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April 1995, Week 3


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Ronald Tuch <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 20 Apr 1995 14:25:06 CDT
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
 Some feminist critics have made the convincing argument that
in traditional film narrative the spectator has been
conditioned to view the narrative from a masculine perspective.
Thus the male gaze has been regarded as the dominant author/ity
while the woman has been generally relegated to the one being-
looked-at.  Laura Mulvey makes the point that the female character
has a being-looked-atness about her, and that she assumes the
passive role of being the object of the male gaze. By extension
the spectator is often forced to view the narrative from a male
perspective,  is led to identify with the masculine point of view.
This has allowed films to portray male voyeurism--the man looks,
the woman is the mere object of "his" gaze.  Rape would seem in
this context to confuse perspectives: on the one hand the cinematic
ideological aesthetic machine has conditioned the spectator to take
a male point of view, to view the world as men see it, while
at the same time that point of view is made repugnant, since its
aim is to violate and harm.  The spectator might be gripped by an
ambivalence which makes viewing uncomfortable. The reason the rape
of women is not discussed with the same enthusiasm given PF, is
that it is too disturbing to consider,  it places spectator into
such a moral and aesthetic state of confusion that the only response
could be denial and avoidance.  Ironically enough, I feel, that male
rape is somehow less disturbing: men can talk about it, joke about it,
and take distance on it.
On Wed, 19 Apr 1995 [log in to unmask] wrote:
> ----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> r. k.--
> Why all the uproar about the buggery scene in PULP FICTION (many people have
> mentioned it)?  Yes, it was unpleasant but (I must climb upon the feminist
> soapbox for a brief moment) how many scenes of rape/violence against women
> are depicted each year in many, many films with little or no comment.
>  However, when a man is raped in a movie, it's the source of much discussion.
>  Is sexual violence more disturbing to the viewer when it's inflicted upon a
> man, or is it just that people notice it more because viewers are less
> accustomed to seeing it?  Comments, anyone?
> --Amy