Female Spectators

Female Spectators:Looking at Film and Television

  • Paperback

Feminist thinking on cinema has been dominated for some time by approaches which emphasise how meanings are produced In finis, and how this process both hinges on sexual difference and privileges the masculine. It pas been suggested, for example. that the fascination and pleasure of cinema for the spectator lies in the appeal of this highly visual medium to voyeurism, an essentially male or 'masculine' form of looking.

How then. to account for the fact that women enjoy watching films, and indeed that women have traditionally formed the majority in cinema audiences? Can there be such a thing as a female or feminine look in cinema? Does television organise looking in terms of sexual difference? And are female spectators all alike: what is the significance of differences between women - differences of class of race, of generation, for example?

The essays in this new collection have been written by feminist film-makers and theorists on both sides of the Atlantic. Together they provide a 'state-of-the-art' picture of feminist film criticism in the 1980s, perceptive readings of individual films and TV programmes, and insights from women in the business of making films today.

Contributors: Linda Williams. Jeanne Allen, Michelle Citron, Christine Gledhill. Jacqueline Bobo. Jackie Byers, E. Ann Kaplan, Allie Sharon Larkin and Teresa de Lauretis


  • The nine pieces in Female Spectators are strong and compelling ... an excellent and timely collection.