The theory of male gaze

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The theory of male gaze

  1. 1. The theory of male gaze By Priscilla Amponsah
  2. 2. So what is the male gaze? The concept of gaze is one that deals with how an audience views the people presented. Feminists have divided this concept into the following three dimensions:  How men look at women  How women look at themselves  How women look at other women
  3. 3. Forms of the gaze  The spectators gaze: this is whereby the director is viewing the text. The Intra-diegetic gaze: when the character gazes at an object or another character in the text. The Extra-diegetic gaze: where the fourth wall is broken (the character looks into the camera, looking right at the viewer. The camera gaze: this is the camera editors view The editorial gaze: emphasised a textual aspect like the cropping and caption, which direct the viewers to that particular character.
  4. 4. Laura Mulvey:  She was a theorist and a feminist  Mulvey, came up with the concept on male gaze in 1975. Here Mulvey wrote a very influential essay ‘Visual pleasure and Narrative Cinema’. Stating that women are used for visual pleasure- women are made to seem like sexual objects through voyeurism.  she argued that women took the passive part of a film and that all men played an active part, in her eye the women were objects
  5. 5. Visual pleasure and Narrative cinema:  Women are presented as sexual spectacle (show) objects of pleasure for the characters and audience.  She believed that in films audiences have to view characters from the perspective of a heterosexual male. Stating that the way women are viewed in cinema is ‘unequal’. The camera necessarily present women as ‘sexualised for the pleasure of men.  Men fetishies women which she referred to as ‘fetishistic scopophilia.  Men have this gaze to avoid being ‘castrated’.
  6. 6. Additional support Ann Doane (1982) added that women have a ‘marginal gaze’ within film, just like a patriarchal society. Suzanne Moore (1988) added that male bodies are only on display in certain conditions- they are always in active poses as if they can walk away from the woman’s gaze. Van Zoonen (1994)- stated that‘men look at women, women watch themselves being looked at.’
  7. 7. Criticism of Mulvey and Gaze theory Some women enjoy being ‘looked’ at, such example can be seen with beauty pageants and models who enjoys the lime light. The gaze can also be direct towards members of the same gender for several reasons, not all of which are sexual, such as in comparison of body image or clothing. She doesn’t consider female spectators. Her views are that only heterosexual male’s are the spectators. Since 1980’s there has been a large increase in sexualisation and display of the male body.
  8. 8. Do these theories still apply in the 1900s and 2000s? Until the 1990s horror viewing, it had been argued, was primarily a male please, based on the lines that ‘attacking’ is an ‘active’ process and therefore as ascribed by masculine trait, whilst to be attacked is a passive (weak) experience, which was traditional viewed to be a feminine trait. However others have criticized this, arguing that women can also enjoy horror films.
  9. 9. Mulvey’s three types of ‘looking’ The look of the camera as it records the filmic event. The look of the audience as it watches the final product. The look of the characters at each other in the visual images of the screen illusion. She says these looks are linked to the issue of genre because many relations of looking in the cinema are informed and disrupted by sexual desire and the erotic contemplation of the female form.
  10. 10. Carl Clover- men, women and chainsaw (1992)  Her close analysis of narrative and style in the horror films led her to conclude that horror is ‘far more victim- identified than he standard view would have it’.  The pleasure of horror are masochistic (having sexual pleasure from being abused or dominated), for both males and females.  Audience responses involved a wide spectrum of emotional responses from laughing, joy in being scared, to white knuckle terror (experiencing fear and anxiety).  States that it’s important in the promotion in selling such genre- suggests a fuller knowledge of audience activity is needed.
  11. 11. Trevor Millum’s Theories- male gaze Trevor Millum has Five main looks which includes the following: Seductive  Carefree  Practical Comic Catalogue Seductive: When a model is posing in the seductive look they should have their eyes slightly closed, the expressions will be small, but will still show through, they will also aim to look confident. Carefree: A Carefree look, can be linked to sports because it seems as if they are active and healthy. Practical: will include a model who seems to be concentrating something, so their eyes will be focused whilst their mouth will be closed. Catalogue: will make the model have their eyes wide open, with a big smile as if they are not stupid, but rather dumb.

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