Week Eleven: Feminist Film Theory

Voyeurism is the sexual attraction through looking at another person without their knowledge. Fetishism is a narcissistic identification forbidden desires were repressed and expressed in another form.

Laura Mulvey’s essay, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” talks about visual pleasure. It is important to the work of feminist film theory. When you think about films these days, one of the main things you will come across is a man staring down a woman. Mulvey says that the “looking relations” surrounds the characters, camera, and audience, identified and controlled by the male. The male always has power in a woman with the way he looks at her. Feminists of course take this offensive. Mulvey’s main arguments are about voyeurism, and narcissism. In voyeurism, we see what we shouldn’t be seeing. In most films we see males looking at the woman. According to Mulvey, voyeurism should produce scopophilia “from pleasure in using another person as an object of sexual stimulation through sight.” In Gilda we see Gilda using her body as a way to speak to men. When men see Gilda they go crazy. The woman is “bearer of meaning, not making of meaning.”

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