Laura Mulvey introduces her study by explaining to readers that the main reasoning for having women put in a film set is a patriarchal unconscious. Women in this setting are an object just so men can see their obsessions and fascinations of beautiful women by using the linguistics of filmmaking, which makes films a superior method of representation of the patriarchy to fulfill man’s aspirations.
As Mulvey progresses in her article, she focuses on two specific types of visuals used in films; scopophilia or also called the male gaze, which was derived by Freud’s theory of having the scopophilia gaze and Lacan’s theory of the mirror stage where a child can attempt to identify with its self-image by looking in a mirror which is important for their ego. Mulvey explains in the article how pleasure in different ways is derived by these specific modes of looking, “Women displayed as sexual object it the leit-motiff of erotic spectacle: from pin ups to strip tease, from Ziegfeld to Busby Berkeley, she holds the look” (837). Which in layman’s terms means that women are only there for one reason; to be ogled at by men. Film makers use the camera to create a setting that makes the spectator a surrogate for the audience. Visualizing as the surrogate creates the fetishistic feeling for the audience. According to Mulvey, the use of films is an attempt to resolve the tension between being attracted to women or fearing her, which provides the masculine form of desire. We often make ourselves a singular and superior being that we aspire to become. Mulvey notes that this connects to the world of cinema, in that we compare ourselves to on screen characters we identify with and thus try to recreate their treads.
The male gaze is still very relevant in todays media, movies television and advertising still contain the male gaze. In the movie Just go with it the male gaze is portrayed throughout the movie in many ways. The scene where Katherine meets Palmer, Katherine is seen walking up the stairs towards Palmer and Daniel is in a wide frame, this give the illusions of the audience being in that room with them while she walks in slow motion towards the camera. You can see the men in the background completely stop their conversations and everything they are doing, just to look over at her. Mouths gaping, knee slapping and leaning over for a better look are clear explanations of the male gaze in todays media.
Another great example of the male gaze is in the movie Joe Dirt, Joe is sitting with Robbie and his friends while in the middle of Robbie’s sentence is when Brandy comes riding up on a horse in a crop top and very short shorts. The group of guys all stand up while the camera moves from the group to a close-up of Brandy’s face and goes right back to the group as they gaze at this extremely beautiful woman getting off her horse in slow motion. When the camera shoots back to Brandy, it is focused on her legs. As she climbs off the horse the camera continues to show nearly every part of her body. These two scenes prove and show that the male gaze and women are still sexualized and seen as objects in the media today.