is a feminist film theorist from Britain who is predominantly known for her theory regarding sexual objectification on women in the media, more commonly known as "The Male Gaze” theory.
Mulvey's theory implies that the male viewer is the target audience, therefore their needs are met first. According to her, this "problem" stems from an old fashioned, male-driven society.
The Male Gaze theory, is where women in the media are viewed from the perspective of a heterosexual man and are represented as passive objects of male desire. Typical examples of the male gaze include medium close-up shots of women from over a man’s shoulder, shots that pan and fixate on a woman’s body, and scenes that frequently occur which show a man actively observing a passive woman.
A great example of a music video that has elements of male gaze is Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus, which I created a post on.
In this video, the camera is fixated on her naked body on the wrecking ball, but also on her movements with the hammer and her body as she very sensually slips her fingers and the hammer over the wall. The glamorous look of blue eyes combined with the make-up of red bright lipstick and the mascara and eyeliner makes the artist appeal to a male audience as well.
In an interview Cyrus suggested that the kind of femininity and sexual imagery she is allowed to portray in her music videos is heavily controlled within the media. Due to her rise in stardom in the Disney channel series Hannah Montana, Cyrus believes her image is restricted because people “feel like they really know” her. The insidious nature of what can be read between the lines of this statement is not the frustration that Cyrus must feel, but the lack of ownership that she has ever had over her own image.
Cyrus suggested that she didn’t want to be “objectified” by the music industry and that it was necessary to go “full on post-Disney”, which is what caused the major change in style, music videos and music.
Through the self-determination of her own sexual agency Cyrus demonstrates a will to both redefine the boundaries in which women’s sexuality can be expressed, whilst at the same time ‘having it all.’