In 1991, Julie Dash directed an independent film classic, Daughters of the Dust, a narrative revolving around three generations of Geechee women preparing to migrate to the north, dealing with themes such as history preservation, tradition vs modernity, and black feminism perspective. Not only did Dash garner critical acclaim for being the first black female director to project a film for theatrical distribution, but also one of the few films to feature women of color as agents of change in the non-linear narrative, rather than excessive character additions. A recurring conflict in cinematic industry stems from how filmmakers construct men as protagonists and women as spectacle of objectification and source of erotic pleasure. Additionally, misrepresenting women to satisfy the male gaze establishes a problematic cinematic expectation on the roles normally fulfilled, constructing this unfair myth that psychologically and methodically reoccurs in the mindset of both male and female audience members, flawed by the illusion that the film represents truth. In her feminist film theory essay, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema", Laura Mulvey uses psychoanalysis to criticize and scrutinize the fetishism, scopophilia, and eroticism in Hollywood mainstream cinema. What Daughters of the Dust executes impeccably roots from radically abandoning the cultural conventions that depict women as subservient and submissive to patriarchal
With Rear Window (1954), Alfred Hitchcock proved himself to be one of the best directors of suspense thrillers filled with mystery and humour. He himself called the film his most cinematic one because it was told only in visual terms (Morrow), but it was also a challenging “editing experiment” as the entire film was shot from one place, Jeff’s apartment that overlooked his backyard. The Film follows L.B. Jeffries “Jeff” (James Stewart), a photographer confined to a wheelchair in his apartment after breaking his leg at work. He spends his days watching his neighbours and eventually suspects that one of them killed his wife. His caretaker, his girlfriend Lisa and his detective friend, at first unconvinced of his suspicion, eventually join him in his voyeurism and help him to solve the crime. In this essay, I will discuss how the film is about film itself. The notions of gaze will also be analysed, through a discussion of voyeurism and Jeff and Lisa’s relationship.
In “Aesthetic of Astonishment” essay, Gunning argues how people first saw cinema, and how they are amazed with the moving picture for the first time, and were not only amazed by the technological aspect, but also the experience of how the introduction of movies have changed the way people perceive the reality in a completely different way. Gunning states that “The astonishment derives from a magical metamorphosis rather than a seamless reproduction of reality”(118). He uses the myth of how the sacred audience run out the theater in terror when they first saw the Lumiere Brother Arrival of the train. However, Gunning does not really care how hysterical their reaction is, even saying that he have doubts on what actually happened that day, as for him it the significance lied on the incidence--that is, the triggering of the audience’s reaction and its subsequence results, and not the actual reactions and their extent. It is this incident, due to the confusion of the audience’s cognition caused by new technology, that serves as a significant milestone in film history which triggered in the industry and the fascination with film, which to this day allows cinema to manipulate and
Both texts ‘The Handmaids Tale’ and ‘The Bloody Chamber’ were written during the second wave of feminism which centralised the issue of ownership over women’s sexuality and reproductive rights and as a result, the oral contraceptive was created. As powerfully stated by Ariel Levy, ‘If we are really going to be sexually liberated, we need to make room for a range of options as wide as the variety of human desire.’ Margaret Atwood and Angela Carter both celebrate female sexuality as empowering to challenge the constraints of social pressure on attitudes of women. Both writers aim to expose the impact of patriarchy as it represses female sexual desire and aim to control it thus challenge contemporary perspectives of women by revealing the oppression
- This literary piece is a great example of feminism. It shows how men and women are portrayed; how women have more in them than what meets the eye; and how genders treat and react to each other.
Furthermore, Feminist Criticism provides a better view of literature because it shows that women can be powerful. When Emilia finds out that her husband has been plotting an evil plan she says,” Tis proper I obey him, but not now”(Othello V.2.195). Emilia refuses to help her husband after she finds the cruel intentions he has despite the expectation of women always being submissive to their husbands. Women also have a voice and feelings, they are capable of defying their husbands commands when they know what he expects is simply wrong. In a literary article,The Role of Women in Othello: A Feminist Reading states that,” Society weighs heavily on the shoulders of women; they feel that they must support the men and defer to them, even if the actions of the men are questionable” (Literary Articles). Although Emilia does not ever say these powerful words out loud, she is still willing to not follow her husbands commands despite his strong character. Emilia proves again that she has powerful thoughts when she stated that,”Let husbands know, Their wives have sense like them; they see and smell, And have their palates both for sweet and sour As husbands have’ (Othello IV.3.92-5) Emilia contends that women are physically the same to men,they both get distraught and have issues that trouble each other, they should treat each other similarly. Women can still analyze literature about the inequality and rights for women through many of the injustices that are modern today.
Choose one or two examples of media texts and explore how they might challenge or disrupt Mulvey’s concept of ‘the male gaze’.
