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Men Looking at Men

Studies in World Art, Book 50
Narrated by: Joe Van Riper
Length: 8 mins
Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Arts

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In 1975, the American critic, Laura Mulvey, published an article entitled "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema". This has over the years been one of the most influential of all feminist texts. In it, Mulvey made use of a version of Freudian theory, as reinterpreted by the French philosopher and psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. Freud referred to scopophilia - the pleasure of look at other people’s bodies as erotic objects. Mulvey applied this to the cinema. For her, the spectator - paradigmatically male - turned the women he saw on the screen into passively erotic objects, while at the same time identifying himself with the ideal ego - the hero of the story - also seen on the screen.

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