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August 1995, Week 1


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 4 Aug 1995 09:14:54 -0600
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (43 lines)
Douglas Straughn-Hunter writes:
"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?"
One thing to be taken into account is that Mulvey is not drawing so directly
from Freud as from his repositioning and redefining by Lacan--a point that,
I think, needs to be addressed even more directly, since Lacan has proven to
be quite useful for many feminist critics in literature and other media as
well as film over the last few decades or so.  For contrasting opinions, see
the articles by Mary Ann Doane and Gaylyn Studlar in the latest edition of
FILM THEORY AND CRITICISM (Oxford Press), ed. Mast, Cohen and Braudy.
There has also been recent work (which is out there, though I'm afraid I don't
know it terribly well) on the male gaze and the homoerotic.  I do suspect that
the issue of the gaze and the construction of the image need to be looked at
in more historical terms than has been the case for the most part, particularly
given the rise of the fetishization of the male image (on tv as well as in
perhaps more so, if anything).
Don Larsson, Mankato State U (MN)
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