Voyeurism and Surveillance: The Act of Performance

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The United Kingdom has become like the reality TV show “Big Brother”. It is known that there are thousands or according to the British Security Industry Authority, perhaps millions of cameras stationed all over the country; interconnecting to businesses, private homes and even authorities that give off a sense that each person is constantly being watched (Barrett). This idea of the “surveillance society” strikes idea that these people are constantly being observed (London Evening Standard). It comments on the fact that the gaze influences the way that people portray themselves. In the United Kingdom, the cameras seem to provide mixed interpretation of the functionality in which it is debated as an invasion of privacy but at the same time, it offers a sense of safety and security by establishing that through surveillance that an individual must behave accordingly. In literature, the idea of surveillance, the gaze and voyeurism affects the way that the characters portray themselves. It becomes an act or a performance. Works like William Gibson and Bruce Sterlings, The Difference Engine and Nancy Lee’s short stories “Sisters”, “Valentine” and “Sally, in Parts” uses these motifs to establish that through gaze and surveillance that an individual such as Sybil Gerard or the women in Lee’s narrative will put on an act in order to gain attention of the male audience and will behave in a certain manner because of this act of voyeurism whether if it is from an individuals or through technology. It comes back to Jeremy Bentham’s design of the Panopticon in which was a prison that was designed to have a round-the-clock surveillance due to its complete 360 degree design that it stationed around a tower that houses the inspector (Stefanek 10)....

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