Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Harvard referenced essay bibliography

"The gaze, whether institutional or
individual, thus helps to establish relationships of power. The
act of looking is commonly regarded as awarding more power to the
person who is looking than to the person who is the object of the
look." - Sturken,M and Cartwright,L.,(2000) Practices Of
Looking -An Introduction To Visual Culture. Oxford:
OUP Oxford.






"'Film
has been called an instrument of the malegaze, producing
representations of women, the good life, and sexual fantasy froma
male point of view' (Schroeder 1998, 208). The concept derives
from a seminalarticle called ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative
Cinema’ by Laura Mulvey, a feministfilm theorist. It was
published in 1975 and is one of the most widelycited and
anthologized (though certainly not one of the most accessible)
articles in the whole of contemporary film theory.Laura Mulvey did
not undertake empirical studies of actual filmgoers, butdeclared
her intention to make ‘political use’ of Freudian
psychoanalytic theory(in a version influenced byJacques Lacan)
in a study of cinematic spectatorship" -Chandler,
D., (2000)
Notes on 'The Gaze'[online]. Daniel
Chandler. Available
from:http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/gaze/gaze09.html
[accessed on 10/3/2012, at 17:25]

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Final Essay:

How using freudian theories to back up feminist film theory undermines the progression of feminism/women gaining equal rights to men and therefore feminist art as a whole.

After research into Feminist Film Theory and the psychoanalystic theorys behind it that "back up" the way in which feminist veiw film to be structured in a way that is male focused and anti-feminist I found that the "evidence" for feminist film theory, especialy Laura Mulveys work, is based around Freudian psychoanalytic theorys. I want to relate this to contemporary art and the way in which Feminist Film Theory effects the way we veiw art.

Feminist film theory is a critical ananysis into the way films are produced and how women are portrayed through film as part of second wave feminism. Feminist Film Theory looks at the way gender is portrayed in film and its influence on steriotyping genders and repression of women. This steriotyping is found through the standard gender roles found in film. "The gaze, whether institutional or individual, thus helps to establish relationships of power. The act of looking is commonly regarded as awarding more power to the person who is looking than to the person who is the object of the look." - (Practices Of Looking -An Introduction To Visual Culture - Marita Sturken/Lisa Cartwright-Modernity: Spectatorship,Power and Knowledge: The Gaze and The Other - page 111, begins line 9) For example, in art, media,film,etc the male gaze is used. This is where the audience is forced to veiw the image through the eyes of a man (typicaly a heterosexual man) and this effects the way we veiw the subject he is gazing at (typicaly a woman). This then "helps to establish relationships of power", the relationship being men having power over women. This idea is progressed further in mediums such as film because the male gaze causes men to have the leading roles. This creates a structure in which women are denighed agency/objectifyed by the male gaze, lowering them to the possition of a prop. This creates steriotypical gender roles in the narrative structure. Which means that men typicaly play a role in which they are active and do things and women typicaly play a role in which passive, powerless and an object of desire. This then influences belifes in the way men and women should act in society.

The male gaze is also a key part of art as a whole as examples of male gazing can be seen throughout art history. For example, Sleeping Venus painted by Giorgione in 1510 and Ignudi 1 by Michelangelo also painted in 1510 are examples of two paintings that show how differently men and women were portrayed through art in that time and the use of the male gaze. Although they were both painted in the same time period, they way they are depicted is very different. The woman is depicted as lying down, asleep, not looking at anyone which gives herself up to be looked at and veiwed through the male gaze to be sexualy objectified. She comes across as vunerable, especialy with one arm above her, exposing herself. Her form is loose and relaxed as though comfortable as the object of the gaze. Ignudi 1 is a harsh opposite to this, with his body tense and uncomforable, not giving himself up to be looked at. Although naked, his gladatorial pose prevents the image from being sexual so he is not looked at in the same way as sleeping venus. Both images present steriotypical ideals of their gender as veiwed by the male gaze. The
ideology surounding Ignudi 1 was crutial as it was displayed in a church as a representation of angels which are seen as something to look up to and revere so of course angels have to be the representation of human perfection as they were seen as human bodied creatures. In terms of the psychoanalitical theorys behind feminist film theory, the way the woman is depicted would be decribed as being an object of male desire for possession and this is seen through the male gaze.

