The Official Blog for ENGL 41416.

Visual pleasure

“Woman then stands in patriarchal culture as signifier for the male other, bound by a symbolic order in which man can live out his fantasies and obsessions through linguistic command by imposing them on the silent image of woman still tied to her place as bearer of meaning, not maker of meaning.”

-Laura Mulvey

What struck me most about Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema by Laura Mulvey is the theory that women are castrated in film-they have no power in the presentation of their image. Men projects [their] fantasy on to the female figure”, which she portrays on screen and “she can exist inly in relation to castration and cannot transcend it.” Supporting the idea that women play a passive role and males an active role in what is presented through film.


Another argument the Mulvey presents that is striking is that male image is “to reproduce as accurately as possible the so-called natural conditions of human perception”, but he “cannot bear the burden of sexual objectification” which is why he makes things happen and women become the driving force for his actions. Making him the activator of the narrative.


While Mulvey seems to talk about the strength of mens role in cinema I find women to be unbelievably strong from her writing. In my opinion to be able to take a lesser role for the ego of another is very stressful but it takes strength to help someone find happiness. While Mulvey does make sexual connections to why men look at women I find them to be inconsequential.


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