Selected Discussion Questions

10.28 Discussion Questions (on Cohan)

  1. Luke Martinez says:

October 28, 2010 at 2:08 am

Why does the fact that a man takes a solo in a Hollywood musical make him the spectacle? Isn’t this “to-be-looked-at-ness” merely a side act, and has nothing to do with the relationship between the man and the woman in the work?

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  1. Amelia Furlong says:

October 28, 2010 at 1:49 am

Just because the musical man stops the show does to sing a number, why does that mean he is suddenly the one to be “looked at,” as Cohan claims? Isn’t he just being the person that males can relate to and identify with because, as Cohan says, he returns the gaze? Is he the one being overtly sexualized? The answer to this is no. So then, just because he sings, why is he the object of the male gaze?

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  1. Oliver Sutro says:

October 28, 2010 at 5:10 am

Cohan frames many of Astaire’s duet dances as “equal” and “egalitarian.” How does dancing represent a different reality that we don’t see in today’s society in media? Why did they decide to show men and women interacting in a non stereotypical manor? What makes dancing the exception (if it is in fact an exception in this example) to popular media and societal paradigms?

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  1. Eleanor Krause says:

October 28, 2010 at 5:10 am

Why has the popularity of musical film decreased? It seems that Fred Astaire and others of his genre were developing a new image of men, why is this image less popular today? Are there new ways in which men are viewed as spectacles? Such as action movies, in which the male figure can be seen performing astonishing physical feats in a more “masculine” manner?

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  1. Rajsavi Anand says:

October 28, 2010 at 3:56 am

How does the male spectacle work for male viewers? Do they voyeuristically and sexually view the feminized male on display? At the same time, do the women who watch this genre view the male as an erotic figure or one who they can identify with due to his increased stereotypically “feminine side?

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Joyce Ma says:

October 28, 2010 at 2:16 am

Cohen speaks to the male spectacle in musicals, a Hollywood genre that use the “spectacle of its stars” to make sense of its musicals, however hasn’t performance of the male spectacle changed since then? In musicals, the male spectacle attracted the female with talent and charisma but hasn’t the male spectacle changed into a more sexual object? In musicals, the male used his body when he dances to attract the female but presently, hasn’t the male’s body become the spectacle? Hasn’t men also been “cut up” in media?

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10.26 Discussion Questions (on Consalvo & the Columbine Shootings)

Maria Macaya says:

October 26, 2010 at 4:15 am

Consalvo states that “Judith Butler (1993) goes further in claiming that gender is a daily enactment that individuals must engage in, which is ultimately judged by others. Each day, with each act, our gender comes to “matter more and more.” If gender is a daily enactment and it is determined by the actions we take but is ultimately judged by society around us, who determines and defines our gender? What matters more, the actions we take or they way others perceive these actions? Do we have control over how others perceive our gender? Who gives the increasing importance to our gender, ourselves or others?

Alexander Griffiths says:

October 26, 2010 at 3:32 am

Jackson Katz believes the linkage of white masculinity with violence is done by making violence appear to be a “genetically programmed” male behavior, by associating muscularity with masculinity, and by equating “heroic masculinity with violent masculinity”, yet In casting Klebold and Harris as “deviant,” or as “monsters,” journalists set them apart from “normal” boys in society. So is masculinity a construct as hollow as the “lad”, is masculinity a construct meant to be silly? So why do we affirm it in so many ways, yet liberate it when crisis strikes? Surely this means that constructs of masculinity surely need to be changed.

http://sites.middlebury.edu/fmmc0267/wp-login.php?redirect_to=http%3A%2F%2Fsites.middlebury.edu%2Ffmmc0267%2F2010%2F10%2F26%2Fconsalvo-questions%2F

Laura Hendricksen says:

October 26, 2010 at 3:24 am

The article mentions that schools shootings were seen by some people as « the refuge of privileged white boys who don’t feel privileged ». I find it interesting how race, gender and class overlap in this analysis. Because the hegemonic masculinity in society is usually defined as white, heterosexual and middle/higher class, it is interesting to see the actual consequences of this assumption. Doesn’t this highlight the damage caused by any sort of « predominant » gender identity, whether it is masculinity over feminity or dominant masculinity over subordinate masculinity? Isn’t a dominant gender identity — considered as the norm and thereby excluding others as deviant – always harmful since it creates different categories and assumes gender identity as being fixed, definite, whereas, on the contrary, it is always an ongoing process for individuals who constantly negotiate multiple identities?

