Laura Mulvey - The Male Gaze


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Laura Mulvey - The Male Gaze

  1. 1. Feminism & The Male Gaze Laura Mulvey
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Laura Mulvey – Male Gaze </li></ul><ul><li>Influenced by Freud & Jacques Lucan, Mulvey sees the representation of woman in film & literature (and therefore society in general) as being dominated by a male point of view. Her belief is that the world is a patriarchy and that men have the ‘active’ roles and woman ‘passive’ </li></ul><ul><li>To look is seen as active </li></ul>
  3. 3. Traditionally <ul><li>Men play active roles which drive the narrative </li></ul><ul><li>Women play passive roles and are seen as erotic objects which slow the narrative </li></ul><ul><li>Men far outnumber women </li></ul><ul><li>Female roles are sidelined </li></ul><ul><li>Lead roles for women scarce </li></ul>
  4. 4. Stereotypes <ul><li>Bimbo </li></ul><ul><li>Female’s physical attractions such as figure and breasts to overpower the male </li></ul><ul><li>Easy </li></ul><ul><li>House wife </li></ul><ul><li>Mother </li></ul><ul><li>Intelligent yet willing to settle down </li></ul>
  5. 5. Male Gaze <ul><li>Two distinct modes of the male gaze of this era: voyeuristic and fetishistic </li></ul><ul><li>Mulvey argued that women where given two characters types - sexually active female & powerless female </li></ul><ul><li>Films presented images of women that were produced simply for the gratification of male viewers </li></ul><ul><li>Various studies in the 1970s found men to be the dominant characters and decision makers in film and TV production </li></ul>
  6. 6. Importance? <ul><li>Where women had important roles they were far more likely to be shown as… </li></ul><ul><li>- frightened </li></ul><ul><li>- in need of protection and direction </li></ul><ul><li>- offering support to the male lead character(s) </li></ul><ul><li>- not independent or self driven </li></ul><ul><li>- generally weaker </li></ul><ul><li>- still objectified sexually </li></ul><ul><li>“ Women, in any fully human form, have almost completely been left out of film….” L Mulvey </li></ul>
  7. 7. Fighting Back <ul><li>Ripleys role is reflective of feminist ideology. Throughout the Alien series, we see her character grow, change, develop and mature to meet and tackle each situation placed before her. </li></ul><ul><li>Challenges cultural norms </li></ul><ul><li>Lt Ellen Ripley introduced viewers to their first self-reliant and successful science-fiction heroine </li></ul><ul><li>Ripley encounters difficult situations which challenge her femininity </li></ul><ul><li>Still shown as sexual object to both audience and characters </li></ul><ul><li>She has to fight against the patriarchal ideology of the Company, different kinds of male figures and of course, against the Alien </li></ul><ul><li>Distinctive references to gender roles, especially to women's status in the world and to motherhood </li></ul>
  8. 8. Changes in society <ul><li>As women's roles change so does media representation. Still objectified but also likely to be… </li></ul><ul><li>Career driven </li></ul><ul><li>Intelligent </li></ul><ul><li>Confident </li></ul><ul><li>Empowered </li></ul><ul><li>Able (violent) </li></ul><ul><li>Remember changes may be made cynically and in order to make money rather than change ideologies </li></ul><ul><li>How many female action stars who are not attractive? </li></ul>
  9. 9. A Terminators Feminist Timeline <ul><li>T1 – Sarah Connor is hysterical, screaming, in need of rescue </li></ul><ul><li>T2 – Strong, empowered, able to hold her own against Arnie </li></ul><ul><li>T3 – We have female terminator TX (uses femininity to advantage) </li></ul><ul><li>Terminator: Sarah Connor chronicles – save the world </li></ul>
  10. 10. A Modern Representation?
  11. 11. <ul><li>Uma Thurman represented as powerful and dominant and independent </li></ul><ul><li>Sword stands in for and castrates phallus </li></ul><ul><li>Adopts male characteristics of aggression </li></ul><ul><li>Not masculinised yet in masculine roles </li></ul><ul><li>Use of low angles, and a masculine performance </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Conforms to Mulvey’s theory - job of seeking revenge family is given to the female character thus conforming to stereotypes where women are seen to be possessed with family and emotional </li></ul><ul><li>Tight outfit allows objectification </li></ul><ul><li>Voyeuristic pleasures by watching Thurman on her killing rampage </li></ul><ul><li>Remember male director/industry may still mean male ideologies </li></ul>
  13. 13. Other Examples…. Evidence of the female gaze? Vs Vs
  14. 14. Misogyny <ul><li>What is it? …. </li></ul>
  15. 15. TV Drama Example <ul><li>Gene Hunt (TV Detective from Life on Mars, set in 1970’s Britain) talking about politics: </li></ul>'THERE WILL NEVER BE A WOMAN PRIME MINISTER AS LONG AS I HAVE A HOLE UP MY A**E.'
  16. 18. Misogyny <ul><li>How would you define the term misogyny based on what you have just seen? </li></ul><ul><li>Can you think of any other examples of misogyny that you may have seen in any media text or simply experienced in everyday life? </li></ul><ul><li>Misogyny – the contempt or hatred of women and girls </li></ul>
  17. 19. H/W Activity <ul><li>Read the Guardian article from 21 May 2010 ‘Farewell to Ashes to Ashes and Gene Hunt, the lovable sexist, racist, macho homophobe’ </li></ul><ul><li>Define the characteristics/elements that you think you would be looking for in a media text which demonstrates misogynistic behaviour/ attitudes. </li></ul><ul><li>Watch the first episode of series one of ‘Ashes to Ashes’ (2008, Kudos Productions) and find examples from the text of misogynistic attitudes & behaviour by referring to examples from the mise-en-scene (actions & dialogue, setting, props costume/make-up, lighting, camera angles & framing). Make a table in your blogs now to take notes under these headings. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>