It astounds me that all of the feminist film theory I soaked up in college is still put to use on a near regular basis! I LOVE MY LIFE! Anyway, I contributed an article to Bitch Flicks as part of their monthly theme week, this week centered on the female gaze.
For those unfamiliar, Laura Mulvey wrote Visual Pleasure In Narrative Cinema in 1973. The essay focuses on Freudian constructs in film, specifically the ways in which narrative cinema creates a space that aligns the audience with the controlling, dominant male ego through the "male gaze." It is definitely worth a read but for those who are averse to phrases like "castration anxiety" let's just say that women have been a prop in narrative film for a long long time. Used to evoke desire, fear, or simply advance a plot, women have largely remained a passive, one dimensional presence on screen, reinforcing the edicts of an unbalanced dynamic.
Bitch Flicks wanted to know the state of things. After all these years has anything changed in cinema? Are women still pretty little pictures? Bearers of meaning instead of makers of meaning? My essay, The Male Gaze, LOL: How Comedies Are Changing the Way We Look takes a peek at the male gaze, pointing out that a new class of female comediennes are out to subvert, trick and blind those that expect women to be polite pawns placed in a man's world- both on and off screen.
The whole male gaze series from Bitch Flicks (an archive of which can be found here) creates a positive outlook in terms of establishing the female gaze in contemporary narrative cinema! Slowly but surely we are turning heads in whatever direction we want them to go. So check it out! ...and also start watching Broad City (images seen here)! I love this damn show and totally freaked the other day when I accidentally walked through them shooting in the Meat Packing District! The two season finales are perfect, wonderful, hilarious, truthful examples of the strides female representation has made- highly recommend! Okay, now, back to Alaska! (OMG I AM IN ALASKA!)