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Amethyst Tate says:

October 26, 2010 at 3:28 am

In America, systemic contradictions exist that place certain people in situations where they are likely to deviate from the norm. For example, in the media, through video games and advertisements, violence is seen as a trait that represents normative masculinity. At the same time, society expects that males will not reenact what they see in the media in real life, as violence is not considered an approprate characteristic for an upstanding citizen. Yet, the boys were bullied at school for not conforming to hegemonic masculinity, and used violent video-games as an outlet to feel like the dominate male, which was a feeling denied them at school by the jocks. It is clear that the behavior of individuals is affected by culture, and therefore is it really fair to blame the young men for their acts of violence that they likely learned from media and enacted in a response to the torment they receieved at school? Would it not make sense to see their actions as being caused by structural contraditions within society and the constraint of gender norms?

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Amelia Furlong says:

October 26, 2010 at 2:47 am

Cansalvo quotes a statement that “The big story out of Littleton isn’t about violence or the Internet, or whether or not video games are turning our kids into killers. It’s about the fact that for some of the best, brightest and most interesting kids, high school is a nightmare of exclusion, cruelty, warped values and anger.” But isn’t this implying that Klebol and Harris are just regular kids, the “best, brightest and most interesting”? While I agree that there were probably some terrible bullying that went on, and that Klebol and Harris might not have done this if that bullying hadn’t taken place, isn’t it completely unreasonable to assume that they have no personal responsibility, and that they were probably already unhinged if this pushed them to the edge? They were not the “best, brightest and most interesting.” Similarly, if two people shoot up a school, why is their association with a “monster”, a degendered creature, such a horrible thing? Isn’t it not masculine or feminine to murder people?

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10.23 Discussion Questions (On Gauntlett: Foucault & Power)

Amelia Furlong says:

October 21, 2010 at 4:41 am (Edit)

On Chapter 6:

Foucault says that power is not something that is held but something that “flows through relationships” and is “exercised through interactions.” However, in the end what does it matter how power comes about? Does it change the relationship between someone who is powerful and someone who isn’t in a given relationship? To take the example of feminism, does it really matter how the patriarchy gets its power if we can all agree that in the end it still has a subjugating power over women?

Amethyst Tate says:

October 21, 2010 at 3:03 am (Edit)

6. Foucault argues that power is present everywhere yet “the exercise of power always produces resistance.” However, if power is present everywhere this implies that no one is truly autonomous, therefore how can resistance to power occur? And if resistance is in fact not possible since we are constrained, are women always going to be oppressed by patriarchal structures?

Anna Gallagher says:

October 21, 2010 at 1:24 am (Edit)

6–>
“Power does not exist outside of social relationships” (129). Doesn’t the media exert some power over our lives? If so, how do we practice “resistance”?

10.14 Discussion Questions (On Buffy–Fudge & Karras)

Fudge: “Slaying could well become a grassroots movement.”

Avery Rain says:

October 14, 2010 at 2:21 am

Karas: This article speaks about the power of flaunting femininity, claiming that by refusing to masculinize themselves when they hold power, women who embrace femininity “send the message to society that women are powerful on their own.” This clearly has some similarities to Doane’s theory of masquerade, but do they mean the same thing? Does Buffy represent a masquerade of femininity? Also, is there any way to resist masculinization without flaunting femininity, or is it always one of the two?

Also, Buffy isn’t the final girl, because her friends and family survive. How does this effect how she is characterized?

Amelia Furlong says:

October 14, 2010 at 3:43 am

On Karras:
Karras says that while Buffy doesn’t have a political agenda, it does have an agenda because Buffy kicks butt while remaining beautiful and perfectly styled. While I agree that Buffy does have an affective agenda, what happens when no “third wave” feminist shows have any political agenda outside of girl power? What will happen then to all the progress from second wave feminism? Should Buffy, and other shows like it, try better to combine a political agenda with a more “third wave” masquerade of femininity as empowerment idea?

On Fudge:
Fudge says that Buffy “treads the fine line between girl-power schlock and feminist wish-fulfillment, never giving satisfaction to either one,” yet isn’t the point of her article that it satisfies both of these genres? Buffy is both kick-ass and powerful and unafraid while being a beautiful and sexually confident woman. Buffy manages to be a feminist show while at the same time being geared toward a girl-power, “third wave” generation. Doesn’t Buffy actually satisfy both with its representation of gender, not fall short?

