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June 1994


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Robert Hanczor <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 26 Jun 1994 12:13:31 CDT
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I posted this message for the very same reasons you mention.  The popular
opinion seems to be that the television viewing experience is very
different from the film experience -- the dark theatre, the intimate
relationship the spectator shares with the screen, and the diegetic
continuity the film experience offers the spectator.  Mulvey suggests that
this situation sets the mood for the masculine gaze; the fetishistic/
scopophilic gaze that objectifies the anxiety producing female character.
My argument is not a knee jerk reaction to the inference that the female
spectator has no place in the theatre.  I think Mulvey put out that fire
when she revisited the original article.  Rather, I'd like to use Mulvey's
ideas to discuss how the female spectator can participate in the program
NYPD Blue.  In my opinion, it would be difficult for the female spectator to
adopt an ego-recognizing position.  At the same time, I don't see how the
television viewing experience predetermines a masculine gaze of this program.
In NYPD Blue, it seems that the gaze of the camera and the spectator are not
subordinate to the gaze of the characters.  Rather, the camera offers a
subject position for the spectator.  Consequently, the female spectator
is able, as a result of the desire created by the male characters, to
adopt her own scopophilic gaze or to resist the anxiety by fantasizing
within the boundaries of the narrative.
As psychoanalytic criticism is not my gig, I'm not sure that these ideas
are appropriate.  But I am interested to know if anyone disagrees with
_Channels_ and/or has used psychoanalytic criticism of television texts.