The Male Gaze By Laura Mulvey Essay

The Male Gaze By Laura Mulvey Essay

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Gender has always been a key part of media’s social representation. the horror especially uses gender for easy representation, for example the weak, attractive, female character as the victim. i have chosen to study gender in the horror sub-genre Psychological Thrillers, and research into how gender is used in their trailer and if it’s changed over the years. my research will focus on the women, and ask if they have been empowered over the years or kept in the same roles.

One gender theory i have chosen to study is ‘The Male Gaze’, created by Laura Mulvey in 1975. This theory refers to the objectivation of women in the media, Mulvey suggest that the camera is in the point of view of a hetrosexual male, and therefor women exist purly for visual pleasure.
The first film i’ve chosen to study is Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960). Mulvey suggest the women connote a ‘to-be-looked-at-ness’, and Psycho’s ‘Lila Crane’, spend the vast majority of the trailer being looked at or watched. for example towards the end of the trailer, there is a clip of Lila in the shower while Bates watched her through a hole in the wall. This links to Mulvey 's idea of the camera being controlled by a hetrosexual male’s point of view (POV), as the audience is placed into Bate’s POV as he watches Lila shower. Another element of ‘The Male Gaze’ is women existing for visual pleasure, or being objectified/ sexulised, this is evidant throught the character of Lila and her death scene which is featured in the trailer. In these quick cut scenes, the audience witness Lila being stabbed while showering, despite not being completely sexulised it does show a woman in her most vulnerable state (naked) while being overpowered and killed by her attacker. She’s also sexulie...


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... extremes to fit in with them.

In silence of the Lambs, the roles are reversed as Clarice is masculinized and shown as having more typically male traits and villain ‘Buffalo Bill’ as having typically feminine traits. It’s clear in the trailer that expected gender roles are swapped, with links to Butler 's idea that gender roles are not biological but are instead created through culture and can be therefore exploured. Clarice goes against her prescribed gender roles by wearing a man 's style suit with trousers and doing the typically male job of hunting down and stopping the killer, Bill swaps into a female role by having quick shots of him doing himself up by applying make up and doing his hair, something we would expect Carice to be doing. Bill does however keep some form of his masculinity by being a monstrous villain with the possibility of overpowering Clarice.

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