Comparison Of Laura Mulvey's Visual Pleasure And Narrative Cinema

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Laura Mulvey’s piece, Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, emerged during second wave feminism and the classic Hollywood Film era. Mulvey’s work has since received various criticisms (Torres Lecture 10) however, several of her ideas are still prevalent in films today –specifically male characters as active and female characters as passive (Mulvey). Mulvey theorizes, “pleasure in looking has been split between active/male and passive/female. The determining male gaze projects its fantasy onto the female figure which is styled accordingly.” (19) Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams 2015) attempts to contradict this component of the male gaze, through female protagonist, Rey (Daisy Ridley), because Rey’s character is active within the narrative …show more content…
Mulvey theorizes the male as “a main controlling figure with whom the spectator can identify.” (20) Rey has complex emotions and thought processes. This is seen when she saves BB-8 and refuses to sell him for food which illustrates how she is deeply empathetic to other struggles. Viewers can identify with Rey’s feelings in this particular instance and feel empathetic towards her emotions. In Star Wars Awakens the complexity of Rey’s character allows her to demonstrate what Mulvey has theorized as the male’s role in film as the point of …show more content…
Rey’s character does this through her realistic and dynamic representation, meanwhile opposing the female as an erotic object. Rey is not a passive female character or subordinated to her male counterparts. While Rey is successful in defying the female passive role, it is important to note that this does not mean that her male counterpart Finn (John Boyega) does not carry the traits of an active man. With this being said, Rey’s character is an exception in film because she possesses the traits Mulvey theorized as an active male while defying several of the parts Mulvey had theorized as being a passive female. Often in popular culture and in film, female characters can possess active traits but do not necessarily defy the erotic spectacle traits as Rey does in Star

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