Maria Macaya says:

October 14, 2010 at 4:53 am

Naomi Wolf states how there was an “abrupt shift in the balance of power between US women and men… … something critical to the sustenance of patriarchy died in the confrontation and something new was born. (xxv; 5)” Karras also argues that Buffy represents the 3rd wave of feminism. Can it be possible that this “abrupt shift in the balance of power between US women and men” that Wolf talks about is represented in the episode we watched were Buffy distributes and gives her power to the other girls and they together kill all the bad vampires (which were all men) to end with their regime and start a new era where every new generations will have a slayer girl? Can this battle represent the shifting of powers and this radical political and social change? The monsters representing the “something critical to the sustenance of patriarchy” that died. This final battle being “the confrontation” and the outcome, representing the “something new” that was born?

Anna Gallagher says:

October 14, 2010 at 4:19 am

Karras→ Does the fact that Buffy dates Vampires, or as Karras puts it “castrated males,” have anything to do with the lesbian fan-base that Amelia brought up in class?

Fudge→ Fudge talks about Buffy’s sharp tongue and confident voice as a weapon against attackers. How does this relate to the “threat of female laughter” present in “Gossip Girl” and “Rebecca?”

Rajsavi Anand says:

October 14, 2010 at 4:06 am

Karras
Why is it bad that Buffy embraces both typically masculine physical power and typically feminine beauty? Isn’t a break down in social constructions which is what feminism fights for–equality between the two sexes?

The Buffy Effect
Why is Willow automatically assumed to be the better feminist role model? Do brains and geekiness provide some sort of break in social constructions?

Joyce Ma says:

October 14, 2010 at 2:28 am

In using “pop culture as both their terrain and weapon of choice,” how effective is that in speaking to women of all ages about the goals of third wave feminists?

10.12 Discussion Questions (Cresser, Gunn, and Balme)

Oliver Sutro says:

October 12, 2010 at 5:41 am (Edit)

The article “Women’s Experiences Of Online E-zine Publication” it is stated that e-zines are a unique medium that allow space for female expression that is perceived unattainable in mainstream media. “The number of women e-zine publishers is increasing all the time.” Will the internet be the new frontier in which women gain significant ground on men in the media? Are women’s ideas and expression valued less by the public if they aren’t published on paper or in other mainstream mediums? Is the e-zine movement insignificant because of this?

Bryanna Kleber says:

October 12, 2010 at 4:36 am (Edit)

E-zine:
“Something needs to be done to redress the imbalance of numbers of women to men using the Internet. Seizing the tools of cultural production is viewed by many women as the only way to create any sort of gender balance on the Internet.” Why would women feel the need to have gender balance on the Internet? Compared to many other women and men inequalities, this just seems like such a petty thing to want to fight for.

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Anna Gallagher says:

October 12, 2010 at 2:51 am (Edit)

Why aren’t e-zines more popular with people our age? Can Facebook at all count as a substitute?

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Alexander Griffiths says:

Additionally while looking around I wondered what the exact definition of a zine was? and whether this could be extended to blogs or not depending on how that blog was formatted or even printed?

10.12 Discussion Questions (Williams)

Sensational = Gratuituous = Low Brow

  1. Oliver Sutro says:

October 7, 2010 at 4:32 am (Edit)

“films that have had especially low cultural status…[capture the spectator] in an almost involuntary mimicry of the emotion or sensation of the body on the screen”
Why do films that provoke such emotion and stimulation receive such a low cultural status from society? How have sex and horror become such taboo genres?

xoxo
gossip girl

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  1. Anna Gallagher says:

October 7, 2010 at 4:00 am (Edit)

Linda Williams argues that all of these “low brow” genres—porn, slasher horror, and melodrama—elicit *physical* reactions in the audience (all forms of “jerking”). Why are we so quick to associate these physical reactions with “gratuitousness?” Are men and women spectators’ physical reactions the same? Because women are starting to (admit to) watch(ing) porn, and as men drift towards certain forms of melodrama, then how does these affect us as an audience? Does it change our sense of the “male gaze?”

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Identification vs. Sensation

Amethyst Tate says:

October 7, 2010 at 2:18 am (Edit)

Williams argues that in “body genres,” spectators respond to these genres by mimicking the actions of the characters onscreen. But do we as the viewer identify with the character onscreen as a result of these bodily sensations we may have towards them, or is the viewer’s reaction the effect of identification?

