Sexual Difference and Looking Through the Eyes of Mulvey, Penley, and Hitchcock

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Even though Mulvey presents some intriguing points on how psychoanalysis affects the way gender is viewed in regards to the look, her writing is restricted and one-dimensional in comparison to Constance Penley’s article, “Feminism, Film Theory, and the Bachelor Machines” (1985). Penley begins by focusing on the idea of the “bachelor machine:” a practice used from approximately 1850-1925 where “numerous artists, writers, and scientists imaginatively or in reality constructed anthropomorphized machines to represent the relation of the body to the social, the relation of sexes to each other, the structure of the psyche, or the workings of history.” It is a perpetually moving, self-sufficient system that, as Michael de Certeau states, has a …show more content…
The earlier discussed article by Mulvey mirrors Metz’s ideas of the apparatus’ “seamless illusion,” and instead labels it as scopophilia. Penley, however, claims that there are significant problems with both of Baudry and Metz’s arguments. She also indirectly challenges Mulvey’s opinions. For Penley, “Baudry’s psyche-machine-cinema model is not only ahistorical but also strongly teleological….If the apparatus stages an eternal, universal, and primordial wish to create a simulacrum of the psyche, then Baudry’s argument is blind to the economic, social, or political determinations of cinema as well as its basic difference from other art forms….A further problem is that Baudry’s teleological argument asserts that cinema aims at pleasure alone, and that it unfailingly achieves it, an assertion, moreover, that is merely stated and not supported” (Stam and Miller, 458-459).
On the other hand, Penley says that, “for Metz, cinema is the art form of the imaginary par excellence, of the cinematic apparatus….film is more sensorially present than any other medium. At the same time, however, that which it depicts is extremely absent.” In this case, “the primary identification, then, is with the camera, or rather with the spectator

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