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Semantee Chattopadhyay
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The male gaze is how the visual arts and literature depict the world and women from a masculine point of view. It presents women as objects of the male pleasure. The phrase male gaze was coined by feminist film critic Laura Mulvey in 1975. The male gaze consists of three perspectives that of the person behind the camera than of the characters within the representation or film itself and that of the spectator. Mulvey posits that gender power symmetry is a controlling process in cinema and constructed for the pleasure of the male viewers which is deeply rooted in patriarchal ideologies and discourses. The concept has subsequently been prominent in feminist film theory, in media studies as well as communications and cultural studies. It also suggests that the male gaze denies full a human identity relegating them to the status of objects to be admired for physical appearance and male sexual desires and fantasies. In visual pleasure and narrative cinema, different types of spectatorship may occur while viewing a film. They can involve unconsciously or in some cases consciously engaging in the typical ascribed societal roles of men and women. It is under the construction of patriarchy that women and films are tied to desire and that female characters hold in appearance quoted for strong visual and erotic impact. The female actor is never meant to represent a character that directly affects the outcome of a plot or keep the storyline going but is inserted into the film as a way of supporting the male role and bearing the burden of sexual objectification. In other words, the woman is passive to the active days from the man. Mulvey also states that the female gaze is the same as the male gaze. This means that women look at themselves through the eyes of men. The male gaze may be seen by a feminist as a manifestation of unequal power between gazer and gazed or as a conscious or unconscious attempt to develop that inequality. From this perspective a woman who welcomes an object to find these may be simply confirming two norms established to benefit men.