Media And Collective Identity Feminist Film TheoryPresentation Transcript
Feminist Film Theory
The Male Gaze
The Female Gaze
The Oppositional Gaze
The Matrixial Gaze
1 st wave 2 nd Wave 3 rd Wave Post-Feminism 1800s/ 1900s “ Universal Suffrage” 1960s – 1980s “ The personal is political” 1990s “ Feminists Against Censorship” Gender-feminists … Equity-feminists … Anti-feminists….? FEMINISM FEMINIST FILM THEORY
“ Male gaze” (1975)
"In their traditional exhibitionist role women are simultaneously looked at and displayed, with their appearance coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that they can be said to connote to-be-looked-at-ness ,”
Laura Mulvey argues that Freud's psychoanalytic theory is the key to understanding how film creates such a space for female sexual objectification and exploitation through the combination of the patriarchal order of society, and 'looking' in itself as a pleasurable act of voyeurism, as "the cinema satisfies a primordial wish for pleasurable looking.“
Mulvey identifies 3 "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.
1984: Miriam Hanson, put forth the idea that women are also able to view male characters as erotic objects of desire.
1979: Janet Bergstrom uses Sigmund Freud’s ideas of bisexual responses, arguing that women are capable of identifying with male characters and men with women characters, either successively or simultaneously. 1992: Carol Clover, in "Men Women and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film" argues that young male viewers of Horror are quite prepared to identify with the female-in-jeopardy. Clover further argues that the "Final Girl" in the psychosexual sub-genre of Exploitation Horror invariable triumphs through her own resourcefulness, and is not by any means a passive, or inevitable, victim.
Laura Mulvey , “Afterthoughts on ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’… (1981).
In addressing the heterosexual female spectator, she revised her stance to argue that women can take two possible roles in relation to film:
a masochistic identification with the female object of desire that is ultimately self-defeating or
a transsexual identification with men as the active viewers of the text
“ Female gaze”
“ in masochism as in the infantile state of dependence , pleasure does not involve mastery of the female but submission to her body and her gaze. This pleasure also applies to the infant, the masochist and the film spectator. ” Gaylyn Studlar (1988)
“ Oppositional gaze” (1992)
A Black oppositional gaze offers a critical space to replace the binary oppositions of Mulvey, and a new pleasure too -- 'the pleasure of resistance, of saying "no": not to "unsophisticated" enjoyment... but to the structures of power which asks us to consume them uncritically‘
Coming from a black feminist perspective, bell hooks put forth the notion of the “oppositional gaze,” encouraging black women not to accept stereotypical representations in film, but rather actively critique them.
“ Matrixial gaze“ (1998)
A new version of the gaze was offered in the 1990s by Bracha Ettinger
Return of the Female gaze Fatal Attraction is a motion picture which initially brings forward a possible female gaze and therefore could be seen as questioning Mulvey's argument of a male gaze. However, as the narrative continues the gaze is swayed to become yet again a male gaze , a defence of the patriarchy and of masculinity. Eva-Maria Jacobsson (1999) “ Can the male gaze be reversed, i.e. is there a female gaze? Is it possible to argue for a female gaze in contemporary movies, where the woman would be objectifying the man to a subject of their desires and pleasures of looking? ”
“ Modern, independent, and flirty, Bridget is also incessantly self-reflexive, weight-obsessed, and plagued by anxiety over finding a husband. Along with her fictional comrades Carrie Bradshaw and Ally McBeal, Bridget acknowledges her feminist predecessors, but is glad to escape the “ censorious politics ” they promoted and be free to revel in the trappings of traditional girlhood. These women and cultural texts “have taken feminism into account and implicitly or explicitly ask the question, ‘what now?’”
Angela McRobbie (2009)
McRobbie presents Bridget Jones, the title character in the 2001 film Bridget Jones’s Diary, as a classic post-feminist example: