Just Some Thoughts on Mulvey

According to Laura Mulvey, the movies of the classic Hollywood era are made for the male gaze. The female characters in these movies are reduced to objects which the male audience could enjoy looking at. This trend has not died off since the publication of her essay, many movies nowadays still uses female characters as “eye candies” for the male audience to look at. However, I think there is also a large degree of male objectification in the entertainment industry nowadays, which balances off the female objectification. Men show much more skin and are much more sexually appealing in contemporary movies than in the movies of the classic Hollywood era. Just think of all the actions movies or romantic movies where the man takes off his shirt to show off his six pack or whatever. This is clearly meant to impress the ladies among the audiences, and perhaps to also add motivation for the guys to go to the gym. The increase of male objectification is likely due to women having more buying power in the contemporary society. Back in the classic Hollywood era, men were the majority of the workforce while women generally stayed at home. This meant that the men had financial power and the ability to consume cultural products. Movies are meant to make money after all, so to suit the taste of the men who have the money, women became objectified in movies. In the contemporary society, women are just as prominent in the workforce as men are. The financial power of women is similar to men, if not superior. After all, women generally buy more than men. To suit the taste of the largely women based consumers nowadays, men became objectified too. I believe that such objectification is very natural. Men generally want women, and women generally want men, and both sexes enjoy looking at the beautiful members of the other sex. So it is natural to use men to attract female consumers and use women to attract male consumers. Objectification of a particular sex would only become a problem when it is used in a degrading sense.

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