In 1976, movie critic Laura Mulvey published the essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.” In it, she proposed that movies are written, directed, and shot from the perspective of the patriarchy — or, as she coined it, “the male gaze.” Female characters are eroticized to fulfill male voyeuristic behavior. Male characters are dominant; female characters are dominated. In essence, movies, Mulvey argued, reinforce the accepted gender stereotypes of our society.

Forty-five years later, it would be nice to report that this has changed. But a quick trip to your local multiplex will affirm Mulvey’s thesis rather than challenge it. How many posters do we see with a team of dominant men and a single, shapely woman? The answer is: too many.

At Women’s Voices for Change, we go out of our way (quite literally — sometimes twenty or…

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