October 19, 2016
‘Now that I’ve binge-watched Bill I’m going to pretend to be him’
James Altucher can be a pain, and I’m not one of those Bill Murray nuts.
In fact, I’m old and cynical enough to worry that Murray will turn out to be some kind of Bill Cosby guy (rather than the Gene Wilder guy everyone thinks/says/hopes).
Long ago, when I was in film school, I was introduced to feminist film theory, particularly the work of Laura Mulvey, who innovated the concept of the male gaze, or the visual objectification of women in the eye of the male beholder. I was conflicted by the work of Mulvey, and the first generation of feminist film critics who followed her lead, because they didn’t seem to like the movies. In class, we were required to look critically at classic Hollywood movies for their conservative ideology and patriarchal perspective, with the unspoken assumption that we would ultimately reject the films from the Golden Age. The problem was that the grad students in my circle were all diehard movie-lovers. We spent endless evenings at the Varsity repertory theater watching double features of old movies. We regularly attended the college film series on the weekends and went to contemporary films at least once a week. As a young woman, I felt I should embrace a feminist perspective on films, but I was a cinephile first. Movies came before politics, religion, or boyfriends–always.
When I first read From Reverence to Rape, I was relieved that Molly Haskell also admitted movies were her “first allegiance,” and that the theory of the male gaze “seemed too monolithic, a narrow one-way street, allowing no room for the pleasure women take in looking and being seen.”