This theory is focused on the function of women characters in particular film narratives or genres and the stereotypes of a society's view of women.
The Treatment of Women in Movies (1974) analysed how the women portrayed in film related to the broader historical context, the stereotypes, the extent to which the women were shown as active or passive, and the amount of screen time given to women.
In film, the male gaze occurs when the audience is put into the perspective of a heterosexual man. A scene may linger on the curves of a woman's body, for instance, hence its referral to being the Male Gaze.
The males gaze is using women sexuality and stereotypes of women by showing their femininity. The theory suggests that male gaze denies women and they are used as the males subject and for visual pleasure.
For the past three years, some women in England have been developing a controversial approach to film theory. Their work offers new perspectives on women in film and has many valuable insights, but it also has serious methodological problems.
Claire Johnston - She wrote essays on the construction of ideology in mainstream cinema
Pam Cook – she wrote books about women in films
Laura Mulvey - best known for her essay, " Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema ", written in 1973
Mulvey identifies three "looks" or perspectives that occur in film which serve to sexually objectify women.
The first is the perspective of the male character on screen and how he perceives the female character.
The second is the perspective of the spectator as they see the female character on screen.
The third "look" joins the first two looks together: it is the male audience member's perspective of the male character in the film. This third perspective allows the male audience to take the female character as his own personal sex object because he can relate himself, through looking, to the male character in the film
Mulvey suggests that there were two separate modes of the male gaze of this era: "voyeuristic" (i.e. seeing women as 'whores') and "fetishistic" (i.e. seeing women as 'madonnas').
“ Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” expands on the theory, saying that sexism exist not only in the content of a text, but may also exist in how the text is presented; through its implications about its expected audience. Theorists note the degree to which people gaze at women in advertisements that "sexualizes" a woman's body even when the woman's body is unrelated to the advertised product