Sound and gender

Authored by: Kathleen M. Vernon

The Routledge Companion to Cinema and Gender

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138924956
eBook ISBN: 9781315684062
Adobe ISBN: 9781317408055


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To the extent that sound has been treated as secondary, subordinate, and supplementary to the visual dimension of cinema, critical consideration of its nature and function has often been rendered in terms of gender. Viewed within the frame of the “ideology of the visible” (Doane 1985a: 55) that has dominated Western epistemology, sound stands opposed to vision in an implicitly gendered hierarchy that associates rational knowledge and the mastery afforded by the distance between viewer and object of vision with the sense of sight, and sound in its elusive yet enveloping presentness with “the emotional and the intuitive” (ibid.). In privileging the role of the visible over the audible and seeing over hearing, mainstream film theory and criticism have left these categories largely intact.

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