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August 1995, Week 1


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Douglas Straughn-Hunter <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 2 Aug 1995 17:18:41 -0400
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In Response to Marsha Derrickson and [log in to unmask]
Marsha wrote:
>I don't' think that at any time Mulvey was suggesting that the
>phallocentrism of culture and Freud are Synonymous.
I agree, in that I don't believe it to be through an overt intention (sic) of
the author that this link is possible in her article.  I suggest that it is a
structural feature of the article.  You mention that Mulvey opens with the
idea of a political "use" of psychoanalysis.  Indeed she does, and it is
through this "use" that the link may occur.   For her "use" to have a meaning
it must appeal to a truth value for Freud's work, it must validate Freud and
support its cultural relevance. If the claim that Freudian phallocentrism is
synonymous with film culture at large is not present on some level does her
article make any sense?
>Furthermore, she speaks mainly of the role of women and the way >the
audience of a patriarchal society gazes at women if film not the >totality or
essence of masculine viewing.
Of course I agree here as well.  In no way do I claim that Mulvey OVERTLY
 addressed the totality or essence of masculine viewing.  My suggestion was
more subtle than that.  Again, I am looking at the structural logic of her
text, its effects and its receptions.   Mulvey uses the term masculine to
define a singular structural element of narrative cinema while at the same
time claiming that the feminine plays a singular role in this structure.  The
obvious protest is that what she describes is SEXIST but not exclusively
masculine, a  distinction not made in her work..   In my view sexism will
always exceed the masculine and since there is no singular masculine
subjectivity her labeling of the gaze as such reduces the masculine to the
merely sexist or phallocentric.  What was pointed out to me in an e-mail the
other day is that Mulvey enacts a similar reduction in describing the role of
the feminine as well.
In the opinion of [log in to unmask] both men and women can solicit a
to-be-looked-at-ness.  Kinotopia presents the example of First Knight and the
exchanging of glances between the hero and the damsel in distress.  If this
is the case is the to-be-looked-at-ness constructed in the same way for the
male and female characters?  Also, how can we be sure that this is in excess
of Mulvey's claim that:
"A male movie star's glamorous characteristics are thus not those of the
erotic object of the gaze but those of the more perfect, more complete, more
powerful ideal ego conceived in the original moment of recognition in front
of the mirror."
Thank you both for the challenging responses.
Douglas Straughn-Hunter
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