10. Scopophilia and the Manufacture of “Good” Religion
Hijacked - A Critical Treatment of the Public Rhetoric of Good and Bad Religion - Leslie Dorrough Smith
Leslie Dorrough Smith [+]
This essay analyses Believer by drawing on the work of feminist film theorist Laura Mulvey. In the 1970s, Mulvey used the term “scopophilia” to describe how filmmakers construct visually pleasing experiences for heterosexual men by framing images of women in certain ways that result in their sexual objectification. After an introduction to Mulvey’s core arguments, this perspective is applied to Aslan’s production. The essay argues that part of the scopophilia involved in watching shows like Believer (and people like Aslan, more specifically) comes not from being exposed to something new, but in the feelings of control and domestication that the audience can vicariously assert as they imagine Aslan as the show’s protagonist.