From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"A little later a thousand hungry eyes were bending over the peepholes of the stereoscope, as though they were the attic-windows of the infinite. The love of pornography, which is no less deep-rooted in the natural heart of man than the love of himself, was not to let slip so fine an opportunity of self-satisfaction. And do not imagine that it was only children on their way back from school who took pleasure in these follies; the world was infatuated with them." --The Modern Public and Photography, Baudelaire, tr. Jonathan Mayne
Voyeurism is a practice in which an individual derives sexual pleasure from observing other people. Such people may be engaged in sexual acts, or be nude or in underwear, or dressed in whatever other way the "voyeur" finds appealing. The word derives from French verb voir (to see) with the -eur suffix that translates as -er in English. A literal translation would then be “seer” or "observer", with pejorative connotations.
Also, the word voyeur can define someone who receives enjoyment from witnessing other people's suffering or misfortune; see schadenfreude.
- Voyeurism is a main theme in films such as The Secret Cinema (1968), Peepers (2010), and Sliver (1993), based on a book of the same name by Ira Levin.
- Voyeurism is a common plot device in both:
- Voyeuristic photography has been a central element of the mis-en-scene of films such as:
- Pedro Almodovar's Kika (1993) deals with both sexual and media voyeurism.
- The television movie Video Voyeur: The Susan Wilson Story (2002) is based on a true story about a woman who was secretly videotaped and subsequently helped to get laws against voyeurism passed in parts of the United States.
- Voyeurism is a key plot device in the Japanese movie "Love Exposure (Ai no Mukidashi)". The main Character Yu Honda takes upskirt photos to find his 'Maria' to become a man and get his first taste of sexual stimulation.
- The book Hell by Henri Barbusse focuses entirely on the story of a voyeur.
- The novel The Voyeur by Alberto Moravia deals with voyeurism in literature.
- The novel Le Voyeur by Alain Robbe-Grillet
Examples in art
- Artist and Model in the Studio by Albrecht Dürer
- Venus (or a Nymph) Spied On by Satyrs (c. 1627) by Nicolas Poussin
- Jupiter and Antiope (c. 1715) by Antoine Watteau
- William Etty. This image illustrates Herodotus's version of the tale of Gyges (see: candaulism).