Male Gaze Theory Depicted in American Pie

Topics: Gender, Feminist theory, Woman Pages: 6 (1942 words) Published: October 13, 2012

I. Introduction

The position of women in the society at present has changed gradually in the last few centuries. The role of women, as dictated by the society, is perceived by how they’re presented. Since the last three centuries, women have always been viewed as just housewives and objects of perversion.

Media is one of the factors why women are perceived as secondary to men. This is why media has a major influence to the humanity because it can reach almost all the parts of the world. May it be in print media or in film productions; women are always depicted as inferior and submissive to men’s desires.

There have been different movements aimed in altering the sexual equality of the men and women. Some of these movements attained their main goal – the social change. One of the movements that was started by the pioneers is the Male Gaze Theory. The Male Gaze Theory, a feminist theory by Laura Mulvey, was developed in 1975. It happens when the audience, or viewer, is put into the viewpoint of a heterosexual male. Mulvey stressed that the dominant male gaze in mainstream Hollywood films reflects and satisfies the male. It applies wherever you have an audience and a text being presented to that audience. Being the most dominant in the population of directors in Hollywood, the male objectifies the female as sex objects in accordance to one’s visual pleasure.

This paper aims to show that the world today is still a space governed by the male gaze and that women are still in their lowest height in terms of social equality and society’s perception. Through the vast commodities, everyone is still to question about why and how women will overcome the stereotypical world.

II. Literature Review
One of the most concrete examples of the Male Gaze theory is the teenage comedy movie “American Pie”. American Pie is a movie about five boys that made a deal to lose their virginity before their high school graduation. They have the habit of watching girls and fantasizing from their sight. They even get into relationships just to have satisfaction and gratification pertaining to voyeurism.

The females in the film are just appearing when the lead actors need to do the act. As obvious, the female characters are just objects for momentary satisfaction of the male characters and nothing more. In most of the scenes, it is obvious that the male character dominates the female in this movie.

As the presentation of Dr. A. Lukas says, " Visual harassment means that men have the power of the gaze—they can watch women in private (voyeurism) and in public." We may relate this to a scene in the American Pie movie wherein the boys went to a house party and all of them minded their own businesses -- the chicks. Also an example for the male gaze in the said movie is one clip within the third American Pie the woman is known and revealed to be providing sexual opinion to the male. This would enable women to identify the domination that the male audience and characters have, as they are also placed in this point of sexual dominance where a woman is offering advice and taking power of a sexual situation. This enables the target audience, the teenage male population, to think that the women are subjected to the sexual intentions of the males within the span of the film.

Not only in film production the male gaze is being applied to, but also in advertising. “‘Buy’ the image, ‘get’ the woman” (Wykes, p. 41) For example, we are being shown, though not related, that a woman, completely naked, holds Nike Shoes. It's apparent that the model is holding men's shoes. So, for the justification of the Male Gaze theory in the advertisement, the company is persuading the men to buy the shoes so that it will make them think that in a way, the consumer gets the attention, if not the interest, of the woman, too.

On the other hand, a contradiction...

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