When the cinema was first introduced it was viewed as a space in which one could lose themselves. As Mulvey states, “I forgot who I am and where I was” (10). It was a place in which one could forget about who they were in order to live through someone else, go places they’d never be able to go, do things they’d never be able to do, live lives they’d never be able to live. Mulvey introduces the idea of the child looking at himself in the mirror and suggests,
“Recognition is thus overlaid with misrecognition: the image recognized is conceived as the reflected body of the self, but its misrecognition as superior projects this body outside itself as an ideal ego, the alienated subject, which, re-introduced as an ego ideal, gives rise to the future generation of identification with others” (10).
Using this quote and the fact that cinema is a place in which one loses themselves, one may suggest that although the viewer identifies with the actors in the cinema, this is cause for more bad than good. Rather than identify with the person on screen as Mulvey suggests, or view them as a object from which they gain sexual pleasure (10), I think Mulvey makes no mention of the desire to be the person on the screen. Especially today, this concept of desiring to be an actor, to derive pleasure from being looked at rather than looking, is prevalent. Today’s generation takes the narcissism that Mulvey suggests when she speaks of identifying themselves as the actor on the screen one step further and refuses to be content with simply living vicariously through the actor. They want to be the actors. They want to live those lives, do those things, and go to those places. Unlike those who first viewed cinema and were content with holding the actors on the screen as ideals, those who were content with understanding that they’d never live those lives, today they’ve become greedy, desiring to replace those who enjoy the true narcissism of being looked at.
And in addition to this, what about what Mulvey says about the male on the screen, who commands both what it means to be the subject and who is in control of the woman on screen who is the object: he how both looks and is looked at, he who has the best of both worlds, both sexual voyeur and narcissist?