Feminism is a social progress that has had a large impact on film theory. Cinema is said to be taken by feminists as a medium which represents myths about women and their femininity and men and their masculinity. Previous feminist theory has been focussed on stereotypes of women particularly in film (Rosen, 1973)
In her article Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema' (1975) Laura Mulvey uses psychoanalysis to try and understand the obsession of Hollywood cinema. This can be explained through the concept of scopophilia, the desire to look at someone else and narcissistic voyeurism. Mulvey claims that scopophilia in cinema has a structure that is based on activity and passivity. Women in film are there for male requirements. They are usually seen as powerless whereas males are seen as powerful.
The audience are made to identify with the male character on screen regardless of whether they are male or female because what is seen on screen is always filmed from a male point of view therefore the female character is seen as an object to the audience as well as the male character. Mulvey suggests that women are placed in the passive position in three ways.
1. through character portrayal within the narrative
2. through spectator perception of the female
3. through the controlling gaze of the camera which objectified women
Mulvey used psychoanalysis to question why gaze is so powerful. To males, women are seen as lacking because they do not hold a penis. Men deal with this by classifying other males and objectifying females. Mulvey looked at why the male gaze is dominant. Within voyeurism women are examined. By doing this the male is reassured that he himself is not castrated. In Hollywood narrative the woman is seen to feel guilty by the male saving her. This makes the male appear and feel like the hero. In addition the female is... [continues]
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(2008, 01). To What Extent Is Laura Mulvey's Article Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema' True to the Representation of Women in Film Noir?. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 01, 2008, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Extent-Laura-Mulveys-Article-Visual-Pleasure-129176.html
"To What Extent Is Laura Mulvey's Article Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema' True to the Representation of Women in Film Noir?" StudyMode.com. 01 2008. 01 2008 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Extent-Laura-Mulveys-Article-Visual-Pleasure-129176.html>.
"To What Extent Is Laura Mulvey's Article Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema' True to the Representation of Women in Film Noir?." StudyMode.com. 01, 2008. Accessed 01, 2008. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Extent-Laura-Mulveys-Article-Visual-Pleasure-129176.html.