Lynch's male gaze  

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(@jack)
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Posted by: TheArmFromAnotherPlace

The fact that you have the avatar that you do means I can't take you seriously at all...

I'm sorry, but...

Come on...

The way I see it, Lynch is just showing that these things are common, but they just lurk beneath the surface. I don't think that he's glorifying it in any way and I don't entirely understand how people could think that but... *shrugs*

Back in 1986, when Roger Ebert accused David Lynch of portraying Dorothy Vallens as ALL women, and Lynch responded that she was just Dorothy, haven't people since then stopped accusing Lynch of misogyny?  Some directors are misogynistic perhaps.  But Lynch certainly isn't and it's a shame that people choose to see what they want to see.

It's amazing to me that directors can film any kind of story without having to worry about people accusing them of things unfairly and without evidence or reason.

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Posted : 02/08/2017 7:43 pm
Myn0k and Karen liked
(@karen_paynter)
Deputy
Posted by: Roberto Bella

Lynch's career has largely been about the male gaze. The voyeurism of "Blue Velvet" being an excellent example.

I think exploration of the 'male gaze' is totally valid artistically, though I would like to see it balanced off a bit more with some consideration for the 'female gaze,' even though Lynch is a male filmmaker.

How often do men end up objectified in their underwear in Lynch? Or especially when under threat of violence like Daria. I can't think of much 'sexualized violence' committed against men in Lynch's work. Or even 'homosexualized violence.' That probably makes him more susceptible to criticism on the male gaze front.

SAME MOVIE, Dorothy catches Jeffrey hiding in the closet watching her & has him strip for her.

Fire Walk With Me

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Posted : 02/08/2017 8:25 pm
(@karen_paynter)
Deputy
Posted by: Ruskinowl

It's also worth noting that his wife Jennifer made 'Boxing Helena'. What does that tell you!

*face-palm*
BTW you should actually see the film to the end, not what you assume it is.

Fire Walk With Me

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Posted : 02/08/2017 8:27 pm
(@roberto_bella)
Roadhouse Regular
Posted by: Karen
Posted by: Roberto Bella

Lynch's career has largely been about the male gaze. The voyeurism of "Blue Velvet" being an excellent example.

I think exploration of the 'male gaze' is totally valid artistically, though I would like to see it balanced off a bit more with some consideration for the 'female gaze,' even though Lynch is a male filmmaker.

How often do men end up objectified in their underwear in Lynch? Or especially when under threat of violence like Daria. I can't think of much 'sexualized violence' committed against men in Lynch's work. Or even 'homosexualized violence.' That probably makes him more susceptible to criticism on the male gaze front.

SAME MOVIE, Dorothy catches Jeffrey hiding in the closet watching her & has him strip for her.

A good point, though Jeffrey is never the victim of sexualized violence.

Both Dorothy and Lula in "Wild at Heart" seem to express some degree of arousal when they are physically threatened. In the case of Lula, Willem Dafoe's character has her by the crotch. Would you care to begin unraveling that onion?

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Posted : 03/08/2017 11:16 am
(@kenneth_thomas)
Owl

This is a great article to read on the subject:

Twin Peaks and Brechtian Sensibilities in Modern Visual Media

It's pretty long, but, below, I quote the part about misogyny. I think the important part is that Lynch is no way trying to titilate the audience with this. In fact, also coming from a small depressed logging town in northern california, not unlike twin peaks, a lot of the scenes of domestic violence rings pretty true and authentic to what I witnessed and/or felt in the air  — partially due to how he shoots those scenes, with the camera being a little TOO close, the scenes going on a little TOO long, and the actual violence being a little more uncomfortable than other shows that overly stylize it. I don't think it's shot to look pretty or titilating. I see it more as a depiction of something that unfortunately is all too present in the real world, and not something misogynistic. If I want the latter, I will watch Friday the 13th.  

The author of the above article puts it more succinctly below:

" The distanciation and audience alienation effects employed in The Return encourage the viewer to look past the presentation on screen to the social issues being actively exposed.

Two of the oft-repeated gestures summarizing Twin Peaks are “Who killed Laura Palmer?” and “Full of secrets.” One of the most important verbal gestures uttered by Albert Rosenfeld (Miguel Ferrer) often gets sidelined: “The evil that men do.”

