Rate this paper
  • Currently rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
4.25 / 4
Paper Topic:

Male Body

Voyeuristic Scopophilia and the Male Gaze in Zoolander

Visual culture is an important mirror of prevailing social norms and behaviors . Thus , cinema , as a central feature of visual culture , plays a key role in the propagation and perpetuation of cultural values and attitudes . For instance , the cinema has a huge impact in creating and reinforcing gender roles and stereotypes not only through cinematic representations of the feminine and the masculine in its characters but through the implicit male bias in filmmaking which uses women to indulge men 's voyeuristic scopophilia (Mulvey (a

) 57 ) as seen in how most films are crafted from a male point of view with a male audience in mind . As a result , women viewers are either alienated from cinematic narratives or are forced to adopt the male gaze ' in validating the representations of the female in cinema and in their subjective realities (Mulvey (b 139 ) The inherent powerlessness of women in asserting a female gaze is exemplified in the movie Zoolander ' a film that attempts to provide a satirical view of the fashion industry and male modelling but succeeds mainly in perpetuating stereotypes of femininity and masculinity

In Zoolander ' top male model Derek Zoolander 's (Ben Stiller supremacy in the modelling world is threatened by the arrival of Hansel McDonald (Owen Wilson , whose winning the coveted VH1 Male Model of the Year Award becomes a source of public embarrasment to Derek that he decides to retire from the fashion industry and goes home to his coal-mining town and family . As expected , Derek soon finds himself unfit for the hardwork involved in the mining pits and is soon brought out of his retirement by fashion mogul Jacobim Mugato (Will Ferrell ) who convinces him to model Mugato 's new fashion line , Derelicte . However Mugato 's intentions for Derek are not that simple he plans to transform the model into a human assassin who would kill the Prime Minister of Malaysia so the latter could not implement stringent child labor laws that would deprive the fashion industry of cheap labor source . With the aid of his rival Hansel and Time Magazine reporter Matilda Jeffries (Christine Taylor , Derek thwarts - or rather , is thwarted from accomplishing - the fashion mogul 's evil plan

Billed as a comedy , Zoolander ' parodies the self-obsessed world of modelling and effectively uses the stereotypes about models to evoke laughter from its viewers . In this respect , the film illustrates how the gaze ' is often utilized in visual culture to capture and hold the attention and at the same time fulfill the voyeuristic tendencies of its audience . As Laura Mulvey argues , cinema tends to reinforce the existing power relations between genders by employing the male gaze in storytelling which emphasizes the subordination of the female to the desires of the male (57 ) At the same time , cinema is a way of acculturating masculine values to male audiences and offers a legal socially-accepted avenue of indulging in voyeur behavior

Indeed , Stiller 's film is made with what Susan Bordo (1999...

Not the Essay You're looking for? Get a custom essay (only for $12.99)