How does Hitchcock, through the use cinematic techniques and quotes, address gender roles?

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Rear Window, released in 1954, is probably the best film to analyse Hitchcock’s portrayal of gender roles in his films. The film follows Jeff, the main protagonist , who has suffered a broken leg. As a result, his sole source of entertainment is to spy on his neighbors. Through the...

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Rear Window, released in 1954, is probably the best film to analyse Hitchcock’s portrayal of gender roles in his films. The film follows Jeff, the main protagonist, who has suffered a broken leg. As a result, his sole source of entertainment is to spy on his neighbors. Through the character of Jeff’s girlfriend Lisa, we can see how Hitchcock views the role of women. To him, they are acting almost as mothers for their male partners. Lisa, for example, cares for Jeff, who seems to be incapable of looking after himself. Like a mother, Lisa brings him food and looks after him. Men, on the other hand, are portrayed as helpless and needing help. Jeff’s broken leg in the film can be seen as a metaphor for this helplessness. As Jeff states: “when they are in trouble… it’s always their girl Friday that gets them out of it.”

Furthermore, through the cinematography in this film we can notice how Hitchcock sees women mainly as sexual objects, designed to please men. We can see this in the way one of Jeff’s female neighbors is filmed in the film: we see her getting changed and in her underwear, filmed in a way that is clearly intended to appeal to a male audience. This is further underlined by Jeff referring to her as “Miss Torso.”

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