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The Gaze: A Visual Representation - Essay Example

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An essay "The Gaze: A Visual Representation" outlines that the theory of the male gaze or the look was introduced by Laura Mulvey to illuminate the hidden messages that films express through the camera lenses. The feminist philosopher believes movies are representations of the male voyeuristic gaze…
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The Gaze: A Visual Representation
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Download file to see previous pages Does the camera represent a man’s gaze or perception on the story and to each of the characters or to the woman protagonist only? Was the movie done in a man’s point of view? Are the female characters looked upon as merely sexual objects? Did the film make the viewer feel the atmosphere of the story by presenting the visuals efficiently? Thus, the viewer must be keenly aware of what he or she sees on the screen and what they truly represent. The theory of the male gaze or the look was introduced by Laura Mulvey to illuminate the hidden messages that films tend to express through the camera lenses. The feminist philosopher believes movies are representations of the male voyeuristic gaze and views women characters of the story as objects that they can derive of pleasure or desire (Snow, 1989). It also gives an impression that the male viewer is superior to the object that he is gazing at, particularly the woman on the film, thereby giving him a complete access to explore the woman’s beauty, her body and her personality without any hesitation. Evidence for this theory can be seen in most Hollywood films with romance, comedy and teen flick themes. For instance, teenage summer films usually feature a beach scene where a totally gorgeous woman in a bikini will emerge from the water after a swim, with the camera zooming each part of her body in a provocative way before landing on her face. In this manner, the camera replaces the male viewer’s eyes, showing the woman as what the male director must have been seeing on the actress. In the movie series “The Twilight Saga”, the male gaze is very evident on how the camera perceives the female protagonist Bella Swan. To emphasize the female lead character, the camera shows blow up shots on the actress’ face, eyes and mouth, how her hands move, and how she carries her awkward body. Even Bella’s heartbeat, how she whispers some words, the way she eats, sleep and dream were all exemplified in the film. By just looking at her, the viewer may feel a certain level of intimacy and even attraction. Suddenly, the viewer becomes Edward Cullen or Jacob Black, the male characters in the film who desires Swan. She may be presented as a helpless teenager in the story but the male viewer, as represented by the camera, will eventually see Swan as an object of affection and desire (Edwards, 2009). Furthermore, as the movie industry becomes bolder and innovative in recent years, the male gaze is gradually becoming irrelevant in visualization. Gone are the days when men plague the movie production staff and crew. Today, women play an active role in the movies, taking the place of directors, producers, writers and even cameramen. Together with the shift in the filmmaking, the taste and perception of the stories and how they are presented has also changed. According to Cooper (2000), the gaze that Hollywood movies currently denote is no more of the male’s but of heterosexuals. The spectators now are a mix of men, women, gays, lesbians, and even children who remark a film with different degrees and angles, therefore generalizing the theory as ‘the gaze’ instead of concentrating only on the ‘male gaze’. Going back to “The Twilight Saga”, it is apparent that the gaze has also been established in the male characters Cullen and Black through the eyes of Swan. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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