Good Dissertation On Women And Popular Culture
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Question 1: Mulvey’s Theories
Mulvey’s theories on activity and passivity are based on the scopophilia which essentially denotes the desire to see. Mulvey suggests that cinema essentially provides visual pleasure via identification as well as scopohilia of the male character. Socopophilia can be broken down into two parts, the active part which is male in nature and the passive part which is female. In regard to activity, Mulvey hypothesizes that the narrative format of traditional cinema depicts the male character as both powerful and active. The dramatic action a film unfolds around this male character. On the other hand, women are established by traditional cinema as powerless and passive. They are established as objects of desire for not only the male characters in the film but the audience as well.
Question 2: Doane’s Theories
Mary Anne Doane postulates that spectatorship essentially revolves around questions related to distance and proximity. This tends to become problematic or difficult for the female spectator as she is essentially the image or object. Consequently, the females are provided with two options. First, they can choose to masochistically over-identify or over relate with the onscreen female images, that is become involved exceedingly. Secondly, women can in a narcissist way decide to become their own images or objects of desire. Here they assume the female image in an exceedingly radical manner. The narcissism factors into this opposition between proximity and distance when women decide to become their own images or objects of desire. According to Doane, the specificity of a female spectator is actually an autonomous subject. The woman spectator normally has a problematic relationship with the fetishistic gaze depicted in films because of the fact that she is the object of desire in the film.
Question 3: Class System
The class system is laden with a lot of injustice. First of all, it leads to the creation of an attitude in some members of the society that they are superior to others. The class system is unjust most of the time in it determines ones success in life. Those in higher classes usually have more access to resources and opportunities for success while those in lower classes often find themselves without any access to these in spite of their huge desire for success. This is the greatest injustice of the class system. Injustice is also exemplified in other areas including the criminal justice field where it emanates that this system tend to be biased against those in the lower classes as they are believed to be at a higher risk of delinquency and crime engagement.
In the film Stella Dallas, the protagonist has to server her relationship with her daughter so that she can enjoy the privileges of the upper class because she realizes that her current class status is an impediment to her daughter social future. This aspect is compared to race injustice in the film, there are very few black characters and their roles all seemed to be resigned to deplorable jobs in the society meaning that one’s race determines their outcomes in life just like class does.
Question 4: Scapegoated groups and Melodrama
Leblanc suggests that scapegoated groups are usually positioned in a point of sacrifice within melodrama. Although melodrama may be used to create or elicit emotions that can promote social change, they however sometimes seem to be castigating individuals belonging to scapegoated groups while at the same time appearing to be campaigning for the values espoused by these scapegoated groups. For example. Melodrama may bring out emotions that are supposed to enable people to accept homosexuality, but most of the times individual characters will tend to be castigated and may sometimes be sacrificed for the greater good. According to LeBlanc, the narrative of an individual is dramatized and this diverts the attention from the ambiguities and contradictions of a scapegoated institution or group.
According to the author of this discussion, Mulvey’s theories on passivity an activity are based on the male and the female roles in film. The author then goes on to elaborate on this by clearly showing the roles that men and women are usually assigned in traditional cinema. For example, it is shown that in male-female relationships in film, men come out as more forward and aggressive and thus active. On the other hand, females are put on objective display and come out as passive. Simply out, women are objects for the enjoyment of the men. This is indeed a very agreeable aspect. The author then goes to state that modern days are changing and these roles of passivity and activity are being wiped off as the society adopts new beliefs especially those regarding strong female characters. To drive the point home, the author mentions Gilmore Girls and Sex in the City, two of the most famous television series of the 21st century whose main characters are strong females who are not simply objects of desire.
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