The evil that men do is no metaphor for mankind, or humanity, as a whole. It speaks specifically to the male of the human species; the male who inflicts horrors upon the female in instances of gendered, often sexual, violence. In a world where one in three women will be raped in her lifetime, and virtually every woman has stories to tell of sexual assault, and cyber/street harassment, this distinction is important to recognize.

The many incidents of (often graphic) violence against women in Twin Peaks is not inherently misogynistic, but it is reflective of the misogyny that continues to terrorize women in real life as well as on screens. The depictions of violence against women, the hypersexualization of women, and gendered sexual objectification in Twin Peaks are not meant to titillate the viewer. These evils men do are presented as points of social critique, and they further potential moments for the audience to distance themselves from the action on screen and reflect. Unlike shows like Game of Thrones that present sex and violence as official points of male arousal —Twin Peaks is an indictment of misogyny, a calling out of the viewer’s willingness to objectify women."

 

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Posted : 03/08/2017 12:38 pm
(@maurice_dumont)
Dweller
 

 it's a shame that people choose to see what they want to see.

 

No, that's just great, as long as people understand that their vision or their truth is not the only possibility or THE truth.

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Posted : 03/08/2017 2:22 pm
(@badalamenti-fan)
Roadhouse Regular
Posted by: Kenneth Thomas

This is a great article to read on the subject:

Twin Peaks and Brechtian Sensibilities in Modern Visual Media

It's pretty long, but, below, I quote the part about misogyny. I think the important part is that Lynch is no way trying to titilate the audience with this. In fact, also coming from a small depressed logging town in northern california, not unlike twin peaks, a lot of the scenes of domestic violence rings pretty true and authentic to what I witnessed and/or felt in the air  — partially due to how he shoots those scenes, with the camera being a little TOO close, the scenes going on a little TOO long, and the actual violence being a little more uncomfortable than other shows that overly stylize it. I don't think it's shot to look pretty or titilating. I see it more as a depiction of something that unfortunately is all too present in the real world, and not something misogynistic. If I want the latter, I will watch Friday the 13th.  

The author of the above article puts it more succinctly below:

" The distanciation and audience alienation effects employed in The Return encourage the viewer to look past the presentation on screen to the social issues being actively exposed.

Two of the oft-repeated gestures summarizing Twin Peaks are “Who killed Laura Palmer?” and “Full of secrets.” One of the most important verbal gestures uttered by Albert Rosenfeld (Miguel Ferrer) often gets sidelined: “The evil that men do.”

The evil that men do is no metaphor for mankind, or humanity, as a whole. It speaks specifically to the male of the human species; the male who inflicts horrors upon the female in instances of gendered, often sexual, violence. In a world where one in three women will be raped in her lifetime, and virtually every woman has stories to tell of sexual assault, and cyber/street harassment, this distinction is important to recognize.

The many incidents of (often graphic) violence against women in Twin Peaks is not inherently misogynistic, but it is reflective of the misogyny that continues to terrorize women in real life as well as on screens. The depictions of violence against women, the hypersexualization of women, and gendered sexual objectification in Twin Peaks are not meant to titillate the viewer. These evils men do are presented as points of social critique, and they further potential moments for the audience to distance themselves from the action on screen and reflect. Unlike shows like Game of Thrones that present sex and violence as official points of male arousal —Twin Peaks is an indictment of misogyny, a calling out of the viewer’s willingness to objectify women."

 

Fantastic contribution-- thanks for sharing this!

While the author's analysis is compelling, there is another point of view less charitable to the male filmmaker-- but nevertheless entirely justifiable-- on the male gaze that would ask whether the distantiation effect is a) recognized as such by the audience and, more important, b) whether the intended critique, moral, or lesson is received.

I've said elsewhere on the forum with respect to the misogyny debate that one can enjoy Lynch's films but still question whether or not it is effective for a heterosexual male filmmaker to critique the male gaze using the male gaze.  