Although Bakhtin does not gender the grotesque body, he subconsciously establishes a mutual liaison between the grotesque and the female body. These laughable hags are associated with grotesque imageries of the female body such as “copulation, pregnancy, childbirth, the throes of death, eating, drinking, or defecation” which make it perceived as “the ever unfinished, ever creating body” (26). To explain more, the female body has a close affinity to the process of reproduction; it is ready for fertilisation, gets pregnant, conceives children, experiences the proximities of life to death in giving birth/death throes and gives birth to children and becomes a consuming body. Mary Russo consolidates this connection between the pregnant hang and
In Laura Mulvey’s article, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” she writes about the relationship between voyeurism, cinema, and gender. She begins by describing the concept of scopophilia, which means to gain pleasure from looking. She writes that scopophilia is inherently active/masculine, and that pleasure is derived from looking at other people as mere objects. On the other hand, the passive/feminine is derived from the experience of being looked at (pg.188). Mulvey sees this binary relationship between viewer and object being viewed as a part of our culture, and the greatest example of this is found in cinema. She argues that the act of moviegoing satisfies these voyeuristic desires in people. She writes, “The mass of mainstream film portray a hermetically sealed world which unwinds magically, indifferent to the presence of the audience, producing for them a sense of separation and playing on their voyeuristic fantasy,” (pg. 186). In this essay, I will further discuss her viewpoints on cinema and voyeurism, and how it connects to the film Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock.
This article presents the roles of a man and a woman in two different eras through two movies: Roman Holiday (1953) and French Kiss (1995). The focus is on the analysis of the characters, their differences and similarities and messages directors wanted to send considering gender roles in society during the 1950s and 1990s. The method is to make the structure of the essay similar to the structure of filmmaking and pay attention to many elements and symbols that influenced the viewers, consciously or unconsciously. The concentration is on comparing and finding the changes that history made to this movie genre, especially considering the gender roles. Results will clearly explain the psyche of society in two different periods, which confirms that people reflect the movies as movies have an impact on people.
Imagine being told as a female in today’s world you must look or act a ¬¬certain way in order to be accepted. Being what you want to be is not allowed and changes have to be made in order to be included. They say “pain is beauty, and beauty is pain” as they way a woman looks today are completely different from ten or even fifty years ago. In this paper, the reader will understand the mind of a woman in today’s society and the difficulties to be not only accepted but being her own person as well. Not only has the appearance of a woman changed but also role titles and job descriptions as well. Jane Martin’s play “Beauty” shows us two different versions of the problems women are facing current while living in today’s world and taking a walk in
The media has long been recognized as important source of gender related information, television and cinema specifically influences its audience in a considerable way. (Denmark and Paludi 2008). With regards to the concept of gender cinema can offer a space where ambiguities of identities are played out; understanding the play of the categories of femininity and masculinity is very important in evaluating our own understandings of gender and how we react to different representations of it (Tasker 2002).If a film can show different individuals and we can recognize how social forces shape and constrain the individual according to classifications of gender it narrates an experience where we experience the film as gendered viewers. Film reflects and generates out own experience of gender over and above out own recognition and observation of it. (Pomerance 2001). Gender itself is a very complex concept to understand and portray onscreen, the concept of gender performativity was introduced by Judith butler in her book Gender Trouble: Gender Performance and Performativity.
Anne McClintock wrote her essay “Gonad the Barbarian and the Venus Flytrap: Portraying the female and male orgasm” to examine pornography and how it has changed throughout history and its effects on how women perform as sexual beings. McClintock focuses on the various roles of pornography such as its emphasis on voyeurism, pleasure, and the male ego. She wants her readers to know that women are still not represented in pornography to satisfy their own desires, but they are there to cater to men and their subconscious. I will analyze how McClintock argues that due to the history of sexism towards women, the roles that men and women have in pornography are inherently different because of the societal belief that women are only seen as objects of sexual desire and are solely there to satisfy the male audience.
Feminist theatre came into being as a by product of the experimental theatre movement of the 1970s’ and 1980’. It was an alternate theatre which enabled women to explore their creative talents on stage independently. Feminist theatre served as a means of constructing an exclusive feminist discourse on stage that questioned the patriarchal norms of female subjugation. Its movement was towards the construction of a theatre space where women are no longer mere stage props. They started functioning as the creators of drama rather than being confined to the roles of wife, lover, mother or lunatic. It was a paradigm shift from women being the objects of male gaze to the creation of a self sufficient female gaze, from being objects to being the subject
The Figuration of the female body is well described in both Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El-Saadawi and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Both novels show that the women bodies are not their own and controlled by others which it turned into an object in order to survive. In this paper, I would like to argue how the objectification of the female bodies in both novels resulted in their oppression and sufferings. Moreover, what is the definition of the figuration of a body to both Offred and Firdaus? And is there a way out to survive this tragedy in both novels?