So, I saw Justice League this afternoon, and I could get into an examination of the issues that have been discussed in numerous critical reviews already – shoddy CGI, thin plot, forgettable villain, not enough time to get to know characters that haven’t been previously introduced before throwing them onto a team – but that would just be a retread. Instead, I want to focus my post-movie thoughts on one aspect in particular: the obvious presence of the male gaze.
The male gaze in superhero film, in film in general, is nothing new; because the majority of movies have been, and are still, directed by men, this is something that has been around since the dawn of cinema. It’s so ubiquitous, in fact, that the average moviegoer thinks nothing of it. Having the camera linger on a woman’s butt or breasts is just accepted, and a woman’s… woman-ness is commonly the primary attribute of her character.
I’m not here to claim that I’ve made some profound observation about the way that women are typically treated in film for the first time. I’m here to talk about how coming on the heels of this year’s Wonder Woman (directed by Patty Jenkins), the contrast is stark.