The first is a romantic comedy romp set in stylized candy colors with serious underlying tones. The second is a true-to-life drama that is serious and heavy from the get-go. But both speak volumes on female oppression and the primacy of the "male gaze" in film and popular culture.
Laura Mulvey (1990) has come up with the theory of the "male gaze", a theory that visual pop culture is tailored around pleasing the heterosexual male spectator and satisfying his desire for pleasure. Says Mulvey:
In a world ordered by sexual imbalance, pleasure in looking has been split between active/male and passive/female. The determining male gaze projects its fantasy onto the female figure, which is styled accordingly. In their traditional exhibitionist role women are simultaneously looked at and displayed, with their appearance coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that they can be said to connote looked-at-ness. Woman displayed as sexual object is the leitmotif of erotic spectacle: from pin-ups to striptease, from Ziegfield to Busby Berkeley, she holds the look, plays to and signifies male desire.
This paper will explore two movies where the issue of sexual roles, and the objectification of women, come into fore. These two movies are But I'm a Cheerleader and Boys Don't Cry. ...