Manipulation of Gender Roles In Rear Window.
In Alfred Hitchcock's film Rear Window a theme of gender roles is prevalent, more specifically the male understanding of the female, and the female manipulation of this understanding. This relation is most dominant in Jeff and Lisa's relationship, where Jeff wants to conform Lisa into a product of his fantasy in which he is superior and the protector of Lisa. However, Jeff's goal is only partially reached because of Lisa's mental manipulation of Jeff. This alteration can best be seen in the scenes when Lisa first appears in Jeff's apartment, when Lisa enters Thorwald's apartment, and in the final scene of the movie.
In the scene where we are first introduced to a beautiful, carefree Lisa, Lisa gently wakes Jeff up by simply looking at him. Here Lisa is bathed in the glow of soft light looking angelic and embodies the perfection that Jeff is intimidated by in her. Jeff sees Lisa as the better one of the two of them, which goes against both his and society's view of the male and female relationship where the male is the dominant factor. Laura Mulvery best expresses this view when she states, "the determining male gaze projects its fantasy onto the female figure, which is styled accordingly" (Mulvey 523). Lisa then begins to question Jeff, starting with polite conversational questions "How's your leg? And your stomach?" she then progresses into a weighted question, "and your love life?" Lisa's questions progress in a similar manner as to how her personality progresses in the movie from the young woman in love to the dominant woman proving her love.
The scene where Lisa's dominance is established is when after digging in the garden her and Stella fail to find any evidence for Mrs.Thorwald's assumed murder. Lisa takes it upon herself to climb up the fire escape, a very unfeminine action, and personally search Thorwald's apartment. Watching this Jeff gets upset and wants her to stop, however she continues to look for evidence.