The woman as a fighter – Laura Mulvey outdated

In the text Visual pleasure and narrative cinema Laura Mulvey discusses how in cinema women are presented just for male entertainment. They are there to be “looked at and displayed” and have “not the slightest importance.” I am disagreeing with this view of women and am here to mention how it is an out of date view using the music video fighter as my key title and representation of current horror texts.

The music video of Fighter (Christina Aguilera) follows one girl who is trapped in a dark eerie landscape in a suffocating glass box. It is Christina’s fight for freedom and metamorphosis of self that is the basis and meaning of the video. At this point Christina is wearing an oversized cape, underneath displaying a revealing two piece. At this point in the video the character is in Mulvey’s words “displayed for the gaze and enjoyment of men” yet she has the flowing cape as a sign of uncertainty and discomfort. The song itself being about overcoming a past relationship shows this as the stage of being over powered and moulded in this toxic relationship.

After escaping the glass box she is running from dark women wielding oversized pins, each pin stabbing in Christina’s back weighing her down in her escape. These pins representing the harsh nature of the breakup of the control her partner had over her. As she begins to fight back she starts transforming into a white “pure” costume surrounded by moths (the butterfly’s of the night) a symbol of her transformation and power over the dark women and her partner. This is where the video strays from Mulvey’s view as the woman is taking charge, control and becoming powerful. The woman is the protagonist of the story. The woman is not “tied to her place as bearer of meaning” in this video, instead she is creating her own and overcoming her troubles.

The final transformation is a red and black costume, red probably signifying anger or revenge however this is not clear. It seems more like to costume was simply thrown in at the end for the fast paced movements. In my view this final costume is the result of the character finding her own again, whether talking about style or emotion/personality.

This music video proves that the case of Laura Mulvey is becoming out-dated, slowly but surely the male gaze is being ignored. Though some films and directors do still present women in a lusting way women in moving image and especially horror now have a lot more presence and power. Some examples being Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger games), Ripley (Alien) and Buffy (Buffy the vampire slayer) who all have the brain and brawl. They are not just presented as a side kick they are the main focus and hero’s in their own right.

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 13.13.55

 

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