Eyeing A1

A look at newspaper front pages from around the country

Looking at roles given to women

with 2 comments

Last Thursday in class, I thought we had one of more the interesting discussions when we talked about the passage we read in Visual Culture on Gendering the Gaze.  Briefly, the chapters discussed that as viewers we need to get passed the voyeuristic tendencies when watching movies. Additionally, the only time women really care about films is when they can relate to the female lead.

Laura Mulvey’s “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” argued that men are usually the protagonist and woman are merely objectified by the male gaze.

We can look at every big action summer blockbuster type of film and this still seems true. In Transformers, you have an average-looking make protagonist who needs to save humanity with a ridiculous good-looking woman, who falls for the guy.

Here’s a screen cap from the movie:

What does that have to do with the plot? Absolutely nothing and that’s part of the problem many of these writers are saying.

One of the movies that was brought up in class was Tomb Raider. There you have a strong female lead in Angelina Jolie, but still the producers of the film padded Jolie’s chest to give her a D-size bra. According, to an interview done with Jolie, she is already a C and the video game character is a DD. So, this was a nice compromise.

Mulvey states in he essay – which is from 1975, by the way – “The determining male gaze projects its fantasy onto the female figure, which is styled accordingly. In their traditional exhibitionist role women are simultaneously looked at and displayed, with their appearance coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that can be said to connote to-be-looked-at-ness.”

Thirty years later, most movies have no moved beyond that attitude. Even when women have strong leading roles, for the most part they objectified for the male viewer.


Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

April 7, 2010 at 9:03 pm

2 Responses

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  1. You hit the nail right on the head in this blog. Women continue to be objectified in movies even when they are the lead female character. No matter how strong a female character is there is always some types of weakness and often times it is a male character. This weakness is just another example of how film caters to the male gaze.


    April 11, 2010 at 3:11 pm

  2. What struck me most about reading Mulvey is that even though she was analyzing films from Hollywood’s Golden Era into the 1960s, so much of her discussion is still so relevant today, if not even more relevant. This to me is even more apparant as we watch the source material we have used for our remixes. Look at how women were shown (clothing, appearance etc.) in the 1950s and look at what we are seeing today. I feel like the female form has become much more fetish-ized and the camera’s gaze is much more overtly erotic. The more things change, the more they don’t.


    April 23, 2010 at 11:47 pm

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