Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema by Laura Mulvey

April 13, 2010

 (page 711-722)

Without doubt, Freud’s research has been used in every single aspect in indiscriminating ways.  It seems that the use of psychoanalysis can be found in every form of art, such as literature, paintings and films.  It is like black shoes that will match with every article of clothing and will make the person appear informal, formal or casual.

pastedGraphic.pdfFurthermore, if Freud after he argued for his psychoanalysis theory and his theories of sexual behavior had desire to become a filmmaker, he would have the total intention to present his theories clearly on the eyes of the spectators.  He would not give  the message cryptically; he would put the message there for a complete re-education for the masses.

Film critics fall in love with Freud and they develop fetishes for his theories.  They   use his quotes because the quotes can fit in any essay about film, regardless if the film doesn’t have any intention to fall under a psychoanalysis theory.  Conscious film critics often want sophisticated reviews that use psychoanalysis to give them credibility on their writings.

Unconsciously women are desires for sex; they had been and probably will always be, either by the notion of beauty, perfection, and sublime God creation or by a fetishistic mentality of advertisers.

Mulvey’s essay is based on the use of psychoanalysis to understand the secret meanings of films, and classifies the women’s position in our society and in the social plane of the films.  Mulvey mentions women are becoming an object of the sex.   In other words, there is no difference between a female human body from an artifact that just brings sexual pleasure.  The films tend to use a scopophilic theory to portray women.  There is a parallel in being represented as a sexual object and the ego libido.  In other words, women are conscious in their representation and seem to feel proud of that.  They have no desire to change it because as long as films give them some position, which is often quite an important position, women don’t want to lose that position of attention.

Mulvey makes an argument about phallocentrism and its relationship to the patriarchal world of films. Women’s desire is mainly centered about the penis, rather on their desire. In addition a patriarchal society has designed those desires just in a compulsive aspire to become a spouse, mother and nurturer who lacks any sexual ambitions. In further analysis Mulvey she writes that a woman “can exist only in relation to castration and cannot transcend it” (712). The paradox of castration can serve two purpose. One is that women wish to own physically a penis and the other is the men are mutilated by the materialization of female images.

Mulvey also argues that in many films, the role of female characters is more of a passive sex object rather than an active meaningful one.  Her presence constructs eroticism in men, and her presence does not move the story line forward.  The spectator (the audience) also identifies with the male character and becomes “fascinated with the image of his like set in an illusion of natural space, and through him gaining control and possession of the woman within the diegesis” (717).  So us not a rejection that women want to look like female characters to supply sexual interest to the males.

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