The male gaze in film and art as a whole is an issue because it is more common than the female gaze. There should be an equal balance of gazing. In the past women where there to be looked at and represented in art. They were not allowed to do the looking as that implyed equal footing with men. Painting women, especialy the female nude was about ownership, to be looked at in such a exposed way implys power over the woman, which represents how women used to be treated as objects. By letting the male gaze be dominant in any art, but especialy film as it is one of the most widespread and accessable art forms, it implys that men have the power over women.

I have been looking at key artists/theorists such as Laura Mulvey. "'Film has been called an instrument of the malegaze, producing representations of women, the good life, and sexual fantasy froma male point of view' (Schroeder 1998, 208). The concept derives from a seminalarticle called ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ by Laura Mulvey, a feminist
film theorist. It was published in 1975 and is one of the most widelycited and anthologized (though certainly not one of the most accessible) articles in the whole of contemporary film theory.Laura Mulvey did not undertake empirical studies of actual filmgoers, butdeclared her intention to make ‘political use’ of Freudian psychoanalytic theory(in a version influenced by
Jacques Lacan) in a study of cinematicspectatorship" -http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/gaze/gaze09.html I have been looking at her use of Freudian theories to "back up" Feminist Film Theory. What is the point in basing feminist film theory on Freudian psychoanalysis which is seen as very unscientific as it double backs on itself in a way that means it can never be proved right but can never be proved wrong. The unecicary
need feminists seem to have for proof to back up something that is already so obviously there (women being repressed) actualy hiders them more than helps them as they are using "scientific" theorys thats are no longer taken seriously which just has a negative effect on feminism and feminist art as a whole. For feminist art and art by women as a whole to be take seriously, important sections such as the film industry/structure of films/film as an art form, what im focusing on, cannot be changed if the theorists/artists who are trying to change film so that
it doesnt reduce women to objects use unscientific theories to back up their arguments for change. Even though a lot of focus of Feminist Film Theory is on Mulvey and her use of psychoanalyisis, in todays current Feminist Film Theory there is still a focus on Freudian theories and psychoanalyisis to "prove" feminist film theory right. Feminist Film theory doesnt need proving. Its so obviously right, all it takes is to watch a film and you can see the use of the
male gaze and the way women and men are put into gender roles.

Hence why I have been looking at the work of contemporary feminist artist Anastasia Klose, her work highlights the use of the male gaze by doing the exact oposite, thus presenting the veiwer with the way an inbalence in gender gazeing causes steriotypes to be made. For example, in "Mum and I watch in the toilets with ben-2005", The veiwer adopts the gaze of Klose, veiwing herself, thus looking through a female gaze. This peice makes the veiwer question the way in which women are sexualised and objectified through film. As a women, Klose is no longer an object but a human being. She brings this humanity on herself by being painfully aware of the awkward social situation she is forcing upon herself by watching such a personal thing with her mother as she crosses a social tabboo. Seeing a woman in a film as a human being rather than an objects gives the veiwer the realisation of how women are veiwed through the male gaze. It also makes the veiwer consider gender/sexuality steriotyping. If it was a male artist who had produced "In the toilets with ben" how would it change the way it was veiwed? If Ben had been the artist producing it, how would that change the way it was veiwed? Why is watching such a natural human behaviour with parents so humiliating? Such questions would by a psychoanalistic feminist theorist be linked to Freudian Oedipal complex because of their reference to gender differences and parent-child relationships. But to link it to such a unscientific theory just negitively detracts from the purpose of Klose's work.

Steriotypical roles in film negitivly effect the progression of Feminism as films are a reflection of the world around us that are the idealised so as to suposidly depict te ideal world, the happily ever afters. However this "ideal world" is usualy through the male gaze so the "ideal world" that is depicted gives men power over women and forces women into the possition of objects. However Klose's work uses the female gaze but to link it to Freudian theory would detract from the power it has through the use of the female gaze. The female gaze is not commonly used in film but Klose's work shows that use of it instead of the male gaze does not detract from the emotional response from film. To further progress feminism and ultimatly feminist art a change needs to be made to balance out the gender gazing in the film industry so that representations of an ideal world include the female gaze. But this will not occur if feminist film theorists use psychoanalyisis to back up their theories. Using unscientific theorys just gives ammo to people who belive that men and women shouldnt have equal rights or do not agree with the structure of film changing for equality. Film has major influences on how we see and react to the world around us and how we change the world around us as we use it as a model on which to base our ideals and what we perceive as normality. So by the continued imbalence bettween use of the male gaze and female gaze it makes it harder for women to gain equal rights. And by use of freudian theory, that limits feminist film theory. These changes, theories and ideals can also be projected into other artforms as a whole. As in the way the nude is depicted and the way women are photographed. Depiction of women in art is still possesive and objective and this will not change until film structure changes because moving image is the most relatable form of artwork so it is were ideals are derived from as we veiw it as a reflection of life even though it reduces women to objects.


