5. Being objectified


The Gaze – given and received


“Imagine the terror felt by the child who has come to understand through repeated punishments that one’s gaze can be dangerous. The child who has learned so well to look the other way when necessary.  Yet, when punished, the child is told by the parents, ‘Look at me when I talk to you’.  Only, the child is afraid to look.  Afraid to look but fascinated by the gaze.  There is power in looking.”


bell hooks, in ‘The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators’, in Thornham, S (1999) Feminist Film Theory: A Reader, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1999 pp.115-131, p115.