Distorting Reality: Reality TV Shows and the Male Gaze - Essay Example

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Distorting Reality: Reality TV Shows and the Male Gaze

This paper illustrates that a particularly vulnerable sector or demographic are adolescents, not only because of the access they have to virtually all forms of media – such as the internet, television, radio, newspapers and magazines – but also because they are at an age where they are particularly vulnerable. They have yet to develop sufficient maturity and discernment necessary to filter out potentially destructive messages and unhealthy ideas streaming in from various media sources. Laura Mulvey 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.
A very good example of what Mulvey is talking about can be seen in reality TV shows. There have been a slew of reality TV shows out in the market over the past few years.

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The discussion will attempt to address the primary question framed as follows: Is contemporary popular culture organized around the male gaze? There can be no denying that media plays an important role in the molding of social values and in the legitimization of personal perceptions…
Author : halvorsongolden

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