In regards’ to female spectatorship, Hansen’s outlines Rudolph Valentino as a historically and theoretically important case. Regardless of a film audience’s actual composition, women were being singled out as a socially and economically powerful group. Female spectators were being directly addressed through the carefully constructed and maintained persona of Rudolph Valentino. This chiseling of character is perpetuated by the Hollywood star machine which creates more than just admirable stars but a complete package of desire as in Valentino’s case. The manufactured persona was catering, in a direct way, to female desire.

The First World War gave women a chance to break from their traditionally accepted roles as mothers and wives. An economic potential was born when women entered the work force, supplementing the open positions left by men who had been drafted to serve. This cultural shift opened the economic power attainable by women and hence inspired the monetary exploitations aimed directly at profiting from them. Essentially women were being integrated into society economically which in turn exposed them to consumer culture that was aimed at recognizing the female experience as well as her needs and desires.

Hansen argues that Valentino’s appeal is reliant on the way he is portrayed as male, in full control of the look while combining the effeminate attributes of being looked at. Hence in order to understand Rudolph Valentino it is important to note the way that Valentino threatened the patriarchal mode of society. By inviting female spectatorship and catering to it Valentino, loses his male dominance of looking but gains female characteristics of spectacle.

A contemporary male film star like Brad Pitt embodies the desire of female spectatorship. Although his fame and popularity are heavily reliant on his androgynous physical features he is not limited by weak range of acting abilities. Furthermore the film content of his movies is not exclusively devoted to weak narrative. However much like Hansen’s descriptions many of Pitt’s films rely on costumes and disguises. For instance the film Troy celebrates the rituals of his dressing and undressing which cause voyeuristic tendencies in female spectatorship. Although many of his films are not specifically intended to target women there is a cultural presence he evokes among female spectators. Brad Pitt is however a reminder of the emancipated woman submerged in consumer culture that inspires female desires outside of motherhood and family and directs them towards female sexual reciprocity.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Spam prevention powered by Akismet

Skip to toolbar