Saturday, 10 March 2012

Anastasia Klose

"Anastasia Klose's performances and videos have an air of amateur therapy, and exhibit the desire to publicly share and work through private pain and neuroses. In a previous work, the video In the toilets with Ben (2005), the artist filmed herself having sex in the toilets of the Victorian College of the Arts. Klose expresses a desire to delve into those things she finds most humiliating or repugnant, exploring the process of humiliation and embarrassment. The purpose of this performance was to test the limits of her own behaviour, and from her discomfort with filming what is normally a private act, to produce something positive: in this case an artwork. The embarrassment she experienced with this performance was further explored in Mum and I watch in the toilets with Ben (2005), where Klose sat on the couch with her mother to watch the video. Both mother and daughter are clearly uncomfortable but this is dissipated as the pair delves into mundane details, discussing fluff in Klose's armpit and the fact that she is wearing her mother's bra whilst having sex. In Slapping Video (2005) Klose again tested the limits of her capacity to bear physical and mental humiliation. In the performance Klose contracted an "assistant" to repeatedly slap her, and found comfort in her own strength of will. And just to even the balance of things, the performance was repeated with Klose slapping her willing assistant. In the exhibited work, Sloppy Seconds (2007), Klose dredges up her worst works, the failed videos that for one reason or another never saw the light of day. Exhibiting and wallowing in her failures has the twofold purpose of diminishing their importance through a process akin to conditioning – the more they are watched the lesser their failure becomes, and also offers the possibility that through their revisitation we might find somewhere in the videos a glimmer of worth. Sloppy Seconds bears strong connections to works such as Nana, I'm still alone and How to be me, where Klose assumed the role of the tragic clown, exhibiting her own lack of talent, career and relationship failures." - http://blindside.org.au/2007/pains-in-the-artists.shtml

The work of contemporary feminist artist,Anastasia Klose, highlights the use of the male gaze by doing the exact oposite, thus presenting the veiwer with the way an inbalence in gender gazeing causes steriotypes to be made. For example, in "Mum and I watch in the toilets with ben-2005", The veiwer adopts the gaze of Klose, veiwing herself, thus looking through a female gaze. This peice makes the veiwer question the way in which women are sexualised and objectified through film. As a women, Klose is no longer an object but a human being. She brings this humanity on herself by being painfully aware of the awkward social situation she is forcing upon herself by watching such a personal thing with her mother as she crosses a social tabboo. Seeing a woman in a film as a human being rather than an objects gives the veiwer the realisation of how women are veiwed through the male gaze. It also makes the veiwer consider gender/sexuality steriotyping. If it was a male artist who had produced "In the toilets with ben" how would it change the way it was veiwed? If Ben had been the artist producing it, how would that change the way it was veiwed? Why is watching such a natural human behaviour with parents so humiliating?