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The Role of Men in the Sensational

Rajsavi Anand says:

October 7, 2010 at 4:54 am (Edit)

William’s article points out key commonalities between these three genres. However is it possible for a male to play a role as the spectacle or the one who is sexually invoked in these films? If so does would the women get the similar pleasure that a man gains from seeing the orgasmic, fearful, and in some case tear-jerking in the woman? Is the reason these genres are seen as the bottom of society because they cause this pleasure solely for a male view? If the answer is more of the same or more sex, isn’t this just a cycle just the same putting the male in the same position to be the perverted watcher?

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Luke Martinez says:

October 6, 2010 at 8:42 pm (Edit)

Is it possible for a woman to be “sexually saturated” as Williams puts it, without the viewer objectifying her? Can men be sexually saturated, evoking a similar sensation in women?

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10.7 Discussion Questions (Clover)

Masquerade vs. Ambiguity

Joyce Ma says:

Carol J Clover uses the argument that the Final Girl is ambiguous, in having masculine and feminine qualities, does this have the same effect as the masquerade? Does this allow her to be gain power from being the spectacle?

The (Gender) Politics of the Slasher Film

Anna Gallagher says:

October 5, 2010 at 1:34 am

Clover writes, “To applaud the Final Girl as a feminist development… is, in light of her figurative meaning, a particularly grotesque expression of wishful thinking. She is simply agreed upon fiction…” (242). Clover seems to argue that because the Final Girl is a stand-in for an adolescent male, her value for feminism is diminished. However, if the Final Girl (a strong, independent victim-hero) is not a triumph for feminists, then what is? Where does Clover stand on this issue? Is she correct in deeming Final Girls as “a congenial double for the adolescent male” (241)?

Amelia Furlong says:

October 5, 2010 at 2:59 am

Clover suggests at the end of her article that slasher films may be, ironically, “radical…addressing the social, political, racial, or sexual iniquities, hypocrisy in religion and government.” Yet doesn’t the slasher film, in its representation of the sexually “different” and “threatening” character as the antagonist, do exactly the opposite? Indeed, this article showed us that most slasher film killers are sexually stunted or challenged in some ways (i.e. intersex, sexually repressed, incestuous, transsexual, etc.) And in all these films these sexually different characters are “punished”, just like the sexually-threatening females are always killed and “punished.” So doesn’t this punishment of what is sexually threatening and different just satisfy the heteronormative, patriarchal structure of film?

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Other Iterations of the Final Girl? (& Can we imagine a Final Boy?)

Avery Rain says:

Clover defines the Final Girl as a masculine female because of her “masculine interests, inevitable sexual reluctance…her apartness from other girls, [and] sometimes her name.” What happens if the Final Girl does save herself and the day, but has more feminine interests, female friends, and a girly name? Is this possible? Present? Does she still count as the Final Girl?

Anna Gallagher says:

Carol J. Clover writes that in slasher films, “The combination masculine female repeatedly prevails over feminine male” (247). Can we think of examples of this phenomenon in other genres of film? Any counter examples? What does this trend speak to in our current culture—are men encouraged to repress their “feminine” characteristics, and is this pressure societal (external) or personal (internal)? What are the implications of this statement from the female point of view?

10.5 Discussion Questions (Doane et. al.)

Amethyst Tate says:

September 30, 2010 at 3:00 am

Doane states that female spectators should wear their femininity as a mask, and this mask in effect creates distance between themselves and the represented femininity on the screen. So is femininity just a masquerade? And what does the act of concealment say about gender performance and identity?

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Amelia Furlong says:

September 30, 2010 at 3:03 am

On Doane:

If a woman is caught between flaunting her femininity, which Doane argues is only to make up for her “lack” of a phallus, and being the transvestite (which, by the way, is not a politically correct term) then where is the “real” femininity of women in films? Is the woman dressing in men’s clothes so much a want to be a man, or an expression of a different kind of femininity? If the “masquerade” of femininity, as Doane calls it, is just a mask, and the reverting to men’s clothes and attitudes is transvestite, what is left, and when do we see it in film?

