Gendered glances : the male gaze(s) in Victorian English literature
Thesis (M.A.)--Georgetown University, 2009.; Includes bibliographical references. The Victorian male gaze is typically understood in feminist criticism as the subjugation of the anti-male (the woman) and her recasting as an object for male dominance. The current theorization of the male gaze is problematic because it seems at once both too generic and too narrow. It is too narrow because it limits all gazes into two categories (objectifying and demystifying in order to objectify) and one goal (domination); it is generic because its function as the sole definition of all gazes forces certain kinds of looking into a binary of dominance and repression.; In my research, I worked with feminist criticism as well as three Victorian texts: George Eliot's Daniel Deronda, Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, and Henry James' Portrait of a Lady. By detaching the gaze from the notion of masculine dominance, I have uncovered the possibility for alternative representations of the gaze as utilized by the feminized man and the masculine woman. I assert that the gaze can function to dominate, to preserve the self in society, to question and imagine, or to embody social consciousness, as the desire that fuels the gaze extends to the idea of one's construction--not as a man, woman, feminized man, or masculine female, but as an androgynous human.
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