This term translates literally as the love of looking. In film criticism, the term is often used by feminist theorists in relation to the predominantly male gaze of Hollywood cinema. Under the male gaze, the female form is objectified. This is in opposition to the way males (and females who are not subjected to the male gaze) are positioned as subjects with their own voice and subjectivity. The term, as used in feminist film criticism, is heavily influenced by both Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis. Both Carol Clover and Laura Mulvey discuss scopophilia in detail in their feminist critiques of films.

The term scopophilia is also used when discussing aural and visual modes in cinema, and the relationship/importance of sound vs image.

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