. </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-taEaSfPtbY </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYFmdlzff98 </li></ul>
  19. 19. Working in groups apply the approaches to media representations of: <ul><li>Nigella Lawson Katie Price/ Jordan Hillary Clinton Jennifer Aniston Angelina Jolie Cheryl Cole </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Group reflection and presentation </li></ul><ul><li>How useful to you are these approaches in making sense of media productions? </li></ul><ul><li>How would you apply them to your genre study of ‘horror’? </li></ul>

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