Researching Media Audiences

Introduction to Male Gaze and The Heroines of Our Era

Laura Mulvey is a feminist and a film critic originally from Great Britain. She is predominantly famous for her essay, Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema which she wrote in the year 1975 in which she empowers women and brings out the way a specific gender is represented on-screen in reel life. Cinema is an impactful platform that influences a million spectators.It has correctly been around forty-five years to her work on the male gaze and to a huge mass it would seem to be a waste and no more valid. But, unfortunately, yet the scene is the same and women continue to be an object for sexual pleasure and satisfaction for the spectators as well as the narrators. Laura Mulvey emphasizes on objectifying women in movies and terms it as Male Gaze. She wants to bring out the untracked and undiscussed issue that a woman undergoes and has to face a stereotypical gaze. This gaze is by the men of the society. The gaze signifies a way men objectify a woman and treat her as their entity. The Gaze is an untouched action, non-verbal communication and a visual ideology. It communicates a lot about the person’s thought process and his craving towards his gaze. The way an individual looks at somebody defines the first ideology that strikes his brain and thus, the body reacts accordingly. Laura emphasizes the visual pleasure of a glare. The creative media, especially Hollywood movies are involved majorly in portraying visual pleasure as the male gaze. (Galt,2016 p172)The look given by a male is often termed as scopophilia. It means the pleasure of watching. Scopophilia is the pleasure that a man takes while looking at somebody. Women have been displayed like an object in the field of Cinema, their body curves, the opened hair, rain dance are all from a single perspective. The audience does not even know that there could be a different perspective of the entire shot. The society is only shown what exactly, the male gaze experiences. The cinema and media narrators only bring out the women’s body for objectifying her and sexually pleasing themselves. Not to forget that only sixteen percent of women are an active media participant. This gives an upper hand to the males for encouraging the male gaze. (Helt,2016)

Laura was very clear in her analysis. She clearly stated that women are called for roles in movies for objectifying them for the audience as sexual pleasure and the participants in the movie. She also adds, that none of the men was objectified during the movies and did not find any trace of glare. Hollywood cinema is the most dominant entertainment and influential platform to send out a message. The narrators must not stop emphasizing the fact that gender biases are a strong issue.Specifically displaying women in seductive postures and showing their bare body in slow motion would only hamper the spectators. This would only provide one side of perception to the audience. Nobody would come to know about the women’s perception. A University in San Diego researched and the study brought out the report stating only 11-12% of the women are the film protagonists. Cinema usually revolves around the male character and would only tame the female character as per the narrator or the male lead. Only the male leads and characters cannot be blamed, the narrators, filmmakers, and the creators must not involve such misogynist activity that activates the male gaze and degrades a women’s perspective. Mulvey states that "the sexual power disorientation is a controlling power in film and developed for the joy of the male audience, which is profoundly established in male-centric philosophies and talks." This implies the male spectators are the intended interest group, accordingly their necessities are met first and that this issue comes from a good old, male-driven society. Her hypothesis on how ladies are depicted in film and the media is similarly as predominant today as it was in 1975 when her content was first out for publishing. Mulvey accepts that females are in reality "the carrier of significance and not the producer of importance," which proposes that ladies and women are not put in a job where they can assume responsibility for a scene; rather they are just put there to be seen from an externalized perspective. Furthermore, she accepts that such a way of enjoying a movie is never substituted thus, the male population are in truth, the ones who are being seen as such. This imbalance upholds the old and obsolete thought of "men do the looking, and ladies are to be taken a gander at.” (Conaway,2018)

The males of our society are hegemonic. The patriarchal society has taken a cutting edge over the women and this leads to the male gaze in general. Two significant terms we should think about the male look are 'voyeurism' and 'scopophilia'. Voyeurism is the act of increasing sexual joy from watching others when they are exposed or occupied with sexual action. Scopophilia is like voyeurism however more outrageous. The male look has three viewpoints: one that of the man behind the camera, one of the male characters, and one of the male observers. At the end of the day, the greater part of the substance we devour is made by a man for men. These outcomes are in a range of issue. Generalization of ladies on-screen can have genuine effects. It makes men think it is passable to take a gander at and remark on other ladies. Watching a solitary account of how ladies ought to drive us to accept that it is something that we ought to try to be. (Chang, &Mcguire, 2017 p227)

James Bond

James Bond series is a very famous and applicable example to state in support of Laura Mulvey’s theory of male gaze. The episode of “Die Another Day”, this was the time in the series where James Bond meets Jinx. The scene is characterized by Jinx coming out of the sea after completing her swim. She pops out of the water body suddenly and the scene is mesmerized by most of the male audiences. Jinx enters the shore and James catch hold of his binoculars for watching her wet. The director displays the scene through the vignette of the binoculars to watch Jinx from Bond’s perspective. (Collins, 2017 p418) And only Bond’s perspective was shown to the spectators. The audience was cornered to objectify Jinx as a sexually arousing female. Her large breasts, and her erotic entry, made the narrators and creators jump to the other episode that said: “to be looked at ness”. The complete shot was taken in slow motion to make the appearance look more erotic and sexual. According to Laura, at this moment, we can put up a point regarding objectifying Jinx. It is not how she is, we are only being focused on what Bond’s eye look at, for us. Jinx was not even introduced and the creators objectified her as an erotic object. Jinx is oblivious, while Bond is mocking her smartness. The so-called “Magnificent view” was just for making fun of her, her intelligence, and taking a toll over her body as well. It signifies the importance of perspective. The episode is seen by the audience through Bond’s perception. We, as spectators are forced to watch the exact things, he perceived.

