The Male Gaze - Laura Mulvey

In 1975, Laura Mulvey's essay "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" highlights the concept of the Male Gaze. This theory underlines the themes within film that objectify and degrade women. The theory is split into three sections:

    1. How Men look at Women
    2. How Women look at themselves 
    3. How Women look at Women
The theory of the Male gaze demonstrates how women must view narrative cinema from the male point of view, or the Male Gaze. Mulvey was heavily associated with Second-wave feminism, which brings some critism to her theory, as this wave of feminism is often regarded as sexist towards women due to the radical nature in which it approached gender equality. This is because members of the movement were attracted to the idea of female dominance, rather than the idea of gender equality.

Mulvey continues to state that in order for women to be represented equally within the workplace, they must work to eliminate the objectification in the general culture, including narrative cinema.

The theory could be criticized for only highlighting the objectification of women within cinema, and taking no account to the pressure's placed on men within society due to film culture.

An example of the Male Gaze theory is Lady Gaga's Bad Romance music video, in which men are seen to be bidding for the artist. This shows clearly how men are looking at women as objects of desire. The second point within the it is how women look at themselves. There are clear body image stereotypes as men seen to be likely to desire women if they act or look in a certain way. Finally, the women who are watching this video are clearly viewing it through the Male Gaze.

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