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Feminist and psychoanalytic theories of film - Essay Example

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Feminism film theory is concerned with whether or not the role played by women in film works to advance feminism or diminish its agenda. This paper aims at highlighting feminist film theory through psychoanalysis. The way women are depicted in films and movies is of primary concern to feminists because it contributes to the advancement of feminist principles. The way women characters are portrayed in films also contributes to the way that women are perceived in the society. This is because, just as in the real world situations, women in films and movies are also subject to characterisation that is in tandem with societal stereotypes. Feminist film theory tries to explain the way women are depicted in movies and the effect that this portrayal has on society at large. Psychoanalysis of films, from a feminist point of view, illustrates how emphasis is put on what emotion or action that the female character in the film is able to elicit from the viewers. Through this analysis, it emerges that most of the focus is directed at the male audience in satisfaction of what is called the male gaze (McGOWAN, 2008:132). This gives a lot of significance to what the female character represents, and in this context more than the part she plays in bringing out the theme of the film. Psychoanalysis of films through a feminist perspective reveals that women’s role in films is not as weighty as that of men. This because women are supposed to bring out a meaning of feeling from the male character(s) that that inspires the essence and true character of the hero in the film (McCABE, 2012:101). Psychoanalysis of films brings to the fore the fact that women play passive roles. This means that they are objectified and used as objects that are to be adored and exploited to serve the higher needs of men in the film. The most prominent phenomena associated with this are the sexual objectification of women in films (LAPSLEY & WESTLAKE, 2006:231). This is analysed by looking at how men in films perceive women characters in films. It is seen that men advance this notion of portraying women as sex objects to be toyed and played with, but of not much importance apart from that. Men in the film are seen parading women in an exhibitionist manner like trophies to be admired. Their roles in films are already set in the script writer’s mind by the social stereotyping that exists around them. Through further analysis is shown that this objectification also exists in the audiences’ mind because of the responses that are elicited from them. These responses are lined with sexual undertones in every aspect that the film is associated with the society. This is illustrated, by the way, the media reports on film, and the emphasis it puts on the roles played by women (NELMES, 2003:345). Through societal conditioning, the target audience of a film possesses a mind set that promotes the objectification of women not only in cinemas, but also in the real world. Thus, the world in which feminism exists is aligned to feminism’s demise. All of these features are attributed to voyeurism which promotes the objectification of women as instruments of pleasure (LeBEAU, 2001:78). The best way to advance the ideals of feminism in films is to denounce voyeurism in films and advocate for removal male dominance in films. This can be done by distancing the female character from that of men ...Show more
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Feminist and Psychoanalytic Theories of Film Name: Institution: Date: Feminist film theory is analysis of films basing the analysis from a feminist point of view using feminist theories and ideals. All the elements in a film are analysed using this theory and criticism is made based on feminism principles…
Feminist and psychoanalytic theories of film
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