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. ...
The film is a virtual commentary on stereotypes and the deleterious effects of stereotyping.
For instance, the "evidence" used to demonstrate that Megan is a lesbian or has lesbian tendencies is the fact that she is a vegetarian, the photos she keeps of girls, and a displayed poster of Melissa Etheridge, known to be a gay icon admired and loved by lesbians. Equally disturbing are the activities they are made to undergo at the camp. For instance, they are bombarded by images of women performing tasks that are stereotyped as being for women and men performing tasks that are widely regarded as being for men. What this does is that it pigeonholes women and relegates them to certain roles in society, and conveys the message that they cannot nurture dreams that defy social conventions or venture beyond the parameters that have been set out for them. In effect, this supports the theory of the "male gaze", for in fact, these roles and these boxes have been created by a largely patriarchal and heterosexual society, where women are judged according to the yardsticks set up by men. The attractiveness of women, for instance, is judged through male lenses. If a woman behaves in a manner disapproved by men, then she is castigated, or in this case, called a lesbian. For example, the lead character's abject refusal to make out with a male character in the movie, Jared, is perceived as a deviation from the norm. This springs from the assumption that women jump at the chance to make out with men.
The look and feel of the movie is very cotton-candy. There are deep hues of blue and pink. This suggests that the director is using color to further emphasize the point on stereotyping. Deep blue is