It is genuinely discouraging to acknowledge how little film and the portrayal of female characters have progressed. In any case, as discouraging as Mulvey's assessment of ladies before the camera is, it is a lot more terrible to get with the entertainers themselves about what occurs behind the camera.


Amongst various other similar movies, this one of the films that stand apart while pertaining to this hypothesis is Transformers establishment by Michael Bay. Right off the bat, these motion pictures have a gigantic distinction in the gender character proportion, quickly stating the movie as undisplayable. The movie does no signify half of its crowd. All the ladies Bay projects in this establishment are sexualized here and there and hold the least significance to the entire plot of the story or as Laura Mulvey would picturise this: it is simply to satisfy the hetero man, delivering the movie along with dashes of superfluous generalization and sexism. (Brands, 2020)

Bay, obviously went into this establishment because of sexual externalization as he cast probably the most explicitly generalized ladies in the esteemed Hollywood. For instance, in the primary film, actress Megan Fox plays the character of Sam Witwicky's (Shia LaBeouf) love and attention intrigue, and should someone overlook the crucial shot where Megan is in a tight, low profile top twisted around a motor? The debasing shot is additionally carried along with an assortment of different visual angles and edges and scene that are just remembered for the film for sexual delight focused towards the hetero male. This unimaginative and unsurprising character paradigm didn't stop at the initial scarcely any movies either, as Bay kept on projecting restricted ladies in his movies, and all the ladies remembered for the establishment are considered characteristically alluring, according to the professional aspect in acting are optional to their demonstrating vocations. For instance, model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley assumes the part of Sam's better half in Transformers: Dark of the Moon of the year 2011 and she has an assortment of scenes where she strolls around with insignificant apparel on. Or on the other hand shouldn't something be said about Nicola Peltz in the movie Transformers: Age of Extinctionof 2014, who is likewise typified with negligible attire and worms-eye camera edges, letting crowds see a ton of skin, inconclusively above a male entertainer would uncover in this establishment.

Conclusion on Male Gaze and The Heroines of Our Era

The typical male gaze takes numerous structures, yet can be recognized by circumstances where female characters are constrained by, and generally exist as far as what they speak to, the saint. As Budd Boetticher, who coordinated exemplary Westerns during the 1950s, put it:

“What counts is what the heroine provokes, or rather what she represents. She is the one, or rather the love or fear she inspires in the hero, or else the concern he feels for her, who makes him act the way he does. In herself, the woman has not the slightest importance.”

Mulvey has highlighted the good, old and monotonous style of movies, cinema, and narration we see each day, and her belief systems have made a more present-day and honest rendition of the film as we currently have more practical depictions of female characters than any time in recent memory. (Oliver, 2017 p452)There were certain criticisms also that Laura Mulvey’s essay has to undergo. People speculated about female gaze too. Though, few said that female gaze can be eliminated and be ignored. In “Watching the Detective: Enigma of Female Gaze” it was stated that the male gaze is different from female gaze because the female gaze has another perception to look at somebody. It cannot be specific with one particular gender or race. Therefore, it overcomes the phallocentric power of the gaze. With regards to women's activist hypothesis, the nonattendance of conversation of racial relations, inside the "aggregating classification of Women", is a cycle of forswearing which discredits the truth that the analysis of numerous women's activist film pundits concerns just the artistic introduction and portrayal of white women. Throughout being met by snares, an average Black lady said that "to see individuals of colour in the position [that] white ladies have involved in the film always . . .", is to see an exchange without transformation; consequently, the oppositional look incorporates scholarly obstruction, and comprehension and consciousness of the legislative issues of race and prejudice through realistic whiteness, comprehensive of the male look.

References for Male Gaze and The Heroines of Our Era

Brands, S. H. (2020). A Rough Night for Comedy: The Female Gaze Through the Feminist Carnivalesque (Bachelor's thesis).

Chang, C. W., &Mcguire, P. D. (2017). Female Bodies and Visual Fantasy: Psychoanalysis of Women's Representation in Axe's Television Commercials. Media Watch, 8(2), 222-228.

Collins, L. (2017). Mulvey, patriarchy and gender: expression and disruption in visual art. New review of film and television studies, 15(4), 415-420.

Conaway, C. M. (2018). Male gaze and the heroines of our era (Doctoral dissertation, San Francisco State University).

Galt, R. (2016). Laura Mulvey (1941–). In Fifty-One Key Feminist Thinkers (pp. 171-175). Routledge.

Helt, C. (2016). Cinema sisters: Laura Mulvey, Cindy Sherman, and the destruction of the male gaze (Doctoral dissertation, Azusa Pacific University).

Oliver, K. (2017). The male gaze is more relevant, and more dangerous, than ever. New Review of Film and Television Studies, 15(4), 451-455.

Remember, at the center of any academic work, lies clarity and evidence. Should you need further assistance, do look up to our Management Assignment Help

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