media blog

December 13th, 2010

Feminist Film Theory

Posted by kwildermuth in

Linda Williams was concerned about sex, violence and emotion used in film.  She was heavily concerned on sexuality and how the audience interprets it through the medium.  Her article begins with a cultural aspect.  She compares the thoughts of her seven year old boy to her own.  His thoughts are much different because he is a young child.  For, his thoughts of sexuality are “gross.”  It’s actually coming quite known that older females want to see more sexuality in films.  Traditionally, pleasure in females was seen in fear and pain.  Hitchcock was well known for inducing pain into his female characters. “Torture the women.” However, this has changed over time with the appearance of pornography. 

In Williams’s article, Jonathan Dollimore writes that “we are all perverts.” Power and pleasure is found in fantasies that appeal to women.  We learn the use of sadomasochistic and masochistic forms.  (pornography appeal).  Williams suggests that pleasure in film is seen as sadistic, intense suffering – but also appealing.  We can’t focus pornography on being a male dominated industry anymore.  Females view it as powerlessness and power.  The female with the desire must sacrifice and suffer in order to obtain pleasure.  The “bad girl” is punished for her actions, but rewarded in return. 

So what are the functions behind sex, violence and emotion?  In Williams’s article, she mentions their need to address the persistent problems in our culture, our identities.  Certainly, body parts are used differently in pornography, horror and melodramas.  “Fantasies” are separated into three main segments.  First, the sexual desire, second, how it’s “solved” through seduction, and third, the fantasy or reality in it being solved. 

William’s views are quite different to those of Modleski’s.  Modleski is more concerned on how women are portrayed in film in a bad, frustrating way.  William’s is taking pleasure in her female characters and their sexual experiences. 

Her views are also different from Freeland’s.  “Gender themselves are problematic and under question by feminists,” she states.  Freeland is fearful of castration and the very broad generalization about male or female viewers.  Although these theorists are very concerned with the use of feminism in the media.  William’s is the most liberal, Modleski is quite conservative, and Freeland is looking outside of the box.

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