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The Contribution Of Feminist Criticism To Opera Studies - Essay Example

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The paper is discussing issues of women discrimination in opera as discussed in the book by Catherine Clement. The feministic work “Opera: The undoing of Women” were created at the end of 1970’s. The author strongly believes that in opera women are oppressed and men dominate over them. …
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The Contribution Of Feminist Criticism To Opera Studies
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Download file to see previous pages In order to defend the position of a woman and stop discrimination, feminism penetrates all the spheres of life. As the old values of the society have been formed for a long time and are reflected in the works of art, it became necessary for the strugglers for human rights to make feminist movement influence the sphere of art. Old plots of classical art creations are very popular today and widely used by producers for their performances. However, feminists claim that many of these plots should be modified. The trouble is that they plunge us into the past values and traditions feminists did their best to change. As the plots are too old, the representation of women is usually too discriminative and reminds men about their dominance in the past. Under such influence the efforts of feminists risk to come to nothing, thus they consider it necessary to impose their effect on the sphere of the modern art. The given paper will provide the overview of the feminist influence in the sphere of mass media and demonstrate how the modern opera is affected by the feminist movement. The main argument of feminists is the “male gaze” that can be traced in modern performances. Notwithstanding that feministic mood penetrated many fields, the sphere of film-making remained almost unchanged. It keeps using motives, which are considered to be classical, in spite of the fact that they were formed in the patriarchal society. A woman continues playing secondary role. Boetticher explains: "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."1 If to trace the literary works on the topic, it becomes clear that the problem was started to be considered by the strugglers for women’s rights already in 1970s. The work by Mulvey titled "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" discussed the secondary role and discrimination of women. The author states: "in their traditional exhibitionist role women are simultaneously looked at and displayed, with their appearance coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that they can be said to connote to-be-looked-at-ness," and as a result contends that in film a woman is the "bearer of meaning, not maker of meaning.”2 The author draws the readers’ attention to the theory of Lacan that explains how the performances contributes to gender discrimination by depicting women as objects for sexual exploitation. Mulvey emphasizes the importance of re-consideration of the plots used to make performances. She states that the radical changes in the film-making structure are crucial as it is the only way to eliminate gender discriminative motives from modern performances. The issues of women discrimination in opera was discussed in the book by Catherine Clement. The feministic work “Opera: The undoing of Women” were created at the end of 1970’s. The author strongly believes that in opera women are oppressed and men dominate over them. She underlines that women in opera are portrayed as victims, who cannot express their own feelings and who sacrifice their lives for their beloved men. The life of these women in most situations has a tragic end. Really, it is possible to trace that most of the female protagonists appear in difficult circumstances and they are always unhappy and dissatisfied. In order to prove that it is enough to overview the most famous plots that are depicted in opera. The main heroine of “Tosca” Floria has committed suicide after she got to know about the execution of her beloved. The opera “Madam Butterfly” is rather popular, but if to consider it from critical point of view, it is plot is ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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