Cindy Sherman

"But you can still dress up which is exactly what artist Cindy Sherman loved
doing. She turned a familiar children's game, 'dressing up as someone else,'
into art by photographing the result. In her series called 'Untitled Film
Stills' Sherman created over a hundred publicity shots reminiscent of scenes
from old B movies. She appears in every one as a general type you seem to
recognise only all too well. In denying her own identity she also captured
something of the times.
"She's got this incredible plasticity; you wouldn't recognise her in the
street. I think that many people originally felt that these were self-portraits
... but she didn't do that. I don't think she has done a portrait of anybody,
these are all imaginary creatures. The Girl capital 'G' in this situation, in
that situation, she's in danger, she's in love, she's opening a letter, like the
starlet who has no identity other than the identity the director gives her –
you're going to be a nurse in this film, you're going to be a secretary in this
film." (Arthur C. Danto, Philosopher and Art Critic)
The 'queen of no identity' now doesn't even venture into the streets to make
her pictures. Exterior scenes are done with back projection everything is
constructed and everything is done by her, whoever she is.
She's her own director, she's her own cameraman, I don't know what a best boy
is but she's the best boy. She doesn't even have an assistant ... She's just got
this table with wigs and so forth and a mirror. When I first met her I asked her
'Why did you stop doing the untitled film stills?' and she just said 'I ran out
of clich├ęs'. (Arthur C. Danto, Philosopher and Art Critic)" - http://www.bbc.co.uk/photography/genius/gallery/sherman.shtml

Laura Mulvey

"As Jonathan Schroeder notes, 'Film has been called an instrument of the male
gaze, producing representations of women, the good life, and sexual fantasy from
a male point of view' (Schroeder 1998, 208). The concept derives from a seminal
article called ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ by Laura Mulvey, a
feminist film theorist. It was published in 1975 and is one of the most widely
cited and anthologized (though certainly not one of the most accessible)
articles in the whole of contemporary film theory.
Laura Mulvey did not undertake empirical studies of actual filmgoers, but
declared her intention to make ‘political use’ of Freudian psychoanalytic theory
(in a version influenced by Jacques Lacan) in a study of cinematic
spectatorship. Such psychoanalytically-inspired studies of
'spectatorship' focus on how 'subject positions' are constructed by media texts
rather than investigating the viewing practices of individuals in specific
social contexts. Mulvey notes that Freud had referred to (infantile)
scopophilia - the pleasure involved in looking at other people’s bodies
as (particularly, erotic) objects. In the darkness of the cinema auditorium it
is notable that one may look without being seen either by those on screen by
other members of the audience. Mulvey argues that various features of cinema
viewing conditions facilitate for the viewer both the voyeuristic process of
objectification of female characters and also the narcissistic process of
identification with an ‘ideal ego’ seen on the screen. She declares that
in patriarchal society ‘pleasure in looking has been split between active/male and passive/female’ (Mulvey 1992, 27). This
is reflected in the dominant forms of cinema. Conventional narrative films in
the ‘classical’ Hollywood tradition not only typically focus on a male
protagonist in the narrative but also assume a male spectator. ‘As the spectator
identifies with the main male protagonist, he projects his look onto that of his
like, his screen surrogate, so that the power of the male protagonist as he
controls events coincides with the active power of the erotic look, both giving
a satisfying sense of omnipotence’ (ibid., 28). Traditional films present
men as active, controlling subjects and treat women as passive objects of desire
for men in both the story and in the audience, and do not allow women to be
desiring sexual subjects in their own right. Such films objectify women in
relation to ‘the controlling male gaze’ (ibid., 33), presenting ‘woman as
image’ (or ‘spectacle’) and man as ‘bearer of the look’ (ibid., 27). Men
do the looking; women are there to be looked at. The cinematic codes of
popular films ‘are obsessively subordinated to the neurotic needs of the male
ego’ (ibid., 33). It was Mulvey who coined the term 'the male gaze'. " - http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/gaze/gaze09.html

Freudian theorys in Feminist Film Theory

The Oedipal complex is a term used by Sigmund Freud in his theory of psychosexual stages of development to describe a boy's unconcious feelings of desire for his mother and jealously and anger towards his father. Essentially, a boy feels like he is in competition with his father for possession of his mother. He views his father as a rival for her attentions and affections. The Oedipal complex is used in Feminist Film Theory to "prove" how women are seen as objects/possession in film to be either desired or as the "bad guy". However there is no way to prove that boys/men unconciously feel these things towards their parents and veiw their mothers as a possession so this theory is unscientific.

