Laura Mulvey

Laura Mulvey

Actor, Director, Writer, Producer


Laura Mulvey is an acclaimed English feminist film theorist, who has made significant contributions to the discipline of film studies. She is best known for her controversial 1975 essay, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema," which introduced the concept of the male gaze.

Mulvey was born in 1941 and raised in London. She attended St. Paul's Girls' School and later studied English at St. Anne's College, Oxford. After graduating, Mulvey spent several years working as a film editor and programmer in London and New York, before returning to England and enrolling in the Royal College of Art, where she received her PhD in 1975.

Mulvey's greatest contribution to film studies is her groundbreaking essay, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema," in which she argues that the traditional Hollywood narrative film caters to the male gaze. Mulvey claims that traditional Hollywood films are structured to provide male viewers with a pleasurable viewing experience by positioning them as the "active" viewer while relegating women to the role of "passive" objects. She further argues that this positioning of women as objects, serves to reinforce traditional gender roles and stereotypes.

Mulvey's essay sparked a massive debate within the field of film studies and continues to be the subject of much discussion and debate. Her work has been influential in the development of many other feminist theories of film, including those of bell hooks, Judith Butler, and Trinh T. Minh-ha.

In addition to her work on the male gaze, Mulvey has also written extensively on the representation of women in film, as well as the ideological implications of cinema. She has published numerous books and articles, including her most recent work, Cinema, Censorship and Sexuality (2009).

Mulvey has taught at numerous universities, including the University of London, the University of California, and the University of Edinburgh. She is currently the professor emerita of film and media studies at Birkbeck, University of London.

Mulvey's work has been recognized and honored with numerous awards and honors, including an Honorary Fellowship from the British Film Institute (2003), and the Women in Film and Television Lifetime Achievement Award (2006). She is also an honorary member of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.