The male gaze


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The male gaze

  1. 1. The Male Gaze Laura Mulvey “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”
  2. 2. What is the Gaze? The concept of gaze is one that deals with how an audience views the people presented. For feminists it can be thought of in 3 ways: • How men look at women, • How women look at themselves • How women look at other women.
  3. 3. Gaze and feminist theory Laura Mulvey coined the term ‘Male Gaze’ in 1975. She believes that in film audiences have to ‘view’ characters from the perspective of a heterosexual male.
  4. 4. Features 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.
  5. 5. “I love the way she fills her clothes. She looks just like them girls in Vogue.” Watch the video and then be prepared for questions
  6. 6. Quick questions What colour top was he and she wearing? What bowling lane was used? What colour belt did he and she wear? What colour shoes did he and she wear? What colour eyes did he and she have?
  7. 7. Why some of you might not have known the answers to all the questions. You were too busy looking at the woman.
  8. 8. Use of the 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 advertised. Can you think of any examples of this?
  9. 9. Criticism of Mulvey and Gaze theory Some women enjoy being ‘looked’ at e.g. beauty pageants. 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. Are there any ‘flaws’ in these arguments?
  10. 10. Categorising facial expressions Women: • Chocolate box • Invitational • Super-smiler • Romantic or sexual Marjorie Ferguson (1980) Men: •Carefree •Practical •Seductive •Comic •Catalogue Trevor Millum (1975)
  11. 11. Key theorists 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 the gaze.”
  12. 12. Homework • Write up this theory onto your blog. • INCLUDE a full write up response to why we (the audience) couldn’t answer all the questions to do with the video shown. • You MUST refer to Mulvey’s theory.