Mary Ann Doane on Film

Mary Ann Doane is a well-known feminist film writer who has discussed the meaning of the close-up extensively in the context of Hollywood films written and directed by men. While Laura Mulvey may have been first to designate the term “the male gaze” in cinema, Doane’s contributions to this topic have formed a significant portion of feminist film criticism in this arena. 

In this piece, she critiques the male gaze–the notion that the filmic spectator is implicitly coded as a man, i.e. that “viewer” = male–in the context of Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo from 1985. In the scene discussed (Mia Farrow’s character is watching a film), Doane notes the distance between the female character being represented on screen and the natural assumption of the viewer as a man based on Allen’s direction.