Feminist film theory  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

"Works such as Marjorie Rosen’s Popcorn Venus: Women, Movies, and the American Dream (1973) and Molly Haskell’s From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in Movies (1974) analyzed how the women portrayed in film related to the broader historical context, the stereotypes depicted, the extent to which the women were shown as active or passive, and the amount of screen time given to women." -- Sholem Stein

Related e



Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Feminist film theory is theoretical work within film criticism which is derived from feminist politics and feminist theory. Feminists have taken many different approaches to the analysis of cinema. These include discussions of the function of women characters in particular film narratives or in particular genres, such as film noir, where a woman character can often be seen to embody a subversive sexuality that is dangerous to men and is ultimately punished with death.

In considering the way that films are put together, many feminist film critics have pointed to the "male gaze" that predominates in classical Hollywood filmmaking. Laura Mulvey's essay "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" gave one of the most widely influential versions of this argument. This argument holds that through the use of various film techniques, such as the point of view shot, a typical film's viewer becomes aligned with the point of view of its male protagonist. Notably, women function as objects of this gaze far more often than as proxies for the spectator.

List of theorists

Carol Clover - Barbara Creed - Vera Dika - Mary Ann Doane - Cynthia Freeland - Paula Graham - Molly Haskell - E. Ann Kaplan - Laura Mulvey - Patricia MacCormack - Teresa De Lauretis - Tania Modleski - Claire Pajaczkowska - Cristina Pinedo - Patricia Pisters - Kaja Silverman - Anneke Smelik - Gaylyn Studlar - Donato Totaro - Linda Williams

Illustration of the male gaze

Un regard oblique (1948) - Robert Doisneau

Un Regard oblique is a 1948 photograph by French photographer Robert Doisneau ([1]). The photograph depicts a woman and a man standing in front of an art gallery, seen from the inside of the gallery through the gallery window. The woman is discussing a painting with what we presume is her husband. The painting discussed is seen from the back, so we are unaware of the contents of the painting. The man is not listening to the woman, instead his eye wanders to a picture we do see, the painting of a nude woman displayed on one of the sidewalls of the window display. The photograph typifies two stereotypical images of the male human: the man who does not listen to the woman, and the man who is obsessed with all things sexual.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Feminist film theory" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools