male gaze and sexualisation in film and tv

Horrible fact of our society: The male gaze and sexualisation of women on screen is so prevalent that you actually get the jolt of noticing when a film or tv show *doesn’t* do it.

Wonder Woman and Mad Max were… female bodies in motion, female bodies doing action and not once did the camera linger on tits or arse or legs.  The difference between how the Amazons were filmed during their action scenes and how Black Widow is filmed in Avengers is huge.  Look where the focus rests, where the centre of the frame is.  How it lingers or doesn’t.  Whether their hair is perfect, how far the zipper goes down.  Where the bruises are painted on by makeup.  Are they artfully placed to highlight bone structure?  How much muscle is shown?  Is it enough muscle to actually believably do the job or is it just enough to be ‘aesthetically pleasing’? (seriously.  Look at Scarlett Johansson, who by all accounts worked out like mad, and then look at the Amazons)

Then we go to the violent crime/horror shows.  We’ve got long experience of crime and horror focussing around dead and tortured bodies of young women and how the camera lingers on their naked and half-dressed corpses.  And then you get the weird, random ones like Hannibal, where they made the commitment that there would be no sexual violence.  Naked bodies in sick and twisted art formations but it wasn’t voyeuristic (you can always tell).  The Exorcist, rebooted as a tv show. (priests still battling to save a girl’s soul from a demon) In this case it’s a pretty blonde girl in her late teens, and we know how those get filmed in horror. Except… not.  Huh.  Camera always very careful not to show skin, or have her self-harming on camera, and when there was a female corpse on a gurney we got a foot and a shoulder and her jawline.  It’s vomit and bile and blood and tears and hair pulled out during the exorcism scenes and not once does it highlight her cheekbones, or have that tear in her shirt pulling to get a glimpse of her unmarred skin.

And you notice because it’s so different that it’s out of place in the glossy entertainment of Hollywood.