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Screen Bodies - Movie Review Example

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The complex interaction of "looks" is a specific topic in film and cinema studies. From a perspective of psychoanalysis, Mulvey's article "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" provides insightful dimensions particular for the studies of viewing object and subject…
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Screen Bodies
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Screen Bodies

The crucial point of active "male gaze" in shaping the content and structure of representation also suggests her concern about the power of "gaze".
As Mulvey claims 'in a world ordered by sexual imbalances 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', she argues that visuality is structured in this gendered way, the castration complex has implication for images of women in this patriarchal visuality. She says that 'the representation of the female form...in the last resort...speaks castration and nothing else.' Thus Mulvey suggests that women cannot be represented in the movies on their own terms, but only in patriarchal terms.
Mulvey's essay also draws on two psychoanalytic concepts: Scopophilia and narcissistic to elucidate different pleasurable structures of looking within the cinematic situation. The "Scopophilic" attribute is defined as the pleasure arising from looking at an erotic object. The sexual satisfaction then comes from watching, in a controlling sense and an objectified other. In contrast, the "narcissistic" (ego libido) is explained as the further developing of "Scopophilic", the process of spectators to seek the likeness of their self-image with the characters they were seeing on-screen ,thus to identify and recognize the "ego" existence. Mulvey suggests that both of the two aspects in looking pleasure have privileged a "male gaze". The image of woman was represented for the active gaze of man. The male spectators enjoy the pleasure of watching female images on-screen and attain the satisfaction of self-recognition, whereas female images represented served as either the erotic object for characters within the screen story or the erotic object for the spectator within the auditorium ( Mulvey 1989:19)
Mulvey's argument on visual pleasure was basically based on the background of cinema and film studies, however, some basic principles on studying spectatorship and the way of human body being represented might still make sense when we turn to another context. Therefore, based on comparative case studies on two TV programs, the following part is going to analyze if the female images in TV Docu-porn are represented for a male gaze.
II. Case studies of TV docu-porns Family Business and Hardcore
1. Double standards on Male and Female body representations(600)
With the widespread advancement of digital technology, as Arthurs assume we have entered into a third era in television-'an era of abundance' which has broadly expanded the "diversity" of the content on-screen and thus the "choices" of the audience confront. 'Narrowcast audiences are no longer "objects" of mass marketing, but "subject" of choice' (Hartley 2002:63) It suggests that the taste/need of the audience is influencing the content and structure of the program's production. Catering to the needs of the contemporary audience, the Docu-porn is one form of the sexually explicit content abundantly seen on TV screen. The TV spectators are actively seeking the content to cater to their taste but not the passive "objects" waiting to be given any screen images. However, it should be recognized that not all the spectators are equally processing the diverse "choices" and the ability to influence the content and s ... Read More
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