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Rosalind Downer says:

September 30, 2010 at 1:42 am

The lifestyles which the character Pressler and Rovzar discuss in a negative light, “dressed in the latest clothes…smothered with a thick coat of money”, however I would argue, are these necessarily a bad thing? After all, in Gossip Girl, alongside the affluent lifestyles exists powerful women, which is arguably revolutionary on screen. Shouldn’t we realize that this indeed is a great success in itself, rather than critiquing their aspirational lifestyle?

Heather Havrilesky argues that “It’s a perverse consumerist fable for young people, built on the notion that money provides the only sure escape from tension, stress and impeding challenges”, however I question why it is deemed a problem to aspire to this lifestyle? Is this not a way in which these women can prove their success and empowerment? Of course, this is not the only way in which women can do this, however it is clear that it is a particularly easy way to represent successful women on screen, and therefore should this empowerment be criticized so heavily?

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The Genius of Gossip Girl:
Pressler & Rovzar presented a compelling and detailed argument why Gossip Girl is the “most awesomely awesome show ever.” Yet they acknowledge that some people are feel shame about their love of the show. Why are people ashamed? What about the show leads people to “cloak [their] adoration in irony”?

Doane:
We have read about how the male gaze fetishizes and makes a spectacle of women, yet Doane seems to argue that the masquerade of femininity is initiated by women as a compensation for their nearness to bisexuality. Are women sexualized and feminized by themselves or by men? Can these processes coexist? Which comes first?

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Bryanna Kleber says:

September 30, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Doane argues that women with glasses can look and have a gaze, yet they are not looked at. Mulvey would argue that only male characters can look. Women with glasses represent intellect and knowledge and they take on a “masculine” characteristic of being able to look. Are they undesirable because men feel intimidated by the power these women denote? Or, are they instinctively turned off because these women are more masculine than feminine by possessing the power to look?

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9.23 Discussion Questions (Doane and Modleski)

On identifying with the 2nd Mrs. De Winter

Modelski:
Producers of “women’s films” aimed to attract a large female audience. Selznick “believed his production of Rebecca would appeal especially to women, whom he expected to identify strongly with the main character.” However, Joan Fontaine’s character isn’t exactly a character most women could easily identify with. Rebecca is a twisted, dark Cinderella story that isn’t often experienced. Why would Selznick argue that people could “strongly” identify with her? And, why not make a character that a much broader women audience can relate with?

Anna Gallagher says:

September 23, 2010 at 12:51 am (Edit)

Selznick wrote to Hitchcock that “the tiny things that indicate her nervousness and her self-consciousness… are all so brilliant in the book that every woman who has read it had adored the girl and understood her psychology.” There is a big difference between “adoring” this “heroine” (is this the right word for her?) and “understanding her psychology.” Though we may understand or sympathize with her, can modern female viewers ‘adore’ the protagonist despite constant lack of self-confidence or sense of identity?…

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Amelia Furlong says:

September 23, 2010 at 2:45 am (Edit)

On Modleski:
Modleski makes a great point about the contrasting image of femme fatale versus domesticated housewife that women think men want, and how the heroine in Rebecca loses her identity as she tries to find what Maxim desires. Then we discover it is the heroine’s lack of sexuality, her non-threatening “innocence”, that appeals to Maxim. Mulvey spent a lot of time condemning the male gaze, and rightly so, but after reading Modleski’s article, isn’t it even more frustrating to see the “good woman” portrayed as the one that lacks sexuality? Maxim never looks at her with that subjugating male gaze, but isn’t it even worse that a non-sexually threatening woman is the “better” one, when this just upholds that idea of castration anxiety? And while Modleski argues that a man never controls the women in this film because Rebecca is never seen, isn’t Maxim’s control of the heroine into a less sexual person also a reversal to the patriarchal structure?

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On the question of spectatorship, identity, and the possibilities of identification

Avery Rain says:

September 23, 2010 at 2:33 am (Edit)

Modleski speaks about Rebecca’s categorization as a women’s film, and talks about contrasting it to “men’s films,” such as film noir. Can a film comfortably allow simultaneous identification of male and female spectators with main characters of their respective genders? Does it have to be either a women’s film or a men’s film? (Men’s films seem to be, by default, everything not classified as a women’s film.)

Anna Gallagher says:

September 23, 2010 at 12:51 am (Edit)

… What about modern male viewers? Do they experience the ‘transvestite’ phenomenon with an unnamed protagonist who is, according to Modleski, a “vacuous self?”

