Women Are Controlled And Guided By Patriarchal Male Gaze

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Essentially, a woman’s place in society’s stratification is defined by the outward manifestation of her person, which is identified first and foremost by her gender. Simone de Beauvoir asserts that women are characterized as “others” or as “not male” . This distinction would not be possible if women were not recognizable by sight as not male. Due to this, it is relevant to look at film and its associations with visual representations of the woman and the male gaze. As John Berger recognises “men act, women appear…men look at women…women themselves being looked at” . This succinctly defines that the position of women in patriarchal culture depends on look and elucidates that women exist only in relation to men. Thus, this essay will explore to what extent women are controlled and guided by the patriarchal male gaze as is reflected in visual popular culture, in particular, narrative cinema, with specific reference to Laura Mulvey’s essay Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. In her essay, Mulvey explores the representation of women in culture, specifically “the woman as an icon, displayed for the gaze and the enjoyment of men” and discusses two categories of pleasurable looking: voyeurism and narcissism. Voyeurism is concerned with deriving pleasure from viewing a distant other, and projecting one 's fantasies onto that person, while narcissism is involved with some form of association or recognition with one 's self in the image of another one is viewing. For Mulvey,

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