Those who dismiss this question out of hand might benefit from a nuanced distinction between the narrative context in which Lynch's sexual violence occurs and how his camera --and directions to his actors --capture these depictions.  The narrative context is almost never ambivalent, but the staging, acting, sound and color editing, and composition of individual shots are often characteristically Lynch, so decadently sensuous as to be sensual, if that makes any sense. A cut to a close-up shot of a woman's lipstick-red parting lips -- like the famous one in Blue Velvet -- channels the hyperbolically seductive/titilating representation of women in, say, cigarette advertisements of the 1940s, 50s, 60s. Yet in Blue Velvet , this image appears in the S&M sequence that follows Frank's ritualized rape and battery of Dorothy. The cigarette advertisement is a great example of how the male gaze informs advertising strategies delivered to all consumers. Blue Velvet can be read as a critique of the omnipresence of representations shaped by the male gaze in our society. Yet the narrative can , in turn, be understood to exonerate the sexual violence represented as contextual , while the gaze that captures it does so using a code of visual images that more or less "sell" the viewer the violence/trauma depicted. From this perspective, it makes sense to me that many would find this scene appalling.  Many others -- say, for the sake of argument, men like Frank Booth-- would neither recognize this ambiguity as viewers nor be prompted to reflect on what they'd seen or discuss it with others. 

Given the omnipresence of emphatically UNcritical representations of sexual violence elsewhere in the media environment (e.g. the "sexy rapes" on GoT), how  could anybody-- but especially men-- dismiss concerns about these issues voiced by women???

The answer, I suspect, is a willful and culturally reinforced resistance to recognizing inequality as a structural problem, not a matter of particular circumstance . Lately, it has been popular to conflate this willful ignorance with 'privilege', but I think its something more psychoanalytically and culturally complex than that term quite describes....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted : 03/08/2017 4:02 pm
(@roberto_bella)
Roadhouse Regular
Posted by: Badalamenti Fan

Those who dismiss this question out of hand might benefit from a nuanced distinction between the narrative context in which Lynch's sexual violence occurs and how his camera --and directions to his actors --capture these depictions.  The narrative context is almost never ambivalent, but the staging, acting, sound and color editing, and composition of individual shots are often characteristically Lynch, so decadently sensuous as to be sensual, if that makes any sense. A cut to a close-up shot of a woman's lipstick-red parting lips -- like the famous one in Blue Velvet -- channels the hyperbolically seductive/titilating representation of women in, say, cigarette advertisements of the 1940s, 50s, 60s. Yet in Blue Velvet , this image appears in the S&M sequence that follows Frank's ritualized rape and battery of Dorothy. The cigarette advertisement is a great example of how the male gaze informs advertising strategies delivered to all consumers. Blue Velvet can be read as a critique of the omnipresence of representations shaped by the male gaze in our society. Yet the narrative can , in turn, be understood to exonerate the sexual violence represented as contextual , while the gaze that captures it does so using a code of visual images that more or less "sell" the viewer the violence/trauma depicted. From this perspective, it makes sense to me that many would find this scene appalling.  Many others -- say, for the sake of argument, men like Frank Booth-- would neither recognize this ambiguity as viewers nor be prompted to reflect on what they'd seen or discuss it with others. 

Given the omnipresence of emphatically UNcritical representations of sexual violence elsewhere in the media environment (e.g. the "sexy rapes" on GoT), how  could anybody-- but especially men-- dismiss concerns about these issues voiced by women???

The answer, I suspect, is a willful and culturally reinforced resistance to recognizing inequality as a structural problem, not a matter of particular circumstance . Lately, it has been popular to conflate this willful ignorance with 'privilege', but I think its something more psychoanalytically and culturally complex than that term quite describes....

You've given us a lot of great stuff to chew on. I agree 100% that the way Lynch presents many of these scenes is very AMBIGUOUS, either intentionally or not. And the advertising you reference is similarly ambiguous, playing off deep subconscious caveman/cavewoman stuff.

I believe that filmmakers like Lynch are willing to dare to wade into these deep waters without knowing what they'll find, or knowing what they present fully evokes. But the fact that such strong emotional responses are elicited tells me that he often puts his finger squarely on the Big Red Button haha.

In fact, so much so that discussions of the material are fraught with peril! Do we REALLY want to know what going on deep in our own brains or not so much?

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Posted : 03/08/2017 4:48 pm
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