Marlene Dietrich Madonna and the Male Gaze

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Marlene Dietrich, Madonna, and the Male Gaze
in Blonde Venus and Desperately Seeking for Susan
As audiences, we subconsciously identify the male protagonists and take female as spectacle during the film watching, due to the social function of narrative films. (Turner 72)1 Thus feminists have been slashing the objection of female body in ?§male gaze? in the narrative films over the decades.Male gaze is in term of the fetishistic scopophilia and sadistic voyeurism.Fetishistic scopophilia deals with male visual control over females for the aesthetic presentation, which influence the presence of female body in films.And sadistic voyeurism is the erotic gaze in pains, which shapes the female characterization in films.Thus, the female characters in narrative films share the common pattern ?? beautiful and fragile, in other words, not intellectual and dependent on men.
Nevertheless, Marlene Dietrich in Blonde Venus and Madonna in Desperately Seeking for Susan smash this pattern.They breaks the rulefirst by being the leading characters in films and such concentration of the female protagonist also means the depiction of male as peripheral to the plot. ( Turner 171)2Another breaking-rule is their characterization different from the conventional female role.Marlene in the Blonde Venus as Helen Jones is intellectual and capable of men?s role of raising a family and Madonna?s role, Susan, ?§plays? with men, mentioned by Jimmy, Susan?s boyfriend. But the most alienated from the conventional female role in films is in their way of performing.And even though they all pose some challenge to male gaze, their ways of role-playing are at opposite poles.
Their role-playing can discuss from the three elements to shape their characters, camera movement, mise-en-scene and the performance of star.
The camera always shoots Marlene from a relative low angle when she?s with other male characters. …