Does Film Accurately Reflect Our Modern Society?

Hello to all, Koryn here. As a film studies scholar, the name Laura Mulvey rings in my ears in every dark movie theatre I sit down in.

And, as someone whose partner is not a film scholar, I realize the ways in which I can boil just about everything down to a Mulvey theory, and how maybe sometimes I struggle to bridge the gap between film analysis and simple movie going pleasure.

The particular Mulvey theory I refer to is from her piece Visual Please and Narrative Cinema. This piece was published in 1975 and has since become an essential in film studies. While Mulvey has published an update and admitted to limitations to her own piece, my mind always comes back to how valid her core arguments are, and how prevalent they are when applied to film.

First: the Male Gaze.

Described as a lens for watching film through the eyes of a heterosexual male which translates to a fetishistic or voyeuristic view of a female character, to the Male Gaze p.o.v. perceives a woman as an object or as something that lacks power. This lens accounts for the gender binary, and works to satisfy a heterosexual male perspective.

Mulvey’s purpose of bringing attention to the Male Gaze and writing her article Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema was to encourage new techniques of filmmaking, and to see an increase in feminist avant-garde films.

So why is it that I am able to apply the Male Gaze and Mulvey’s other theories detailed in her article to so many films produced today?