Visual Arts and Film Studies 13 May 2012 mulvey’s analysis of visual structure extended to consider racial difference Laura Mulvey, a feminist film philosopher is renowned for her essay titled ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’…
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Her work was inspired by theories presented by Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan (Mulvey 836). She incorporated their theories as “political weapons” (Mulvey 833) into her own work. Based on these concepts, she contended that conventional Hollywood cinema place the viewer in a masculine subject situation; and women are depicted as mere objects of admiration. Traditional Hollywood cinema fostered spectators to relate to the hero, evidently a man. She states (Mulvey 837): “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. Woman displayed as sexual object is the leit-motif of erotic spectacle: from pin-ups to striptease, from Ziegfeld to Busby Berkeley, she holds the look, plays to and signifies male desire. Mainstream film neatly combined spectacle and narrative.” On the other hand, Mulvey states that women were “to-be-looked-at-ness” (Mulvey 837). She conceived two primary roles in which males construed female characters during this era. These were “voyeuristic” and “fetishist”. ...
In addition, that she had not borne in mind that the impact of a feminist role might be different on bisexual or heterosexual spectators. Moreover, she failed to account for media audience researches related to fans and their interface with celebrities. Mulvey wrote in rebuttal that the purpose of her writing was to provoke though and present novel notions instead of a logical academic work. However, her views were slightly modified on some issues as demonstrated in her subsequent article “Afterthoughts on Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”. Generally, the portrayal of blacks in Hollywood cinema and their categorical absence in films leads to condemnation by spectators. Normally, black spectators avoid identifying themselves with depicted characters and even oppose the convincing elements of films. Most articles such as Mulvey’s ‘Imaginary Signifier by Christian Metz’, ‘Difference’ by Stephen Heath and the like revolved around issues of gendered viewership. Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott have presented an attention-grabbing analysis of the personification of blacks in Hollywood in their article titled “How the Movies Made a President” (Dargis and Scott). They illustrate the development of characters assigned to blacks during the previous decades “from the ghetto to the boardroom, from supporting roles in kitchens, liveries, and social-problem movies to the rarefied summit of the Hollywood A-list”. This draws attention towards the crucial resemblance between how blacks are allotted stereotypical and relegated roles and how women encountered similar derogatory treatment. Although, the stereotyping in characters is different for the two groups; but primarily it represents the
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