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Claire Johnston was among the first feminist critics to offer a sustained critique of stereotypes from a semiotic point of view 19731991 She put forward how classical cinema constructs the ideological image of woman Drawing on Roland Barthes notion of myth Johnston investigated the myth of Woman in classical cinema The sign woman can be analyzed as a structure a code or convention It represents the ideological meaning that woman has for men In relation to herself she means no-thing 1991 25 women are negatively represented as not-man The woman-as woman is absent from the text of the film 26 The important theoretical shift here is from an understanding of cinema as reflecting reality to a view of cinema as constructing a particular ideological view of reality Classical cinema never shows its means of production and is hence characterized by veiling over its ideological construction Thus classical film narrative can present the constructed images of woman as natural realistic and attractive This is the illusionism of classical cinema In her groundbreaking article Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema 19751989 Laura Mulvey uses psychoanalysis to understand the fascination of Hollywood cinema This fascination can be explained through the notion of scopophilia the desire to see which is a fundamental drive according to Freud Sexual in origin like all drives der Schautrieb is what keeps the spectator glued to the silver screen Classical cinema adds Mulvey stimulates the desire to look by integrating structures of voyeurism and narcissism into the story and the image Voyeuristic visual pleasure is produced by looking at another character figure situation as our object whereas narcissistic visual pleasure can be derived from self-identification with the figure in the image Mulvey has analyzed scopophilia in classical cinema as a structure that functions on the axis of activity and passivity This binary opposition is gendered The narrative structure of traditional cinema establishes the male character as active and powerful he is
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