Feminism

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Feminism in the Media for G325 Section A

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Feminism

  1. 1. FEMINISM IN THE MEDIA
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>As a perspective for looking at media texts, feminists would see most media output as being the product of a patriarchal or male dominated order aimed at disempowering women. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Feminism was the response to society’s assumptions that women should be subservient to men. Until the emergence of feminism women were treated almost as objects, passive agents in a male world. </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Beginning <ul><li>The roots of the feminist movement extend to the eighteenth century but run through the Suffragette movement which fought for the vote for women in the early part of the twentieth century and the land girls and other women who moved into many male occupations during the Second World War for example. </li></ul>
  5. 6. The 1970s <ul><li>Activists in the early 1970s were battling for Women‘s Liberation and equal opportunities at a time of great unrest and social upheaval for many social groups. </li></ul><ul><li>The sex equality act was not passed until 1975. </li></ul>
  6. 7. The Theory <ul><li>Academic feminist theory emerged as a response to this liberation and activism. This has led to a range of critical writing about th role of women in contemporary society and therefore also the role of the way media construct representations of women and the ideologies they maintain. Among these is Laura Mulvey’s theory of the male gaze as constructing audience expectations of film. </li></ul>
  7. 8. <ul><li>Patriarchy is a form of society ruled by men through the figure of the father (the patriarch) to whom all others are subordinate. A patriarchal society is therefore one where the men dominate and the media are constructed for them as audience. </li></ul>
  8. 9. Laura Mulvey and The Male Gaze <ul><li>Mulvey argues that cinema audiences look at films in two ways: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Voyeuristically and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fetishistically </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cinema audiences watch a film without being watched by the characters on screen and usually in a darkened cinema so other audience members do not observe them either. </li></ul>
  9. 10. <ul><li>Therefore we are almost voyeurs, watching the people on screen. This can lead to two effects: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Objectification of female characters in relation to this controlling (male) gaze. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Narcissistic identification with an ideal image seen on the screen. </li></ul></ul>Laura Mulvey and The Male Gaze
  10. 11. Voyeurism <ul><li>She argues that this voyeurism involves turning the represented figure into a fetish (object) so that it becomes increasingly beautiful but more objectified. </li></ul>
  11. 12. Fetishism <ul><li>Fetishistic looking, she suggests, leads to the cult of the female movie star, celebrated for her looks but considered as an object and often treated as such. </li></ul>
  12. 13. Roles of men and women <ul><li>Conventional Hollywood films have a male protagonist in the narrative and assume a male audience. </li></ul><ul><li>Male characters are active and dynamic and not always conventionally attractive. </li></ul><ul><li>Actresses, on the other hand, must be glamorous and attractive but they are only in supporting roles. </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore on screen as ‘eye candy’ to appease the male gaze of the male audience. </li></ul>

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