Laura Mulalvey Visual Pleasure And Narrative Cinema

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British Feminist Film theorist Laura Mulvey uses psychoanalysis to show the pre-existing “patterns of fascinations” (Mulvey) with the sexual differences in society that is portrayed through film. She says in her paper “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”, that there is a structured film form that feeds a patriarchal order because of social patterns based on the fascinated subject-women. Drawing from Freud’s Three Essays on Sexuality, Mulvey states that cinema allows for a lot of pleasures, and one of these pleasures is scopophilia, or the love of looking, because there is pleasure in looking as well as being looked at. Film allows for an amazing outlet for this scopophilia because it gives one the pleasure of looking at something pleasurable on screen as well as scopophilia is a narcissistic aspect because the audience will identify with a character on screen. With the patriarchal structural form in place as well as the scopophilia present in films, it leads to the main idea of Mulvey’s paper; that Hollywood films use women to create a pleasurable experience for men. In the films the Mulvey studied, the women are just objects to be looked at never the main driver of the plot. Budd Boetticher put it best when he said, “What counts is what the heroine provokes, or rather what she represents. She is the one, or rather the love or fear she inspires in the hero, or else the concern he feels for her, who makes him act the way he does. In herself the woman has not the slightest importance.” (Mulvey)
This really dives home the fact that movies in this era, women were objectified and that the gaze at these women was the only important part of them in the film. This gaze can be broken down into three main parts. First of these sections b...

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... who can give her gifts (hopefully, diamonds) and Dorothy for strong and attractive men. In addition, neither of the wardrobes of the two girls are that revealing in that they were almost modest, although beautiful. One reason for their ability to subvert the male gaze is their strong bond to one another. They are connected and protect each other, They “neither accept the social powerlessness of women nor the imperative of a primary allegiance to men”. This is true in that throughout the movie they go out of their way to help one another in ways that could hurt themselves with their men. Lorelei pays the maître d' so that a young rich man can sit next to Dorothy (little did she know that he was a child and that there was a detective watching her) and Dorothy basically gives up a man she loves because he wanted to hurt Lorelei (although he ended up taking her side).
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