Essay on The Portrayal of Women in Advertising

Essay on The Portrayal of Women in Advertising

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Within this essay I plan to discuss the portrayal of women in contemporary advertising and focus around the ideologies of the male gaze according to Laura Mulvey. Laura Mulvey is a feminist film theorist commonly known for her controversial essay, “visual pleasure and narrative cinema” written in 1973. This piece went on to be published in the influential British film journey screen. (Hein,2008) Her written views have achieved to shift the perception of film theories conventional structure known as psychoanalytic, which were written about by Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan.

Lacan was to have primarily came up with the theory and was originally identified as the “gaze”. His use was to define the anxious state that derives with the awareness that one could be viewed. He argues that a person loses a sense of “autonomy” upon realizing that he/she is being objectified. Many film theorists used psychoanalytic ideas in their theoretical accounts of the cinema however Mulvey’s influence was to establish the connection between film theory, the beliefs of psychoanalysis and feminism. (Grosz,2013)

Simplifying the meaning of the gaze would be better defined as how an audience views people presented to them however as for feminists it can be looked upon in three ways; how men look at women, how women look at themselves and how women look at other women. Laura Mulvey believes that in film, audiences have to ‘view’ characters from the perspective of a heterosexual male however Mulveys main idea is a belief in which is centralized on the superiority of the male sex; known as phallocentrism. The male gaze can easily be applied or seen in contemporary advertising. The 21st century has opened up new doors to make the way we access things much mor...


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...aze': Jacques Lacan. Available: http://keca2media.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/the-gaze-jacques-lacan.html. Last accessed 5 Jan 2014.

Grosz, E (2013). Jacques Lacana : A Feminist Introduction. New York: Routledge. 224 pages.

Hein, C (2008). Laura Mulvey, Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. London: GRIN Verlag. p3-4.

Laura mulvey. (1975). visual pleasure and narrative cinema. Available: https://www.amherst.edu/system/files/media/1021/Laura%2520Mulvey%252C%2520Visual%2520Pleasure.pdf. Last accessed 5 Jan 2014.

UNILEVER. (2014). The Dove® Campaign for Real Beauty. Available: http://www.dove.us/social-mission/campaign-for-real-beauty.aspx. Last accessed 14th Jan 2014.

zlorhenley . (2011). The Male Gaze. Available: http://www.slideshare.net/zlorhenley/laura-mulvey. Last accessed 10 Jan 2014.

O'Mahony, E (2011). 21 Steps to Confidence. London: PDMI Publishing. p83-p84.

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