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Ways of Seeing

            The role of women in cinema and in society is analyzed by various writers: Berger, Doane, and Mulvey. In their essays, the authors make assumptions about gender and how it structures the culture industries. Speaking on the patriarchal structures of cinema and society, Mulvey, along with the other writers, states that women are objects of the male sex. Men take the controlling position as women take on the submissive role. Berger, as well as the other authors, elaborates on the role of females in society and culture and goes on to explain how they are viewed as images by men, the "bearers of the look."" The film The Truman Show challenges and extends much of the issues and concerns of the feminist analysis made by Berger, Doane, and Mulvey. .
             As Laura Mulvey states in her essay "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,"" females are the focus of attention in cinema; however, The Truman Show contradicts this idea. Mulvey makes the assumption that in today's society, women are the center of cinematic gaze and are the ones favored to be the objects. She goes on to explain that the audience favors a female figure as the object of attention because of erotic identity: "The determining male gaze projects its fantasy onto the female figure-(Mulvey 62). In this film, Truman is the main character, around who the entire movie bases its plot. Truman is a male character, but is placed as the object of cinematic gaze. Mulvey makes clear in her essay that men are the "bearers of the look."" John Berger, in Ways of Seeing also states that, "the ideal' spectator is always assumed to be male-(Berger 64). In this film, however, a male is the object of the gaze and women take the position as the "bearers of the look."" The fact that a male character is the main object of cinematic attention in this film not only contradicts Mulvey's assumption that women are the primary objects of cinematic focus, but also goes against her assumption on the burden of objectification.

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