In “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” (1975), Laura Mulvey argues that classical Hollywood cinema (1930s-1960s) worked to encourage audiences to identify with an idealized male character (the “ego ideal”), particularly when he looks at a woman who “connotes to-be-looked-at-ness.” By encouraging us to identify with the “male gaze” and to take pleasure in looking at the female object of the gaze, Mulvey argues, classical Hollywood produces male subjects and female objects. In this way, classical Hollywood style reproduces the patriarchal power relations that associate masculinity with dominance, femininity with submission. (See the clips from Gilda and The World of Suzie Wong for examples).
Please write a 3- to 5-paragraph essay (with an introduction and conclusion and using topic sentences) answering ONE of the following questions:
1. We’ve seen this clip from Vertigo in class several times. How might you use this clip as an example to support Mulvey’s arguments.
Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock 1958)