Film

What are the gazes?

The “male gaze” or “female gaze” are terms to describe the perspective by which the visual media is using. It is the frame by which the story is being told. Whose eyes are you looking through? How is it biased? Critiques about the male gaze come as a way for feminists to explain how widely accepted it is that the male perspective is infused in media: focuses on sexuality of women, casual sexual objectification, and the empowerment of male attributes. This male gaze is thus more appropriately a heterosexual male gaze, as the representation of women are a key part to this perspective.

In contrast, the female gaze was established as an alternate way of interacting and showing the viewer a story. They are also focused on women, but differently: they are centered on a female protagonists’ needs and observations, and lean more towards sensuality rather than overt sexuality. The female gaze has led itself into the chick flick genre, as an example of “movies for women,” which unfortunately is considered a mockery or lowbrow. Either extremes can be detrimental to the storytelling, so thinking about this aspect is very important for proper representation.

LGBTIQ+ representation

LGBTIQ+ representation in film and visual media has never been as diverse as it is currently. That came after decades of fighting for visibility: through the Stonewall Riots, the HIV/AIDS epidemic that desperately needed awareness, through political silencing and oppression. Finally, characters were hinted at being queer, but not forthcoming. It took a long time for a character to come out on television; it was on Australian show Number 96, in 1972. Gay best friends and lesbians as the butt of the joke were the norm in popular culture, before eventually showing more dimensional characters and representation. Laverne Cox’s role in Orange Is The New Black was a breakthrough for the transgender community, as an acclaimed show with a complex character represented a segment of the population that had been ignored.

Women’s presence at Award Ceremonies

Particularly for female film directors, it seems that Hollywood doesn’t care to make space for proper recognition of their accomplishments. Despite female directors creating top-grossing motion pictures, very little are nominated, even less so winning. To be fair, it isn’t only an issue in Hollywood; many international and acclaimed film festivals have fallen under the same scrutiny for casting out female talent. The blatantly evident gender gap is compounded with the spotlight brought onto sexual harassment and sexual assault in the entertainment industry, as illustrated in the Cannes 2018 protest on the red carpet for equal rights. With the power of speaking out and their platforms, these women are making it known what they have faced in term of gender discrimination and the standard that should be held the create equality.

Who dies first in horror movies?

Which minority will die first in this horror flick? It seems that just by the opening, it becomes quite clear which characters will not survive, and who the hero is most likely to be (despite the credits indicating the most famous actor…). Historically, minorities are hardly as present in film as white people; all racial and gender minorities have a minor plot or their purpose relies on the stereotypical white male protagonist. The common assumption that black men will die first in horror movies has not proven to be true; they just die later in the movie. Most often, the demographic to die first are white women, and if not first, they will also die later. Overall, the trope invites an acceptance that the least represented profiles in film will be neither heroes nor survivors. With an already skewed success rate of minorities in film, it is yet another source of frustration that the roles they are able to acquire are deemed disposable enough to kill their character.

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Alicia Keys, Jennifer Aniston, Patty Jenkins, Demi Moore et Penelope Spheeris
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