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Laura Mulvey


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Laura Mulvey

  1. 1. The Male Gaze Laura Mulvey “ Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”
  2. 2. What is the Gaze? <ul><li>The concept of gaze is one that deals with how an audience views the people presented. </li></ul><ul><li>For feminists it can be thought of in 3 ways: </li></ul><ul><li>How men look at women, </li></ul><ul><li>How women look at themselves </li></ul><ul><li>How women look at other women. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Gaze and feminist theory <ul><li>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. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Features of the Male Gaze <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>Relegates women to the status of objects. The female viewer must experience the narrative secondarily, by identification with the male. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>“ I love the way she fills her clothes. </li></ul><ul><li>She looks just like them girls in Vogue.” </li></ul><ul><li>Watch the video and then be prepared for questions </li></ul>
  6. 6. Quick questions <ul><li>What colour top was he and she wearing? </li></ul><ul><li>What bowling lane was used? </li></ul><ul><li>What colour belt did he and she wear? </li></ul><ul><li>What colour shoes did he and she wear? </li></ul><ul><li>What colour eyes did he and she have? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Why some of you might not have known the answers to all the questions. <ul><li>You were too busy looking at the woman. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Use of the Male Gaze in everyday life <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li> Do ads that use sex to sell their products degrade women? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Criticism of Mulvey and Gaze theory <ul><li>Some women enjoy being ‘looked’ at e.g. beauty pageants. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>Are there any ‘flaws’ in these arguments? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Categorising facial expressions <ul><li>Women : </li></ul><ul><li>Chocolate box </li></ul><ul><li>Invitational </li></ul><ul><li>Super-smiler </li></ul><ul><li>Romantic or sexual </li></ul><ul><li>Marjorie Ferguson (1980) </li></ul><ul><li>Men : </li></ul><ul><li>Carefree </li></ul><ul><li>Practical </li></ul><ul><li>Seductive </li></ul><ul><li>Comic </li></ul><ul><li>Catalogue </li></ul><ul><li>Trevor Millum (1975) </li></ul>
  11. 11. Marjorie Ferguson (1980) <ul><li>Chocolate Box : half or full-smile, lips together or slightly parted, teeth barely visible, full or three-quarter face to camera. Projected mood : blandly pleasing, warm bath warmth, where uniformity of features in their smooth perfection is devoid of uniqueness or of individuality. </li></ul><ul><li>Invitational : emphasis on the eyes, mouth shut or with only a hint of a smile, head to one side or looking back to camera. Projected mood : suggestive of mischief or mystery, the hint of contact potential rather than sexual promise, the cover equivalent of advertising’s soft sell. </li></ul><ul><li>Super-smiler : full face, wide open toothy smile, head thrust forward or chin thrown back, hair often wind-blown. Projected mood : aggressive, ‘look-at-me’ demanding, the hard sell, ‘big come-on’ approach. </li></ul><ul><li>Romantic or Sexual : a fourth and more general classification devised to include male and female ‘two-somes’; or the dreamy, heavy-lidded, unsmiling big-heads, or the overtly sensual or sexual. Projected moods : possible ‘available’ and definitely ‘available’. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Trevor Millum (1975) <ul><li>Carefree – he can be linked to sports because it seems as if they are active and healthy </li></ul><ul><li>Practical – looks like they are concentrating on something, mouth closed but not tightly shut </li></ul><ul><li>Seductive – eyes look slightly closed, the expression will be small but still show through, also look confident </li></ul><ul><li>Comic – being comical, funny, exaggerated, looks like they are laughing at something really funny </li></ul><ul><li>Catalogue – eyes wide open, don’t look stupid, but maybe a bit dumb </li></ul>
  13. 13. Key theorists beliefs <ul><li>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.” </li></ul>
  14. 14. Charlie's Angels female empowerment vs sexuality <ul><li>Watch this clip and note down examples of female empowerment and sexuality. </li></ul><ul><li>Are they mutually exclusive? </li></ul><ul><li>Does Shroeder’s belief apply to this trailer? </li></ul>