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The Example of Woman Sexual Objectification in The Film 'Pretty Woman'

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The practice of sexual manipulation within cinema remains still regarded in most modern Hollywood roles assigned to women. The concept that women emerge to be portrayed in films as sexual items are most usefully explained in the essay ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ by the feminist theoriser Laura Mulvey. For this purpose, to reveal the understanding of the role of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, Vivian Ward, is defined as a sex symbol. Using Mulvey’s psychodynamic approach of visual pleasures and the dominant male gaze.

Cinema gives a variety of potential pleasures defined by the theorist, such as scopophilia and ego impulse. Scopophilia rises out from the satisfaction of using other individuals by apprehension as a tool of sexual arousal. Furthermore, ego impulse is developed via narcissism and the ego’s reality, which arises through familiarity with the picture depicted. Mulvey also manifests the concept of the male gaze that sustains the belief that the delight of gazing has been divided into active male and inactive females. The male gaze inflicts its imagination on the female character in cinemas, the woman is to remain stared upon, whereas the male stares at her as an item of lust. She is sexually objectified by situations in which the female is to be viewed by the male. In this argument, she progresses much further to suggest that the male gaze is exhibited in three forms such as the man behind the camera, the male characters in the cinema, and the male onlookers in the crowd.

Although we recognise what is meant by women’s sexual objectification in cinemas, by presenting several examples, I will continue to explain how this is depicted in Pretty Women. Edward accompanies Vivian back into his hotel suite at the opening of the film as their initial evening together. She is enjoying a film while he observes her intimately from a chair. He stares at her if she’s a thing of lust throughout the following scenes, though Vivian does not grasp that she’s stared at. This glimpse is often constructed by off-camera techniques explicitly sharing the body of Vivian entirely, while the lens solely concentrates upon the face of Edward. This is a prime example of the case among productive males and inactive females. Vivian is evermore glanced at, though Edward is the only person looking at her. While inspecting the picture with the male gaze theory in mind, we can mention that the male performer’s position, organised by the visual techniques, is being employed to construct a male gaze.

A further example seems to be the scene whereby Vivian while deciding to shower, is humming. Edward, who perhaps drops by to have a glimpse at what she is doing, listens to her. The male gaze is fairly equal to the gaze in the picture described previously. A close up of Edward’s face is obtained by the camera, whereas Vivian’s entire body is portrayed.

Once again, the male actor’s view is influential in the direction the public experience the film. The female actress, whereas the male is watching also growing interested, is inactive and stared at.

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The Example of Woman Sexual Objectification in the Film ‘Pretty Woman’. (2022, July 07). GradesFixer. Retrieved August 16, 2022, from
“The Example of Woman Sexual Objectification in the Film ‘Pretty Woman’.” GradesFixer, 07 Jul. 2022,
The Example of Woman Sexual Objectification in the Film ‘Pretty Woman’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 16 Aug. 2022].
The Example of Woman Sexual Objectification in the Film ‘Pretty Woman’ [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Jul 07 [cited 2022 Aug 16]. Available from:
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