The Male GazeThe Male Gaze
Laura MulveyLaura Mulvey
““Visual Pleasure andVisual Pleasure and
Narrative Cinema”Narrative Cinema”
• Read the following:
– History of Film Sound
– Various Kinds of Film Sound
– Creative Use of Sound Film
• The Theory of Film Auteur
What does Mulvey mean with this
“mainstream film coded the erotic into the
language of the dominant patriarchal order”
“interweaving of erotic pleasure in film, its
meaning, and in particular, the center place
of the image of woman.”
• What is scopophilia?
• What is the relation between scopophilia
and the constitution of the ego?
• Mainstream cinema (Hollywood) produces
a sense of separation and plays on the
voyeuristic fantasy of the audience.
• What is the effect of this voyeuristic
• What are the various functions of
• Explain the relational editing and give
examples from previous film
– Leit Motif
What is the Gaze?What is the Gaze?
The concept of gaze is one that deals with
how an audience views the people
For feminists it can be thought of in 3
• How men look at women,
• How women look at themselves
• How women look at other women.
Gaze and feminist theoryGaze and feminist theory
Laura Mulvey coined
the term ‘Male Gaze’
in 1975. She
believes that in film
audiences have to
from the perspective
of a heterosexual
Features of the Male GazeFeatures of the Male Gaze
The camera lingers on the curves of the
female body, and events which occur to
women are presented largely in the context of
a man's reaction to these events.
Relegates women to the status of objects. The
female viewer must experience the narrative
secondarily, by identification with the male.
Take note of the following MTV:
“Stacy's mom has got it goin' on
She's all I want and I've waited for so long”
Watch the video and then be prepared for questions
Quick questionsQuick questions
1. What colour top was she wearing
2. What is the colour of the car in the video?
3. What is the color of folder her mother is
4. How many prints are hanging on the wall in
5. What is the name of the magazine used?
6. What is the freebie mentioned in the cover of
7. What colour is the floating sun lounger?
8. What is the slogan on the boy’s t-shirt?
Why some of you may not
have known the answers to
all the questions?
You were too busy looking
at the woman.
The Male Gaze in everyday lifeThe Male Gaze in everyday life
Some theorists also have noted the
sexualizing of the female body even in
situations where female sexiness has
nothing to do with the product being
Can you think of any examples of this?
Criticism of Mulvey and Gaze theoryCriticism of Mulvey and Gaze theory
Some women enjoy being ‘looked’ at e.g. beauty
The gaze can also be directed toward members
of the same gender for several reasons, not all
of which are sexual, such as in comparison of
body image or in clothing.
Key theorist beliefs
Jonathan Schroeder (1998), “to gaze
implies more than to look at – it signifies a
psychological relationship of power, in
which the gazer is superior to the object of
Male Gaze: Active
• Active: operational (most of the time
• General assumption on the movie
• Presence in every instance of watching