Amethyst Tate says:

September 23, 2010 at 2:06 am (Edit)

Doane discusses how women’s films such as “Caught” and “Rebecca” had an intended female audience and that female spectators could either accept the image or repudiate it. However, she does not discuss race at all, though access to Hollywood cinema was denied to black women which would certainly impact how they engage with central characters in these films. Who are black female viewers expected to empathize with without a black presence in these classic Hollywood films? Is the black female viewer in a more powerful position because she is not expected to identify with the white central character and therefore can simply find pleasure in viewing the film, or is she powerless because she wants to identify with a character but cannot identify with the white female protagonist?

On the problem and power of Rebecca

Amethyst Tate says:

Modleski states that the absence of Rebecca in the film “may be seen as a spoof of the system, an elaborate sort of castration joke, with its flaunting of absence and lack.” However, as the intended audience was primarily female, what about the possibility that Hitchcock never showed Rebecca as a way of establishing power over women by controlling what they see on the screen? By not seeing Rebecca, the female spectators would not be able to identify with her, since it is through the gaze that we are able to identify with a character. Could this have been Hitchcock’s intention, since Rebecca was a female who exercised power through challenging patriarchal norms and therefore men did not want women to have the opportunity to see her and in effect identify with or be influenced by her character?

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Bryanna Kleber says:

September 23, 2010 at 2:57 am (Edit)

Caught and Rebecca:
“In Rebecca, there is a scene late in the film which exemplifies the very felt presence of the woman who is absent thought the movie…” In this scene, viewers are watching from the perspective of an inanimate character, Rebecca. And Rebecca, albeit dead, is in control of both the main female character and the main male character the entire film. In the film, is Rebecca the recipient of any gaze? We know she’s meant to be there, but no physical body is representing her. Is she moving around freely, unrestricted?

Luke Martinez says:

September 22, 2010 at 11:58 pm (Edit)

Does the movement of the camera in the scene in the cottage as DeWinter recounts the story of Rebecca’s death serve as a phallic substitute? In what ways can this be seen as an “artificial” male gaze if the object of the gaze is not able to be seen?

If sexuality and knowledge are mutually exclusive traits for women in the Gothic film, where does the character Rebecca fit in? Is she able to have sexuality without actually appearing in the film?

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**Key quotes from Doane and Modleski:

Doane: “These scenes internalize the difficulties of the genre and in their concentration on the issue of the woman’s relation to the gaze occupy an important place in the narrative.” (81)

Modleski: “Such are the paradoxes of auteurship: by being forced to maintain a close identification with du Maurier’s “feminine’ text to the point where he felt that the picture could not be considered his own…, Hitchcock found one of his “proper” subjects–the potential terror and loss of self involved in identification, especially identification with a woman.”(55)


9.21 Discussion Questions

What of the female protaganist? [“torn between the deep blue sea of passive femininity and the devil of regressive masculinity.”]

Alexander Griffiths says:

September 20, 2010 at 8:52 pm (Edit)

Is “passive femininity” vs “the devil of regressive masculinity” not the same thing as Mulvey has previously argued? Has she really rethought her convictions? Freud claims women are in continual oscillation between the “active” and the “passive” each defined against masculinity. So do women have any identity at all or are women evermore to reside in limbo of identity?

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What of the female viewer? [“So, too, is the female spectator’s phantasy of masculinization at cross-purposes with itself, restless in its transvestite clothes.”]

Amethyst Tate says:

September 21, 2010 at 2:26 am (Edit)

In her conclusion, Mulvey states that “the female spectator’s fantasy of masculinisation [is] at a cross-purposes with itself, restless in its transvestite clothes.” Do you agree with Mulvey’s “transvestite” identification, which denotes deviance from the norm, or can we find ways to rethink the identification of female spectators?

http://sites.middlebury.edu/fmmc0267/2010/09/16/reading-questions-set-4/?replytocom=90 – respond

Bryanna Kleber says:

September 20, 2010 at 7:15 pm (Edit)

Mulvey is interested in the ‘masculinisation’ of the spectator, regardless of the actual sex of the spectator. If a viewer was female, and heterosexual, would her ‘masculine’ voyeurism be idolization and a desire to actually be the character in view, like we talked about on Thursday? Mulvey also says that this trans-sex identification is “a habit that very easily becomes second nature.” Is it a conscious or subconscious habit?

