Friday, July 27, 2012

The Gaze and Batman

The Devil in Art is a humongous topic and I think I managed to finally narrow my thesis topic down to the depiction of the ‘special relationship’ between women and the Devil. I decided that I do not want to take the usual path and look at witchcraft, but rather indulge my passion for the Genesis 3 story of Adam, Eve, and the snake. In the Bible the snake is a snake and just that – a reptile, however, the reception and interpretation of the text turned it in to the devil. The snake being the devil makes the representations of the snake as a female all the more interesting.

One of the more famous representations of thesnake as a female can be found in theSistine Chapel.

This choice also means that my reading will consist of gender theory, sexuality, nakedness, and of course The Gaze. With the latter I always seem to be at odds mostly because I beve it is dated.

Yesterday I went to watch the new Batman, yes it is awesome it was also the first out of Nolans trilogy to have a bed scene. During the bed scene what struck me was that all the attention of the camera was on the naked male. The viewer got a good look at his chest, and arms, and muscles while the female sat wrapped up in the shade. I found this a very interesting turn, as it implies the scene was not so much for the heterosexual males pleasure and libido (if anything Christian Bale’s body will put many to shame) but for the pleasure of girls and male gays watching. Even more interesting, I expected that to balance it out Catwoman would show some skin but no, and her being dressed in latex still left a lot to the imagination. Thinking about it the latest Batman franchise is the ultimate eye candy for girls and gays and the fact that it was filmed by a male (and I am guessing straight) director puts the Male gaze theory out of date.  
Another example of such eye candy is again with Christian Bale, the opening scenes of American Psycho show him naked taking a shower and then working out in his underwear. This is a good example of the double standards of any feminist theory: if it was a naked female showering and working out filmed by a male it would have been labeled porn and one or two feminists would be at the director’s throat. However, since it’s a really good looking guy (and filmed by a female) the feminists are kept preoccupied with something to stare at.
Scene from the opening sequence of the American Psycho.
The Gaze theory is interesting and it is a valuable prism through which to examine some movies and artworks works yet it seemed that it cannot be applied to most of the contemporary culture. Laura Mulvey’s thought that “According to the principles of the ruling ideology and the psychical structures that back it up, the male figure cannot bear the burden of sexual objectification”  became obsolete the second a female character in a movie/show/book/sitcom said ‘Mmmm, look at his hot ass.’ It became dated the second voyeuristic websites such as  began to appear. The gaze theory should have died the second homosexuality came out of the closet because now when a male and a female are staring at a woman you cannot be too sure about who is admiring the breasts and who the handbag.   

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