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Posted: January 4th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Film | No Comments »

It can be disputed that this society is equal, but it simply is not. Plenty of people would like to believe that men and women share equal rights and equal opportunities but this is a complete denial of the true social structure that we live in. We live in a patriarchal society where women are commodities and are treated much like cattle for the use of man. We are their wives, their daughters, their sex toys, their cooks; our function is to serve but this is not so blatant and it is not always the case. We are not equal because man has created the guidelines by which gender is defined. We can only be categorized and placed in this binary system because we can be visibly identified as “not male’.
In The Patriarchal Gaze by Laura Mulvey it is discussed that film, a visual representation of popular culture, can be seen as the representation of our patriarchal culture due to the male gaze. The camera is the male gaze; film is also a form of indoctrination and a form of society control by the man. To Mulvey, women are the objects of the gaze and men are always the gazers. Women are subjected to men’s gaze and are taught to scrupulously care and conform to the desires of men in order to gain social acceptance. The example Mulvey uses to show man’s control over the world and the binary systems at large is women’s blind acceptance of “high heels” as something natural for her to wear. Women have roles but men do as well. We see in film how we are supposed to look, act, behave, and even believe. We see what kind of treatment we are supposed to accept as normal and what type of behavior that men will accept from us. Society is socially constructed and film helps to perpetuate the constructs into our minds. This binary system is so ingrained in who we have become that we never stop to ponder that this is not actually us but merely what we can been told to be; we are conforming to the desires of man. Men have everything to gain from this while women have their entire identity to lose in the shaping of a false one.
Women are, to men, the spectacle. We might as well all be in the circus with the audience consisting we all men. Women are the entertainment; we have been made slaves to men’s reason. Men decide the rules and all meaning while women simply put it on and dance around for them. We are the representation of a world created by and for men. Any control women believe they have is merely the allowance by men for their amusement, such as a sexually dominate women. This women is not really in control though is seems like she is in power she is really just a tool; man created her to turn him on. Mulvey claims that the camera is always watching the women from a male’s perspective while women do not have control over the narrative or happenings.
Mulvey believe that there is not male objectification in film but only female objectification. This shows the control of the male gaze. The pleasure from what is on screen is all for the male. Everything is constructed in a way that pleases them. Women are the pleasers and men are the pleased. Men are the onlookers and women are the looked at. Women are the objectified and men are the objectifiers. Anyone who denies these facts must not have a clear view of the world. Government mainly consists of men, white men, corporations, media, the job and career world are all dominated by men. We cannot even begin to step outside of something that we have been constructed as. This patriarchal domain is so flawlessly ingrained that people are actually in denial of their crude unequal world.
Mulvey claims that women can only take pleasure in film by taking on the male gaze and accepting the women in the film as objects. Man is so obsessed with woman and feels insecure because he worships her so much that he feels compelled to degrade her while still finding pleasure in his observations. Man hates that he loves her so much and seeks to punish her due to his own childish desires. There needs to be seen a gaze from a different perspective if this society is ever going to be able to get out from under the power and corruption of the male self-perpetuating gaze.
It is the realization of accepted ideologies being false that will allow us to become free of this tangled web of inequality. If we accept high-heels as something for women instead of something that is said to be for women then we will be breaking free from this degrading self-serving binary system of stereotypes men have created. It is too hard to step outside of the norm; people are too afraid to not be accepted by the masses that it should be feared that we will never rise above our indoctrination. The naturalization of the man woman binary system is at fault. If we believe something to be natural we will succumb to it unknowingly and without question. This is what needs to stop. Women need to buck up and stop performing for men. Women need to seek their own acceptance above any one else’s. This is the only way we can ever take a step in the right direction towards equality. We need to brake from traditional practices that perpetuate and help the system claim more lives and minds. This is important enough to do something about and it is able to happen. Men and women need to team up in the move towards a better society, a world where woman is not degraded and defiled on the big screen.

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