Laura Mulvey: Visual Pleasure And Narrative Cinema

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Over the past few decades, classical Hollywood cinema has been criticized for the way women are portrayed through the screen. The majority gaze throughout mainstream cinema is quite masculine. One of the easiest ways to prove this is by examining how men and women direct their gazes through film. “Men tend to look at women, and women tend to look not at men, but at men looking at them.” (Horton) In a world ordered by sexual imbalance, pleasure in looking has been split between active male and passive female observation. One of the primary ways that this is conveyed, is through shot size. There is more of an imbalance of full-sized shots directed towards women, viewing there full body and form as opposed to their male counterpart. Which only shows there eyes or a close up of their reaction to seeing the female form. These images of the female are meant to appeal to male sexuality, nothing to do with female sexuality. In this case, the female is turned into an object of vision. In Laura Mulvey’s essay about Visual Pleasure & Narrative Cinema she is she mentions that “The presence of woman is an indispensable element of spectacle in normal narrative film, yet her visual presence tends to work against the development of a story line, to freeze the flow of action in moments of erotic contemplation.” (Mulvey) This builds on the concept that Mulvey mentions, as Woman is the Image and Man is the bearer of the look. Traditionally, the woman displayed in cinema has functioned
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