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Male Gaze Filter in Final Cut.

When working with appropriated footage, there are only so many changes, edits, tweaks and subversions one can make to the narrative; the camera angle cannot be altered. Yet it is a male gaze that moves and controls the camera. So how do you make something feminist when your source footage is inherently patriarchal? This is one of the limitations of remix. I can’t subvert the male gaze. And that’s a problem, a common one, central to understanding women’s stories, perspectives and position in society.

Females seldom find themselves in the role of spectator; the camera almost always assumes the view point of the male characters and it seems to constantly watch, follow and pan women and their bodies. I’m not arguing for an objectification of men, just a female perspective as complex.

As Laura Mulvey explains it in the psychological thriller Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, women are the “bearer of meaning, not maker of meaning”. This question of perspective and meaning was raised by Holly Willis after my USC talk on Monday night and as I work my way through the thickets of Mad Men, I’m realizing the ideal answer would be a Male Gaze Filter in Final Cut that allows the editor to flip the camera angle and see from the female characters’ perspective. This ‘filter’ is obviously dependent upon additional footage but it would change the narrative so drastically that it’s fun to think about how powerfully different our stories would be if there really was a such an add-on.

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5 thoughts on “Male Gaze Filter in Final Cut.

  1. Awesome post Elisa! As cinematographer, I find my self shooting many films that tell stories of, by and for men. I have worked on very few movies that have very strong female characters. Through post like this, I hope you are able to inspire even more women/feminist to create media and tell their stories!

  2. You make a good point, and that shot of Joanie was a perfect example. I like the idea of a male gaze filter in FCP as well, but something doesn’t feel right. Maybe it’s this:

    “So how do you make something feminist when your source footage is inherently patriarchal? This is one of the limitations of remix. I can’t subvert the male gaze.”

    Funk this noise, figure out a way to subvert it. Use it against itself. I will say this…that another way to limit remixing is to only think in terms of making feminist remixes. This post made me look back in the archives to two remixes I made in 2005. I guess because I would classify them as feminist remixes. If you have time, check them out:

    Someone did something, can’t remember what it was. I remixed peoples video reaction to it:
    http://www.bottomunion.com/vid/fem/fem.mov

    In 2005-2006 I did a remix show called Carp Caviar.
    Carp Caviar took on the Amazons:
    http://www.bottomunion.com/vid/carpcaviar/carpcaviar018.mov

    You and I have business left undone, but I think we should leave the former challenge where it lies.

    Something else…

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