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Inverted Gaze and Altered Erotic Spectacle

Inverted Gaze and Altered Erotic Spectacle

Mukherjee Soumya


In primitive law of social organization, a woman is defined as a symbol of exchange between men and as an object of possession which is extended to the representation of women in paintings and later in photography and cinema. In cinematic representations, according to feminist film theory, it is the male protagonist who actively dominates the screen and the gazes while the female character, though essential for the narrative, is portrayed as a passive bearer of the gaze. The female body, as a spectacle, offers voyeuristic pleasure to the male spectator. But with the turn of the century, an inversion of the power equation in the dominant discourse of representation has taken place. With the advent of post-modernity and the concept of sex for sale, eroticized male body has appeared in the ambit of representation which is also a product of consumerist capitalism where every aspect of life is segmented to form separate consumer entities. This paper tends to look at popular Hindi films that are released in the recent past where the male body is offered as an eroticized spectacle. Interestingly, this kind of representation of the male body has also given rise to the concept of the metro-sexual man and a desire for mesomorphic body enhanced with all cosmetic products, promoting consumerism. The paper bases its analysis on Laura Mulvey’s theory of visual pleasure and I attempt to apply it on the re-imagination of sexuality in cinematic spaces. The paper also examines the consumer spaces where the homo-sexual communities occupy substantial space as target audience which has enough potential to determine the direction and success of any popular cultural medium.


cinema, gaze, gender, male body; objectification; pleasure; representation

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Copyright (c) 2014 Mukherjee Soumya

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