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Complicating gendered dichotomies (in contemporary viewing/media texts)

Maria Macaya says:

September 20, 2010 at 3:47 pm (Edit)

Freud stated that the masculine and active part of a woman “then sucumbs to the momentous process of repression”. Is this always the case in reality today? Is it possible that some women’s masculinity is not repressed? Or is it always at some level repressed in one way or another?

What if being active became part of being feminine? Would it still be repressed?

Anna Gallagher says:

September 20, 2010 at 10:53 pm (Edit)

Did anyone else find it troublesome that Mulvey uses a relatively minor western from 1946 as her only example of a woman-centered film when she is writing in 1981? She claims that because “Duel in the Sun” is woman-centered, it is “actually, overtly, about sexuality: it becomes a melodrama.” Does a movie or a TV show that features a woman as the central character automatically become a melodrama? Is it possible to identify with and find “ego ideals” in the female protagonists of today, even in a melodramatic context?

9.16 Discussion Questions

Sharot, “The New Woman”

Bryanna Kleber says:

The idea of feminism came into play around the time the “New Woman” was generated. Sharot says ‘feminism’ became synonymous with the “New Woman.” Is feminism represented the same way today it was in the 1920s? Would the “New Women” like the ideas revolving around feminism today and what it has become?

Amelia Furlong says:

What is Sharot’s conclusion about the “disinterested love” that these characters portray? She never seems to decide whether or not it is a good or bad thing, or what it says about the gender roles of the times. Would it be more liberated it women strove after men because of their wealth? Why does Sharot mention “disinterested love” so often and then never come to the synthesis of it?

Joyce Ma says:

The “New Woman” was a term coined to represent women empowerment in the 1890s as more women pursued educational and political goals. All three actresses represent a different type of “new woman” during their times. Do these types of women transcend to the 21st century or are there different types of “new women”?

Maria Macaya says:

Sharot explains how male film fans were common before World War I but they were discouraged by the 1920s fan magazines which increased their coverage in women’s interests. Is this the case with films or fan magazines today? Are films and televisions show targeted to one gender more than the other? There are some shows and movies that are obviously targeted to one gender. But what about television and films in general?

9.14 Discussion Questions

Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure”

Oliver Sutro says:

In the views of a scientist, complicated syntax and large unnecessary phrases only serve to mask a conclusion in a shroud of pomposity and confusion. Why does Laura Mulvey make media studies and film into a subject of lofty words, rather than a clear and respectable topic? SHOULD film be psychoanalyzed in this way or are we loosing sight of the direction in which we originated?

Laura Hendricksen says:

September 9, 2010 at 1:44 am (Edit)

Finally, some questions on Laura Mulvey’s essay.

I would like to know more about the castration complex through a better understanding of the two mechanisms of fetishistic scopophilia and voyeurism and how they are used in the cinema.
Moreover, what is the effect of having on one side the audience seeing precisely what the male hero sees, or on the other, having the audience see more than the male protagonist?

I think it would also be interesting to discuss the intermingling/interaction of the different looks in cinematography and its effects?

Avery Rain says:

September 9, 2010 at 3:04 am (Edit)

-This article seems to be somewhat incomplete (or perhaps just dates itself) because it only analyzes the experiences of men as potential active viewers of a film. How can these theories (of castration anxiety/penis envy, voyeurism, activeness/passiveness) be considered in terms of a female film viewer? What is different, what is the same?

Eleanor Krause says:

September 8, 2010 at 9:42 pm (Edit)

The male spectators and the lead male actor form a bond over their enjoyment of viewing the woman actor. Their connection is also fueled by the feeling that the spectators are living vicariously through the actor. Why would the case not be the same for women spectators? They too are watching a character they relate to and whose life they desire. While it could be argued that women would not want to live the life of an inactive character, the film starlet is receiving the attentions of the lead male and audience, which is desirable.

Reply

Gauntlett on Mulvey

Amelia Furlong says:

September 14, 2010 at 3:51 am (Edit)

Chapter Two.

Gauntlett is very critical of Mulvey’s essay, the one written in the 70s, yet he uses movies that were made in the 2000s to supposedly “debunk” her theories. Gauntlett says: “Mulvey’s arguments cannot be too strong if mainstream films like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Elektra and Aeon Flux can bounce it off the rails altogether.” But those movies were made thirty years after Mulvey’s article. How can he expect her to know what kind of movies are made in the future? Mulvey is responding to a specific kind of movie. She is not denying that other types of movies exist, ones in which women are not sexualized and turned into objects. She is simply responding to the type of movie that has humiliated and objectified women, and which is still seen today. How can Gauntlett act as if this is not a legitimate source of anger and frustration?

