MINUTES 20.03.19

-changed the question
-shared idea of masculinity?
-how do your slides contribute to the overall argument of the presentation?
-bring it back o the initial question
-20 minute presentation 10 minute q&a

-are you able to justify it as an interdisciplinary problem?
-its good to mention interdisciplinarity
-reflect on the interdisciplinary aspect in the end (in the future recommendations bit)
-how did it being interdisciplinary help your research

-make sure we stick to the time
-how do we synthesise? Ultimately our findings are “……..”

-what do we mean by mainstream
-define mainstream in the introduction

-who will answer what question

-re:blog, reflection on where you are now compared to the beginning, reflection on how the topic has changed

The Male Gaze of Hollywood Cinema: Objectifying Women & Empowering Men?

For our presentation, I am looking at how media (and film especially) represent male mental health. For this, I chose two extremes: mainstream Hollywood and films that are specifically on mental health.

For one aspect of our presentation, I am looking at how men are represented in Hollywood cinema, from their emotions to the power they are given on screen. This made me think of Laura Mulvey’s iconic 1999 text Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. In this text through the use of Freud’s psychoanalysis, she explores the way women are filmed in the classic Hollywood cinema of the 50s, the Golden Age.

The male gaze is a concept that focuses on the objectification of women on screen, it suggests a sexualised way of looking that empowers men and objectifies women. In the male gaze, the woman is visually positioned as an “object” of heterosexual male desire. Her feelings, thoughts and her own sexual drives are less important than her being “framed” by male desire. Although sometimes described as the ‘male gaze’, Mulvey’s concept is more accurately described as a heterosexual, masculine gaze. Therefore from a male perspective looking at the female object.

Mulvey exemplifies this with the portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in the River of No Return, particularly in the scene where she is singing with men surrounding her. In this scene, she is represented as both the object of pleasure as well as the object of entertainment. The scene starts with a close up of her legs and rests there for a while before showing us her face. This symbolises her purpose in this film: to be a sexual object of the male gaze.

So how does this relate to male mental health?

With these kinds of Hollywood films that objectify women, they also empower men and give them an on-screen power that does not allow them to show emotion or be ‘weak’. Men, according to Hollywood, have all the answers, they never crack or show weakness. I believe that just like reality shaping the media, the media has a big influence on men growing up thinking that that is how they should act. It makes them idolise these powerful male characters and believe that that is how masculinity should be.

A couple of films that have a strong male gaze:

  • Vertigo
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice
  • Bananas
  • American Hustle
  • Charlie’s Angels
  • River of No Return
  • Carrie
  • Most James Bond films



  • Presentation Tuesday March 26th 8.50 pm (it will be filmed)
  • Form for the survey, due on Friday 8th of February
    • Ideally get it in for Tuesday the 5th 5pm so that Conor can sort his side of it by the deadline
  • Our Idea
    • Exhibition should ideally be done by Week 8 to be able to edit the potential footage from it
  • Uncertainty
    • Social approach to men’s mental health, contemporary ideas of masculinity
    • What are the grounds of gender stereotypes?
    • The grounds are uncertain
    • Illusory nature of stereotype
    • The asymmetry between representation and stereotypes
    • Concrete
  • Nature/culture
    • sex/gender
      • Biological, can’t be changed
      • “How you feel”, cultural, more open
    • Therefore: Sex relates to the way you’re expected to behave
  • Background Questions
    • What is a stereotype?
    • What is the understanding of maleness? What do you mean about men?
    • What evidence suggests a crisis in this regard?
    • What is boys don’t cry other than a slogan?
  • Evidence Ideas For the Empirical Basis
    • Male suicides
    • Mental health services
  • Research Question Ideas
    • To what extent do gender stereotypes inform policy formulation processes?
    • How does the institutionalisation of gender stereotypes through adhering policies impact the mental health of those struggling to find their identity within the spectrum spanning masculinity and femininity?
    • To what extent are the stereotypes surrounding male mental health limiting men from expressing their emotions?
      • Needs the element of Uncertainty in it
      • Mention KCL students
  • The Student Union
    • Public reference for the data?
    • Kings Inclusion Policy
    • Diversity
  • Until next week
    • Narrow down the question
      • Something around the lines of what Mina said, but include Uncertainty, KCL and some literature to follow
    • Need to come up with a hypothesis
    • Do the data form
    • Get ready to design the experience