Mulvey's essay can be asserted as a historical document, due to her examinations of the pleasurable and controlling dimensions of “vision” that several disciplines studied before her and extended after her work. She argued that the “unconscious” of the patriarchal system has projected itself unto the film narrative. The male gaze had perilously affected the discourse between the dominant and dominated sectors of society, where political binaries of man/woman and active/passive are present.
This paper will discuss the reasons why feminist film scholars adopted psychoanalytic film theory. It will also use feminist psychoanalytic spectatorship theory in studying Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1959). Feminist scholars adopted the psychoanalytic film theory, because the latter aims to examine and depict gender identity using cultural, instead of biological, concepts that are present in films, so that the exclusion of women in dominant film discourses can be identified and dismantled for purposes of political empowerment by breaking the domination of the male gaze and reversing spectatorship from male to female gazing. Rear Window (1959) depicts scopophilia through sexual stimulations of visual pleasures and narcissism, and its pervasive use of the sexual objectification of women, where the film sees them as sources of both pleasure and pleasure.
Feminist film scholars, during the 1970s, were interested in analyzing the diverse forms of gender oppression that relegated them to a “secondary” social and political status (Kaplan 1238). Their takeoff was the “cultural,” and not the biological, aspect of negative female experiences, where cultural semiotic systems present relationships in how women are seen and consumed in films and in societies where they live in. These scholars noted that the “objectification” of women, which limited their desires and objectives, could be the root cause of their oppressed conditions in real and reel life.
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This essay "Psychoanalytic Film Theory" deals with the genre peculiarities of the film "Rear Window". As the author puts it, psychoanalysis and semiotics have been used as working methodologies in understanding cinematic representations of women and the methods both gained momentum during the 1970s…
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