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Gauntlett

Bryanna Kleber says:

September 14, 2010 at 1:59 am (Edit)

Intro:
In class, we talked about words and ideas associated with masculinity and femininity. The words we chose we not necessarily words that we personally associate with masculinity and femininity, but words that we think others may associate with masculinity and femininity. Gauntlett notes how these ideas “have been pulled through the social changes of the past few decades in quite different ways.” Has our belief that people have these ideas associated with masculinity and femininity stunted our own ideas about masculinity and femininity? Moreover, have these ideas confined and inhibited men and women to act in a natural manner?

Eleanor Krause says:

September 14, 2010 at 4:04 am (Edit)

According to the “Masculinity” section, men are having a much more difficult time adjusting to the social changes of the present and are struggling with purpose. The chapter also states that mass media and popular culture “offer important tools to help men – and women – adjust to contemporary.” Does this mean that todays media provides more guidance for women compared to men? There are numerous shows, as we saw last week, that provide examples of strong “modern women”, but are there similar illustrations for men? The article remarks that “men don’t need to become ‘like women’ but can develop a new form of masculinity which places ‘a greater value on love, family and personal relationships and less on power, possessions and achievement’”. It seems to me that media is not providing many examples of this new outlook, most shows feature strong stereotypical men. Is media (and thus our culture) encouraging women to become more “masculine” but not encouraging men to become more “feminine”? In that case in order to be “equal”, as feminism desires, women have to become like men but men can stay in their previous roles.

Week 1 Discussion Questions

30 Rock (Vesey & Lambert)

Maria Macaya says:

September 8, 2010 at 2:48 pm (Edit)

Instead of being contradicting and disappointing, doesn’t the fact that Liz Lemon is sometimes overpowered by men (when Jack gives her a raise for example) add to the show’s feminism? Since it’s highlighting men’s dominance in the work place when even Liz, a very radical and feminist woman, sucumbs? Or does this undermine the show’s purpose?

Oliver Sutro says:

September 9, 2010 at 1:42 am (Edit)

“Much has been said about the gender politics of the show and its (liberal) feminist underpinnings, but another key aspect of 30 Rock is its constant foregrounding of class and capitalism.” For all shows, including 30 Rock, is it the notion of wealthiness and high authority a more important distinction than gender? How can the media portray a powerful woman who does not possess a large wallet or a corner office to suit?

Damages (Nigro)

Rajsavi Anand says:

September 9, 2010 at 2:18 am (Edit)

Throughout Damages, we witness the problems that being a strong feminist present–i.e. distancing of family, treachery, and the corruption of certain morals. Does the fact that Patty Hewes uses a machiavellian approach to getting what she needs (the hiring of Ellen and firing of her 10 year employee) really unsex her in a similar fashion to Lady Macbeth? It can be argued that many men in the professional world–CEOs of big companies, etc.– go through this similar dilemma. Does this quality make her associate more with men of this field, or is the primal need for power her attempt at proving she is just as great as the men?

Amethyst Tate says:

September 8, 2010 at 10:17 pm (Edit)

‘Damages’ and ‘The Good Wife,’ based on Nigro’s article, really focus on the successful career woman. While ‘The Good Wife’ shows that you can find a balance between love and work, and that in order to reach the top you do not have to be conniving or mean-spirited, ‘Damages’ portrays the very opposite. However, though I personally do not like Glenn Close’s character, I do respect her drive. Why is she being criticized for being aggressive and ruthless? If she were a man, I highly doubt ‘Damages’ would be as successful as it currently is. Why is that as women, we are expected to speak softly and follow under the leadership of men? Why are these gender expectations are so ingrained in our society, that we are shocked to see a woman who will do anything to remain at the top, even if that means sacrificing love?

Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure” (Round 1)

Oliver Sutro says:

In the views of a scientist, complicated syntax and large unnecessary phrases only serve to mask a conclusion in a shroud of pomposity and confusion. Why does Laura Mulvey make media studies and film into a subject of lofty words, rather than a clear and respectable topic? SHOULD film be psychoanalyzed in this way or are we loosing sight of the direction in which we originated?



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