"The unconscious mechanism that I will focus on here is that of fetishism.
Here, briefly, is Freud's explanation of this mechanism. The fetish-object
(which is to say, the particular object that procures sexual gratification for
the fetishist: e.g., shoes, undergarments, fur coats, etc.) is revered as if it
were a penis--and not just any penis, but specifically the one belonging to
the fetishist's mother! This of course sounds ridiculous and not a little
disgusting. Freud clearly has some serious explaining to do. He explains himself
thus: when a young boy (for Freud, all fetishists are male) first sees a
woman--usually his mother--in the nude, he mistakenly conceives that she has
been castrated. This troubles him not only because he shudders to think or her
pain and humiliation, but because it suggests to him that he too is vulnerable
to castration. So to help himself deal with his fear of castration, he will find
a way to blank out the image of his mother's apparently mutilated genitals. He
will fixate on the last object that he saw the split-second before his eyes
encountered that terrifying lack of a penis. If the occasion of this traumatic
sighting was a scene of undressing, then he might fixate on his mother's
undergarments. If he were gazing upwards from the floor to his mother's naked
body, he might fixate on her feet or shoes (if she is wearing them). If he only
gradually sees her lack of a penis after first seeing her ample pubic hair, then
he might fixate on the pubic hair, or by visual association, on a piece of fur
clothing that resembles pubic hair (e.g., a fur coat or hat).
Later on, after the young fetishist matures and comes to understand that
there are two sexes, he will repress both his fear of castration and his
feelings of relief brought on by his mental substitution of an object to fill in
for the missing maternal penis. These repressed feelings will be shunted into
his unconscious, where he will still harbor them, even though he is not
consciously aware of any of this. Thus, on one (conscious) level, the fetishist
has come to understand that there are two sexes and that women do not have
penises because they belong to the opposite sex. But on another (unconscious)
level, the fetishist will still fear his mother's--and potentially his
own--castration, and he will continue to crave the release from fear that the
fetish object seems to grant. Consciously, the fetishist knows all about the
nature of normal sexuality, but he nevertheless craves his fetish-object instead
of, or in addition to, a sexual partner. He himself does not know why he craves
this object. The explanation can only be found, so Freud explains, by
psychoanalyzing the fetishist's unconscious.
This theory of fetishism, as Freud stated it, is a bit much to swallow--even
for many strict Freudians. It seems to be too hung up on penises and literal
castration, too localized below the belt, that is. Recent psychoanalytic theory
has offered another, more general articulation of Freud's insight. Instead of a
child feeling terrified by his mother's apparently literal castration, it is
possible that when the child sees her nakedness he feels terror at the
realization that there are two sexes. This realization suggests that biology and
society have separated him from his mother by putting her into a different
category. Henceforth he will be "cut off" from her--in a purely metaphorical
sense, castrated. Thus, this theory goes, the young fetishist seizes upon the
fetish-object, in the manner Freud described, in an effort to disavow sexual
difference. Later he will consciouslycome to accept sexual difference, but
unconsciously he will still harbor the fantasy of there being only a single sex
to which he, his mother, and all the women who can potentially replace her
belong." - http://www.nettonet.org/Nettonet/Film%20Program/theory/psycho_theory.htm

"Fine and good, you say, but what exactly is psychoanalytic film theory? It is an approach that focuses on unmasking the ways in which the phenomenon of cinema in general, and the elements of specific films in particular, are both shaped by the unconscious. Whose unconscious? This is where things get a little tricky. The unconscious studied by psychoanalytic film theory has been attributed to four different agencies: the filmmaker, the characters of a film, the film's
audience, and the discourse of a given film.


