Feminist and psychoanalytic analysis of spectatorship.
Feminine Look shows how the Lacanian concept of sexuation makes possible a new account of the relationship among feminism, psychoanalysis, and spectatorship. Whereas previous studies have tended to ask how spectatorship may be influenced by sexual difference, Jennifer Friedlander asks how particular spectatorial encounters may engender different “sexuated” responses. In so doing, she traces a fresh path through Freud’s account of the relationship between visual perception and sexual difference and rereads Freud’s fable of castration anxiety, suggesting that sexual identity arises as a response to the symbolic order’s indifference to the subject’s need for a solid identity. She examines provocative and controversial artistic images by Jamie Wagg, Marcus Harvey, and Sally Mann to demonstrate how images not only create and embody social practices but also precipitate viewer anxieties and pleasures.
“Blending very sophisticated psychoanalytic theory with some novel and yet important visual-media texts, Friedlander makes a strong contribution to the field of feminist visual-media theory and female spectatorship by returning to its origins in Lacanian studies. By reinvestigating the role Lacan played in those studies—vis-à-vis Freud, Saussure, and Barthes—she creates a playful new space for contemplating the gendered look. She also offers a theoretical account of how contemporary photography and other technological ‘gaze’ media represent gendered images through unconscious and linguistic devices.” — Laura Hinton, author of The Perverse Gaze of Sympathy: Sadomasochistic Sentiments from Clarissa to Rescue 911
Jennifer Friedlander is Edgar E. and Elizabeth S. Pankey Professor of Media Studies and Assistant Professor of Art History at Pomona College.
Table Of Contents
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
1. Overlooking the Real in Camera Lucida
2. The Accident That Will Have Happened
Barthes, Kertész, and the Punctum
3. Film Theory, Sexual In-Difference, and Lacan’s Tale of Two Toilets
4. How Should a Woman Look?
Scopic Strategies for Sexuated Subjects
5. Opening Up to the Punctum in Jamie Wagg’s History Painting: Shopping Mall
6. Myra, Myra On the Wall, Who’s the Scariest of Them All?
Sensation and the Studium
7. Framing the Child in Sally Mann’s Photographs
CONCLUSION: Film Theory for Post-Theory