Film Theory: Feminism–History, Theory, Issues

Research in Progress: Oct 26, 2021

“The cinematic apparatus, as a social technology that transcends the work of individual directors, was and is fully compromised in the ideology of vision and sexual difference founded on woman as image, spectacle, object and locus of sexuality”–Teresa DeLauretis, Alice Doesn’t

The American cinema is entirely dependent, as is psychoanalysis, on a system of representation in which the woman occupies a central place only in the extent that it’s a place assigned to her by the logic of masculine desire–Raymund Belfour, Cinema Obscura 3/4

“There is  no female Mozart because there is no female Jack the Ripper”–Camille Paglia

Feminism has been and remains to be the single most dynamic arena of energy, in both theory and practice, generating new, exciting readings of classic Hollywood cinema as well as critical theoretical discussions.

Feminism has legitimized film studies more than any other theoretical perspective.

The convergence of feminism and cultural studies around the question of audiences

Laura Mulvey on the masculinization of spectatorship.

Nancy Fraser and Linda Nicholson (1988)–The relations between feminism and postmodernism

Postmodern feminism shares incredulity towards meta-narratives

It must remain theoretical and hold on to some “large narratives” if the social-critical power of feminism is to be maintained.

They recommend that postmodern feminist theory should be “explicitly historical” and attend to the cultural specificity”
of different societies and periods and different groups within societies and periods.

De Lauretis:

What constitutes being socialized as woman in our culture has impact on the experiences of the woman film spectator.

Spectatorship: Description of spectators in terms of unconscious desires and basic structures of language.

De Lauretis: There is confusion about identify–as if it is a synonym for understand, as if it denotes a specific process by which comprehension occurs.

Each person goes to the movies, and the experience of that particular movie is also based on a series of previous identifications by which she or he has been engendered.