active or passive? driver or rider?
In Girl on a Motorcycle the male gaze is maintained through the helplessness of the female who is torn between two men. Her road trip takes place not so much between two physical places as between two male protectors. Even on the road she is never free of the men in her life: her thoughts and internal monologue is always directed towards one or the other of them. She may be running away from her husband but she is running to another man which means she is never actually on her own. If anything the speed of her journey is indicative of the need for her new man and shows how she really is unable to cope with life on her own even during the short periods she is on the road alone. The introduction to the movie sets the stage for the male gaze that penetrates the entire movie. The dream montage depicts the internalized male gaze that haunts Rebecca's mind. Throughout the movie there are extended shots of this girl on her motorcycle speeding across the screen but no important shots of her view of the road. We are expected to admire her journey but not participate as if we were her, the rider, the woman. Rebecca is never without some sort of phallus dominating her journey. She leaves husband on a phallic motorcycle that is hers only through Daniel -- the man she is leaving her husband for. This movie is not a liberating film for women at all.