Exploring the cinematic gaze and its relevance to contemporary audience.
A research paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the
Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Media Arts.
LASALLE College of the Arts
[pic] Nurfarahin Amir 2012
Chapter 1 : the Patriarchal Gaze
1. : Is it male?
2. : Fetishism and voyeurism
3. : the masquerading gaze
Chapter 2: the male body as erotic spectacle – women and sexual looking
1. : alternative gazes
2. : Can women look at men?
2.3: ‘the fourth look’
Chapter 3: Feminist counter cinema and Queer cinema
3.1: the avant- garde theory film
3.2: lesbian/gay spectators and lesbian representations
Throughout my dissertation I will be exploring the classical cinematic gaze and I will be trying to demonstrate that these theories and theorists such as Freud and Mulvey are now outdated, have no relevance and no longer relate to contemporary audiences. I will also be examining new established forms of ‘looking’ and the new theories surrounding the different forms of cinematic gaze. I will be asking many questions about how the ‘gaze’ and the theories on it have evolved, such questions as: What is the cinematic gaze? Why is the ‘gaze’ predominantly perceived to be a male gaze? How does these theories of the ‘male gaze’ relate to contemporary audiences? Is there room for more than one gaze? What other gazes are there? What are these alternative gazes? Is there really a fixed viewing position for audiences created by the filmmakers? Who takes charge of the viewing position, the filmmakers or the audience?
I have listed below definition of terms, concepts and methodologies that are frequently used throughout this dissertation.
1. Freud and the oedipal crisis.
The patriarchal Gaze
The cinematic ‘gaze’ is an established form of voyeuristic and/or narcissistic ‘looking’, identifying and empathising with the characters onscreen. When examining what the cinematic gaze is, and who established and prompted these theories, it seems that many of the theorists that wrote essays on the ‘gaze’ and cinematic spectatorship, got their ideas from Freud and his works on psychoanalysis and his Three Essays on Sexuality. Freud theorised that men suffer from an Oedipus complex combined with castration anxiety; therefore men perceive women only as sexual difference and this transfers to film viewing. Freud believed that woman pose a threat to men because of their ‘lack’ of the penis and this causes severe trauma for men which alters the way they ‘look’ at and perceive women for the rest of their existence; therefore to subdue and to regain their dominant power men must position women as an object which they can control by utilising them as a source of erotic pleasure. Freud explains how men have scopophilic and voyeuristic drives and by ‘looking’ at woman who is unaware of his presence, these drives and sexual instincts are satisfied and control and male power are once...