Sexuality and Cinema Laura Mulvey Essay

Pages: 2 (851 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Women's Issues - Sexuality


" Jame Gumb's erotic fixation on the girl does not lead to a desire to sleep with her, but a desire to inhabit her body. But this fits in with Mulvey's view of how the female body is constructed in a phallocentric model: obviously Jame Gumb's desire to playact the "identification process" with that desirable body comes in the notorious scene in which he conceals his phallus between his legs and performs (again crucially) for a video camera. That Jame Gumb is, to a certain degree, to be defined by his gaze is indicated not only by Lecter's hint, but by his physical presence in the final confrontation with Starling: he is wearing elaborate night-vision goggles, which indicate that his own capacity to see is identified with the technological construction of a nocturnal predator. The audience is invited to see through these goggles -- revealing the flailing and terrified Starling by plain sight, and also revealing that the desire to view this spectacle is, for Gumb, a stronger motivation than the desire to kill the FBI agent who has discovered him. It is Starling who kills Gumb, and we are then permitted to view him wearing the goggles, in a death agony which clearly makes him resemble one of the insects which have played a part in the murders, and -- in the earlier scene with the entomologists -- Starling's own uneasy path in navigating the various men in the film who find her desirable. In some sense, Demme's film addresses Mulvey's concerns about phallocentrism by making Starling and Gumb, to a certain degree, both outsiders in a culture of gender normativity. For Starling, this involves learning that her gender will be viewed and read by every male in the film -- Crawford uses her gender as a means of gaining the trust of the small-town cops when he excludes her, and she takes him to task; Crawford also uses her gender as bait for Lecter (revealed to her by Dr. Chilton, before he then proceeds to hit on her himself). Lecter asks if she worries that Crawford "visualizes scenarios…fucking" her. Even the dorky cross-eyed entomologists cannot resist the urge to flirt with her. In this world where femininity is viewed as intrinsically desirable, it seems like logic necessitates summoning up the shadowy other: the man who desires the woman not for fucking, but to occupy this privileged position which attracts the desiring gaze. The subjective social position occupied by Starling is, to a certain degree, the position that Jame Gumb wishes… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Sexuality and Cinema Laura Mulvey" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Sexuality and Cinema Laura Mulvey.  (2012, April 12).  Retrieved July 28, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Sexuality and Cinema Laura Mulvey."  12 April 2012.  Web.  28 July 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Sexuality and Cinema Laura Mulvey."  April 12, 2012.  Accessed July 28, 2021.