Mulvey DQ and Blog Post

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In the article "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema", Mulvey frequently mentions that we live in a phallocentric world. Phallocentric refers to something that is centered on men or on a male viewpoint, especially one held by entail the domination of women by men. Mulvey demonstrates that phallocentricity is inadvertently expressed in films by the different "looks". The first "look" is the actual events that take place in the film, the second "look" is act of looking at something (voyeuristic), and the third "look" is the act of being looked at (narcissistic). Mulvey describes the last two as men being the one who look and women being the ones who are looked at. She solidifies this by provided examples of several films where the woman's role is that of a supporting character. She exists only as a motivator for the male protagonist. If she did not serve the purpose of a motivator, she would add nothing to the plot structure of the film.

I have noticed in films and television that the woman is often sexualized no matter what her role is. However, in the television show Firefly, one of the protagonists, Zoe, is displayed as an independent woman who is just as fierce and skilled in combat as the main male protagonist, Malcolm. I've seen many episodes of this show and not once was there a reference, jokingly or seriously, relating to the fact that she was a woman. In the show, Zoe is married to a man who rarely engages in combat but is an extremely skilled pilot. I think this is one of the most equal representations of gender I have seen in a television show.

Phallocentric films are everywhere but once in a while there are representations in the media of very equal gender roles. Do you think that films that display phallocentricity (or men as lookers and women as the looked-upon) are a cause of a phallocentric reality or do you think we have a phallocentric reality because of films that display this concept? In other words, do you think some women feel the need to be exhibitionists because it is their nature or because that is how they are frequently portrayed in the media? And do you think some men feel the need to look at women only in a sexual manner because it is their nature or because that is how men are portrayed in the media?

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This page contains a single entry by Paige Bystrom published on October 14, 2012 9:07 PM.

10/15 Discussion Question: Mulvey "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" was the previous entry in this blog.

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