  1. . The Filmmaker's Unconscious. In its earliest stages, psychoanalytic film
    theory compared films to such manifestations of the unconscious as dreams, slips
    of the tongue, and neurotic symptoms. Just as these are considered to be
    manifestations of a patient's unconscious, films were considered to be
    manifestations of a filmmaker's unconscious. This kind of psychoanalytic film
    theory is somewhat out of fashion today.
  2. The Character's Unconscious. Another application of psychoanalysis to cinema studies--one still occasionally seen today--focuses on the characters of
    a given film and analyzes their behavior and dialogue in an attempt to interpret
    traces of their unconscious. This approach, when it first appeared, was
    immediately attacked by skeptical film critics who pointed out that fictional
    characters, insofar as they are not real people, have neither a conscious nor an
    unconscious mind to speak of. However, the psychoanalysis of film characters
    quickly found new credibility with the next stage in the development of
    psychoanalytic film theory--the analysis of the audience's unconscious as it is
    prompted and shaped during a film viewing.
  3. The Audience's Unconscious. The audience-focused approach will often focus
    on the way in which the behavior and dialogue of certain characters can be
    interpreted as manifestations of our unconscious, insofar as we come to
    identify ourselves with them when we visit the cinema. Thus, as we sit quietly
    in the dark and forge our psychic bonds with this or that character, we
    unconsciously project our own fantasies, phobias, and fixations onto these
    shimmering alter-egos. Whenever they inevitably say or do something that even
    tangentially touches upon one of these fantasies, phobias, or fixations, we
    derive unconscious satisfaction or dissatisfaction accordingly.
    4. The Unconscious of Cinematic Discourse. Finally, the most recent version
    of psychoanalytic film theory more or less abandons the character-centered
    approach altogether, focusing instead on how the form of films replicates or
    mimics the formal model of the conscious/unconscious mind posited by
    psychoanalysis. Thus, for example, the psychoanalytic film theorist might focus
    on the way in which the formal procedure of editing will sometimes function
    similarly to the mechanism of repression by cutting out a crucial, emotionally
    charged moment which, though unseen, will continue to resonate throughout the
    film (as in the markedly absent moment of actual cannibalism in Mankiewicz's
    Suddenly Last Summer). Here the unconscious that is unveiled belongs
    neither to the filmmaker, nor to a character, nor to an audience of viewers, but
    rather to the film's own discourse. The unconscious is thus conceived as an
    organization of hints and traces of meaning residing within the audio-visual
    language of the cinema. (Of course this unconscious can always become
    appropriated by the film-viewer--apropos the third form of psychoanalytic film
    theory--to the extent that he or she internalizes this language during the
    film-viewing situation).

So psychoanalytic film theory unmasks the psychic mechanisms functioning in
the unconscious of: filmmakers, characters, viewing audiences, and specific
instances of cinematic discourse." - http://www.nettonet.org/Nettonet/Film%20Program/theory/psycho_theory.htm

The resulting "theory" in feminist film theory is peculiar. What justification
does a specifically feminist theory have for adopting the patriarchal theory of
psychoanalysis? Why is theory needed at all; what is it a theory of or about?
What are its data; do they supply evidence in a non-circular way? How is theory
related to feminist action and social change? What is the relevant theory of
feminism itself? Theory has usually been more problematic in feminism. Feminist
philosophers question patriarchal theories and urge the need to link theory with
practice. Jane Flax in ³Women Do Theory² describes patriarchal theory as
"territorial" or "entrepreneurial" ‹ something used to prop up forms of
dominance [Flax 1979]. In the face of theoretical structures that are abstract,
hostile, unintelligible, and disempowering, she says, women understandably
panic. Similarly, feminist philosophers like Karen Hanson question why writers
in film studies have assumed science as a paradigm of theory [Hanson 1995]. In
doing so, they set up film theory as distinct from and superior or even
foundational to film criticism. Theory stands somehow over and above the more
primitive "data": it is ideal, abstract, permanent, austere, universal, and
true. Allegedly science/theory has the virtues of being unifying, coherent,
well-grounded, and explanatory. But film theorists naively invoke concepts that
are quite contested, such as explanation, justification, and systematicity. Nor
is there operational agreement within the discipline for what counts as
evidence, testing, or confirmation of a theory. This differs sharply from
feminism's more usual emphasis on the experiential. - http://www.uh.edu/~cfreelan/courses/femfilm.html

This quote basicaly outlines the point im trying to put across. What is the point in basing feminist film theory on Freudian psychoanalysis which is seen as very unscientific as it double backs on itself in a way that means it can never be proved right but can never be proved wrong. The unecicary need feminists seem to have for proof to back up something that is already so obviously there (women being repressed) actualy hiders them more than helps them as they are using "scientific" theorys thats are no longer taken seriously which just has a negative effect on feminism and feminist art as a whole. For feminist art and art by women as a whole to be take seriously, important sections such as the film industry/structure of films/film as an art form, what im focusing on, cannot be changed if the theorists/artists who are trying to change film so that it doesnt reduce women to objects use unscientific theories to back up their arguments for change. Even though a lot of focus of Feminist Film Theory is on Mulvey and her use of psychoanalyisis, in todays current Feminist Film Theory there is still a focus on Freudian theories and psychoanalyisis to "prove" feminist film theory right. Feminist Film theory doesnt need proving. Its so obviously right, all it takes is to watch a film and you can see the use of the male gaze and the way women and men are put into gender roles.

