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The Other Women's LibGender and Body in Japanese Women's Fiction$
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Julia C. Bullock

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833879

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833879.001.0001

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The Masculine Gaze as Disciplinary Mechanism

The Masculine Gaze as Disciplinary Mechanism

(p.53) Chapter 2 The Masculine Gaze as Disciplinary Mechanism
The Other Women's Lib

Julia C. Bullock

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines how gender norms are enforced and internalized through the oppressive and invasive masculine gaze as a disciplinary mechanism. Masculine gaze is a trope that seems crucial to the process of construction of femininity as Japanese women writers understand it, and the chapter considers its power to discipline women to behave as “appropriately” feminine subjects. It begins with a discussion of Michel Foucault's notion of “panopticism” and Laura Mulvey's views regarding the way classical Hollywood cinema constructs the body of woman as object of the masculine gaze. It then illustrates the relevance of Foucault's and Mulvey's theories to women in postwar Japan by analyzing three works of fiction: a short story each by Kōno Taeko and Takahashi Takako, and a novel by Kurahashi Yumiko. All three texts depict being fixed by the disciplinary gaze as a kind of scopic violation akin to rape. They also highlight the function of “soft power” in enforcing feminine norms.

Keywords:   femininity, gender, discipline, masculine gaze, Japanese women, Kōno Taeko, Takahashi Takako, Kurahashi Yumiko, disciplinary gaze, soft power

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