Tuesday, December 4, 2007

After Much Anticipation.

So my final project idea is………………

A paper on the media and Women…now before you count me off..the rest will hopefully make more sense. It is my opinion that the female narrative in the 21st century has been written out and planned for us ( women) by other entities than ourselves. I love to take picture and looks at things and through my love of observation I believe I have noticed a ploy by the various media outlets to build women into a very specific pattern of existence. To me the female narrative has been toyed with in such a way that now we( women) are almost forced to by into the desires of (______i haven’t decided who yet…_____) thus building our lives and writing our narrative built on false pretenses.

So my narrative thus far, until my “awakening”(lol) has not been written really, by what I want and feel naturally, but what I am taught to want and feel by society. Please Please help me focus this idea more…


A. Benevent said...

Okay, film major powers...activate.

There's this perception and belief throughout the film industry that the majority of movies, television, books, etc., are narrated in something called "The Male Gaze".

The male gaze is basically the tendency of the camera, cinematography, editing, and screenplay to cater towards what a male audience wants to see-- thus creating the perception that the camera itself is like a man's line of vision.

There's a lot of discussion on this out there. Google Male Gaze and you'll have more info than you'll need. But notice how in films there's always a lot more female nudity than male nudity?

Notice how cameras tend to linger on shots of women's breasts? Notice how when a woman is in the frame of a film, her breasts are usually included, as well?

There's also a whole other school of thought that has to do with how male vs female characters are portrayed. Men tend to control the narrative (as they do here in House of Leaves) because nothing really happens in the story unless a man is perpetuating it. That is, the male characters lead the action and thus lead the narrative of the film or story.

This is an old Hollywood tradition that answers to even older gender roles. Men are the movers and the shakers, the adventurers, and women just kind of tag along. Independent film often tends to break the male gaze, but traditional, classical Hollywood cinema does not.

I feel like I'm babbling, but there's enough here for you to get a good start and tie it in to House of Leaves, I think.

If you google that stuff you'll be fine, and if you have any questions about it just post 'em here and I'll do my best to answer.

Hope that helps.


devalis said...

Yeah, I just felt the need to point out, before saying anything else (which I hope will be more constructive than this), that (____)(____) is what I saw and then I automatically thought "BOOBS!"

That said...

There's all sorts of stuff in House of Leaves that definitely points to the portrayal of women in a very specific way. The whole book is more than a little chauvinistic (wow, I just downloaded Firefox and it corrects my spelling, rock on!) and even at the very beginning it talks about how Zampano mentioned six different women on his own. It's kind of hard to see him as anything but an old blind guy, but it also seems like he was more than a little bit pimp.

That one woman makes reference to the House being a vagina, and I think you could do a lot with that. Not with the house being a vagina, but about how the references to the female characters in the book are all metaphors for the House. What's Danielewski telling us about women, then? It's also interesting that at the very end, there's reference to the World Tree. All I think of, especially in the context of gender, is that whole Adam and Eve bit. There are so many Biblical references in the novel that you could draw on that, too. The men (Navidson, Holloway, Johnny, Zampano) are the ones who are tempted by the House, which is always referred to as a woman. What's the apple, then?

How did becoming a photojournalist change Karen? What gave her what she needed to go back and save Navidson? And how does that fact that she was a model in the beginning and there's that whole part about her "practiced smile" tie into her on camera as opposed to off of it?

Sorry, I think this is all a tangent, but hopefully you can draw on... some of that.

Lemme know if you have any questions.

devalis said...

oh, fuckers.

This is Nik, btw.

Adam Johns said...

Most of what I could say would be more or less rehashing what Alex and Nik already contributed.

Both of them are showing great ways you could focus the paper. For my part, I think arguably the most fascinating part of HOL are the parts which belong to Karen -- the book is essentially as sexist as Nik & Alex argue, but then it has this moment when Karen briefly takes over everything. What would it look like if we got Karen's ending, instead of Navidson's/Miramax's, for instance?

Not that you absolutely need to focus on HOL. You could just as well explore how some particularly technology is used in some particular way to represent women (presumably in a hostile or degrading way). One interesting way to do this would be to contrast, for instance, images of models drawn from the fashion industry and deliberately feminist images of the same models. My sister told me about a film she saw that did that, but I can't remember the name of it...

Yomi said...

highly anticipated? what a joke. ha