The Peepshow and the Voyeuse: Colette’s Challenge to the Male Gaze
The peepshow devise and scopophilia traditionnally reinstate heteropatriarchal norms by endorsing the unequal relationship between a controlling male viewer and an objectified beheld female. Drawing from Laura Mulvey’s 1975 essay and theories on scopophilia and gender and visual studies, this article analyses Colette’s hybrid novel The Pure and the Impure (1932) and argues that it constitutes both an avant-garde denunciation of the patriarchal Gaze and a statement against heteronormativity. The article concludes that in Colette’s peep booth, binaries are depolarised and the traditionally pure becomes impure and vice versa. Standing against mainstream representations of women as passive visual and sexual objects, Colette’s pioneer text not only elaborates a modern reflection on gender and sexual practices, but also constitutes one of the first stances against the dominantly phallic representation of the Gaze to be found in French literature.
Citation : Krauthaker, M. (2014) The Peepshow and the Voyeuse: Colette’s Challenge to the Male Gaze. In: Padva, G. and Buckweitz, N. (Eds.) Sensational Pleasures in Cinema, Literature and Visual Culture, London: Palgrave-MacMillan, pp. 50-61.
ISSN : 9781137363633
Research Institute : Institute of English
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- School of Humanities