I was forced to read Laura Mulvey's 'Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema' do develop a discourse for a thesis of study.
I am fascinated by her concepts of 'Male Gaze' as developed by her: classifying the 'gazed upon,' as a scophilia , a voyeur's gaze, and the gaze for the fetish.
Both gazes are inherently male centered but according to Mulvey, the voyeur's gaze is based on sexual instinct, where as, the gaze of fetish is based on the ego's libidinal acquired. For both of the gazes, she attributes the male symptom of Freudian discipleship-'castration anxiety'.
The voyeur's gaze, for Laura Mulvey , gives the power of possession to the male subject asgazing& power, akin to sadism, where the male can control the gaze as a dichotomous split of the repressed and the transgressed and enjoy the spectacle, if he is a viewer, or create the spectacle ( in assumed innocence)if he is the director/auteur. Mulvey assumes that even if a (she) is watching, she is excluded or marginalized, or explored and possessed visually as an analogy.
The gaze for the fetish on the other hand, capitalizes the feminine body to state of acceptance, where non-transgression modes of acceptance of the feminine body as the wonder- adored, nature's pin-up of divinity- nude, fascinated -worshiped, emerge as stunning modes psychic identification. In this model of Mulvey's discourse, she does not want to acknowledge the desire of the gazed upon to be desires and gazed upon. For example, she is not sure why a Madonna wants to be a Madonna, or a Magdeline wants to be a Magdeline, or a street girl wants to rise from rags to riches as Ms. World; she Ms. Mulvey is sure that it is male's gaze of the fetish.
And for these modes of male -discourse, Mulvey argues for the concept of 'radical destruction of pleasure.' Well, the models for averting/subverting the gaze are not prescribed by her.
I would like to argue with her theoretical assumptions on the following grounds:
a) The male gaze is not a symptom of 'castration anxiety'. It is a reservoir of 'gap' (gap is a term used by Lacan to show an area where the 'discourse of the other' can displace one signifier with another) created within the 'circumcised male' who is forced to paternalize instincts as behavior, culture and normwith a father complex and reject maternlized given bonding which are acquired during the mirror stage. The male gaze of the voyeur transgresses the paternal created as the 'in the name of the father as a signifier' and relives the illusion of fixated bonding within the spectacle of the Cinema.
b) 'Castration' is a misconception of Freud who tried to create two pseudo entities of the Oedipus complex, a castrated male and penis envying female. The male nor the female was castrated but circumcised to accept paternal and maternal codes of accepted norm to live within the discourse of culture.
c) 'Circumcision complex'is both male and female role- oriented and binary divides their roles as distinctive genders. Levels of the circumcision complex would vary from person to person.Its non acceptance as a zone of the same/neutral gender, makes the orientation towards gender as preference, a differAnce.
d) Gaze of the fetish takes place when the fixated complex within the circumcision complex is role reversed, as the accepted fulfillment of feminine role. The gaze of the fetish lasts within the mainstream of world culture and its complexes producing awesome worship, admiration, and also sadness of departure for characters/actors of this role like Princess Diana.
e) The biggest flaw of the Freudian Phallic centre is: both genders become of conscious of their sexual difference through identification of their body with biological cognition. This happens cognitively rather than psychically as interactive process of literacy,and identification of the body as the zone of gender difference.