Text that refurence the way in which Freudian Theory is still used in contemporary Feminist Film Theory

  • "developing a theory that satisfactorily combines the essential insights of both
    Marx and Freud. Johnston is convinced that the method for developing such a
    theory is to be found in semiology and structuralism. Asserting the need for a
    more “scientific” approach to feminist criticism, Johnston attempts to combine a
    neo-Marxist view of art with insights from Metz and semiology in general.", " On the other hand, Johnston is influenced by the work of Louis Althusser, (3) who sees ideology as a series of
    representations and images and thereby linked to the unconscious." - http://www.ejumpcut.org/archive/onlinessays/jc12-13folder/britfemtheory.html

With both quotes containing refurences to Freud, one being use of his name directly and the other the mention of "the unconscious" which is a key part of Freudian theory.

  • "Still, writers in feminist film theory commonly assume Mulvey's basic parameters
    and take some version of psychoanalytic theory as a desideratum. Key issues are
    often seen only in terms of some refinement or qualification of psychoanalytic
    theory. Thus Barbara Creed's book The Monstrous-Feminine argues that the fact
    that women in horror films are often not victims but monsters "necessitates a
    rereading of key aspects of Freudian theory, particularly his theory of the
    Oedipus complex and castration crisis." [Creed 1993]" - http://www.uh.edu/~cfreelan/courses/femfilm.html

Talking about contemporary feminist film theory, clearly stating the use of psychoanalyisis and Freud.

I have been reading this as research.

http://www.ktpress.co.uk/pdf/nparadoxaissue21.pdf

Key quotes/questions brought up in the peice of writting:

  • "Why are certain qualities in art - pastel colours or large metal sculptures, for example - aligned to or with the "feminine" or the "masculine"?
  • "Does art have particular audiences in terms of class,gender or race?"
  • "Art history has often included the women who were the muses,models,wives or mothers of male artists."
  • "Why are there seperate books on women artists and so few women including general surveys of art?"
  • "question why there is such a sharp boundary between creation/pro-creation in the accounts of great male artists?"
  • Is "feminist art" a shorthand term for valuing art by women in a culture which marginalises them? Or is it a specific form of cultural intervention by women which speaks about and challenges womens'situation in the status quo?"
  • "which is more important,the art and what it says or the gender of its producer?"
  • "Feminist art history is part of a larger field of research within feminist theory in all disciplines,drawing on psychoanalysis; critiques of ideology;structuralist and post-structuralist theories of language,subjectivity and sexuality;cultural studies, post-colonial studies and theories of visual culture" - psychoanalysis is mentioned first, psychoanalysis is based around Freudian theories.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012


How using freudian theories to back up feminist film theory undermines the progression of feminism/women gaining equal rights to men and therefore feminist art as a whole.

  • outline this point
  • explain what feminist film theory is
  • How gender is portrayed in film
  • How it is important in art - the male gaze in painting and photography
  • how the male gaze in art adds to gender steriotyping as we see art as a reflection of the worlds around us, so it tells us its ok to veiw women in a certain way
  • reference key artists - Laura Mulvey ( riddles of sphinx)
  • how sterotypical roles in film negitivly effect progression of feminism
  • freud/why his work is unscientific
  • how the basing a key part of feminism on unscientific( freuds) theorys gives ammo to people who believe women should not have equal rights to men

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Many feminists call for the abolishment of conventional cinema narritive due to its influence
on asserting stereotypical gender roles in society and the removal of single gender gaze in cinema. However this will not be achieve if the “facts” feminist film theorists are basing their theorys on are Freudian. (talk about why freud is unscientific)...without the removal of single gender gaze in art as a whole, art will hinder social change towards gender equality.

I was going to write an essay titled Feminism In Art, Focusing On The portrayal Of The
Human Form, Referencing Feminist Film Theory/The Male Gaze And The
Traditional Nude. But then after research into Feminist Film Theory and the psychoanalystic theorys behind it that "back up" the way in which feminist veiw film to be structured in a way that is male focused and anti-feminist I found that the "evidence" for feminist film theory, especialy Laura Mulveys work, is based around Freudian psychoanalytic theorys.