Where is the Male Gaze?
Rebecca's rebellious spirit and independence may lead some to consider Girl on a Motorcycle to be a film that is liberating for women. But when examined more closely, it is clear that this is just another movie whose action is propelled by a phallocentric male gaze.
Rebecca leaves her loving husband, Raymond, for a man who raped her some time earlier. When she decides to set off on the road, the male gaze is made apparent as she zips up her leather suit and her breasts are squeezed tight against the leather. She leaves town, thinking about how pathetic Raymond is and how much more desirable David is. We are then shown a scene in which Raymond is made a fool by his young students. This is done to let the spectator know that Rebecca needs a "real" man, which is certainly not Raymond. The film is narrated by Rebecca's inner thoughts, leading the viewers to believe that this is a true desire for women--to be dominated, taken, controlled. The most clear instance of this desire is when Rebecca says "it's his bloody kindness that's killing me", referring to Raymond. This is proof that the film has a phallocentric drive in that it is implying that women should not be treated well because they don't want to be treated well.
What at first seems as a liberating act, Rebecca's road trip is in fact just a product of a man's, David's, control over her.