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Planning my “Comics and the Male Gaze” lecture



It’s another one of those times where I had a snazzy idea for teaching a concept in my comics class and realized “hey, you know what would be fun? Why don’t I outsource my materials gathering to the internet?” And really, I don’t have a good reason. In fact it’s worked really well in the past. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Tomorrow’s lesson is all about how “the male gaze” works in comics using Laura Mulvey‘s “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” essay as a basis. If you’ve never read it, you should. It happens to be one of my favorite academic essays ever. I have a snazzy keynote presentation and everything. But I don’t really need you to read it in order to help me here.

So what I’m looking for is: give me your favorite images that illustrate what you see as “the male gaze” in comics. Tell me why. I’m basically looking for some stuff that I can toss up on the projector and have my students analyze tomorrow in class.

For bonus points, you can also feel free to toss up some that you think rather well illustrate the concept of the female gaze or the queer gaze, though I’m not sure I’m going to actually get to that tomorrow. We’re starting with some really basic stuff where I break down Mulvey’s argument for them with film and then move into adapting it to how we view comics. The kids have already been assigned to find some on their own.

I assume a lot of the examples people are going to find are going to be superhero(ine) pics, but no, they don’t have to be. Linked below are some images I’m thinking about. I’d love to know which ones you like and don’t and any other suggestions that you think would be good.

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