MaryAnn Doane’s article investigates how the film industry isportraying the female gender and how those techniques are contrary tothe needs of women. The author claims that the portrayal of thefemale body has been used by filmmakers to push their personal andsocieties’ sexist agendas. Doane explains that the representationof women in cinema over the years has been unfair and exploitive,which makes the idea of feminist in filmmaking seem impossible (Doane22). She also reiterates that movies are incapable of overturning thehistory of which female actors have been viewed as subordinate. Doanealso states that cinema is so skewed towards the male audience thatit contains no images for or of a woman. Therefore, a simple sign ofdirecting a camera towards a woman has become equated to a criminalact. She also sees the feminist filmmaker as powerless to convey apro-female message to an audience who are likely to have biasestowards women. Therefore, the author tries to push for the feministcause in the movie industry by clearly defining and improving theplace of the woman in filmmaking (Doane 22).
Doanestates that the patriarchy sets the standards on everything thus,trying to give a different view means that it is going to faceopposition. The writer feels that the resistance to the expression offemininity in films is based on the fact that society itself does notunderstand the female roles. Doane explains that feminist filmmakingshould produce images that give a pure projection of the real womanwhile claiming her place on the silver screen (Doane 33). However,Doane acknowledges that the current situations originate from ahistory, which designates women as subordinates. Thus, it is hard tooverturn this notion using contemporary practices that are more awareand self-conscious (Doan, 35). On the other hand, the stalematechallenging the feminist filmmakers is connected to the force of ahypothetical discourse that denies the objectivity of the cinematictools. However, the author concludes by commending the efforts ofsome filmmakers who are trying to re-evaluate the place of the womanin cinema (Doane 36).
Subsequently,Doane supports her argument using excerpts from movies and quotesother writers. Additionally, she dissects the characters played bywomen in film over the years while showing the flaws in thedepictions. She also states that these movies fail to deconstruct theideas that society holds about the female form. Instead, they explorewhy the society holds those ideals (Doan, 26). Some filmmakers haverefused to allow the images of women into their film because theyfind it impossible to separate those illustrations with the dominantmeanings. For example, the author mentions Sally Potter’s Thrillerandexplains how the film serves to retell the responsibilities of awoman in the opera instead of redefining that role (Doane 24).Additionally, she uses TheCameraby Babette Mangolte as evidence of how cinema gives womeninstructions on how to pose rather than allowing them to actnaturally. The author argues that such things show what is wrong withthe depiction of female actors in movies (Doane 24).
Lastly,the argument is very convincing because Doane backs up her statementwith very compelling evidence. She articulates her arguments in aclear, accurate, and eloquent manner. The article is well-researchedand presented in a way that makes it easy for the readers tocomprehend. Furthermore, Doane uses sufficient evidence byinvestigating some movies to show how they have misrepresented thewomen despite their claims that they are advancing the cause offeminists.
Doane,Mary A. “: Filming the Female Body.” The NewTalkies, vol. 17, 1981, pp. 22-36.