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Why women go to the movies

by Gertrud Koch
translated by Marc Silberman
from Jump Cut, no. 27, July 1982, pp. 51-53
copyright Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media, 1982, 2005

This article originally appeared in German as "Warum Frauen ins Mnnerkino

gehen: Weibliche Aneigungsweisen in der Filmrezeption und einige ihrer
Voraussetsungen," in Frauen in der Kunst, ed. by Gislind Nabakowski, Helker
Sander, and Peter Gorsen (Frankfurt-am-Main: Suhrkanp Verlag, 1980), vol. 1,
pp. 15-29.

Not only for women but for them in particular going to the movies today
still represents a leisure time activity that is not held in very high social regard.
Women who go to the movies regularly, or even occasionally, report that it is
subject to a sort of prohibition. It is something that women just don't do. Yet
curiously enough, this prohibition is directed, in its aggravated form, primarily
towards women who go to the movies alone. Should they go with a male
companion, then the movies become socially acceptable. Compared to
traditional sanctions against women which prevent them from seeking out
public places (bars, streets, stations), the mechanism prohibiting women from
going to the movies seems to suggest something more. It goes beyond protection
of the private property woman from voyeuristic stares or even from her own
attempts at making contact, which would disrupt the male monopoly. In this
instance the woman is removed from the voyeurism of other men. In contrast,
in the case of the latent movie prohibition, the woman is denied her own
voyeurism. What is improper in going to the movies corresponds to that
repressed, preconscious perversion which patriarchal society allows itself at the

Voyeurism as a stage of early childhood sexuality does not appear only among
boys; it also leaves its traces in female socialization. At the same time, it is
obvious that voyeurism as with most female erotic sensations connected to
the more aggressive components of touch became a taboo for women. Social
history demonstrates that basically women were desired as objects of male
voyeurism, but that they themselves had to conceal their desirability behind
veils, screens, and complex makeup rituals. In the eyes of men, they saw only
themselves. Certainly that helped pin women down to the narcissistic
components in their history of socialization. The more importunate male gaze
flings back voyeurism and is recorded in the exhibitionism of the narcissistic
woman. Before she can challenge the men even if only through stares she is
subordinated by the power of the dominating gaze. She may choose a chaste
look at the ground (the evacuation of expression, denial, in order to elude the
aggression of stares), or she may choose a mask superimposed on the gaze.

One of the most irritating shots in film history draws its ambiguity from the
disruption of the taboo against the female stare. In SUMMER WITH MONIKA
(Ingmar Bergman, 1952) there is a long static shot in which Harriett Andersson
looks directly into the camera. Projected onto the screen, she is staring out at
the viewer. Because her gaze is not focused on some imaginary distant point, she
appears to be looking directly into the viewer's eyes. This shot was perceived at
that time as enormously irritating, and even today it retains much of its
suggestive power. Harriett Andersson's infinitely sad, somewhat disparaging
stare contains the rupture of female sight, which is denied in-sight into the
world. Simultaneously the stare gives off a definite erotic fascination, which is
developed in the context of the role of a working-class vamp. The "lost" gaze
corresponds to the disruption of the taboo against staring: if someone dares to
stare, there is no one left to respond freely. In this one shot alone, the central
theme of the film the unhappiness of love is mirrored in its entirety. The
autonomous, free-staring woman will find no one who can stand her gaze, no
one who will not attempt to interrupt and subordinate her sight.

The vamp represents one of the few female images that is allowed to look at men
freely. Mae West couples her disparaging meat-tester's gaze directly with carnal
motives: after a few knowledgeable glances she taps the men on their rear ends.
In contrast to this is Marilyn Monroe's constantly veiled stare. In HOW TO
MARRY A MILLIONAIRE (J. Negulesco, 1953) she is extremely nearsighted so
that she hardly sees anything. Under these conditions she can move about in a
provokingly narcissistic way without bothering about male stares. Schneider
and Laermann trace the same phenomenon in the social history of the "bella
donna" gaze:

"Drops of Atropin on the eyes expanded the pupil and created the illusion of an
emotional state in which the eyes expand automatically, i.e., erotic excitement.
But the chemical produced an effect which was as blinding as it was sexy . . . .
The woman could no longer see. Her disrupted vision could no longer intercept
the radiance it emitted.(1)

Why, then, do women go to the movies? Why do they go to movies which

primarily show films in which women offer themselves to the voyeurism of
men? I find it too limiting to see here nothing more than a kind of identification
with the male aggressor in order to explain how the tyranny of the male stare
becomes a generalized principle to which the woman is subordinated. For a time
the gaze of men and women is congruent, because their socialization proceeds
together as long as both are centered on the mother as love object. Voyeurism is
anchored in early childhood. Thats a time when sex role identity is still
undefined in the child's consciousness, a time when the child believes it can
change sex as it pleases, a time when sex role identity has not yet been perceived
as a fact of nature. Early childhood sexuality offers a point of departure for the
view, which not only men but also women can activate, an infantile voyeurism
that is woman-centered, rather than being fixated on an object relation only
with the opposite sex. Thus, male anxiety about female voyeurism certainly goes
further than fear of women's appraising gazes at male competition. Indeed it
also contains the fear that the female bisexual component can make women into
competitors in the object realm reserved for men. The open jealousy of men
directed toward the pleasures which women derive from their voyeurism in
dressing each other and combing and painting each other has its roots here.

In this context it becomes meaningful to investigate the preferences of women

filmgoers for particular stars. For example, the success and popularity of
Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo among women may have something to do
with their glamorous bisexuality. And this might similarly explain why men do
not always completely share this pleasure in response to the stereotypes
embodied by the two stars.

Many female stars from Asta Nielsen to Lieselotte Pulver have at one time
or another played a tomboy role. However, few have embodied an androgynous
or transvestite image. Often the tomboy role was no more than a dramatic
accessory, completely external to the figures themselves. Some of the most
impressive examples of aesthetic mystification of sex identity (in film history)
can be found in many of Marlene Dietrich's roles, most directly in BLONDE
VENUS. (Josef von Sternberg, 1932). Here the androgynous mask and the
mother role are coupled in a particularly interesting manner so that the viewer
is offered a direct identification set within the child's role. Dietrich's
transformation from a show star dressed in a tuxedo to a mother singing
lullabies at the cribside is achieved in a single context by means of the charged
emotion and identificatory function of the child.

This context relates back to childhood emotions, which are not yet determined
by knowledge of the division of sex roles and its resulting voyeurism. Thus, it
can also avoid the constant irritations of sexual definition. One can assume that
this diffusion of sexual perception crystalizes not only a means of male but also
of female socialization. At least we know that as far as children up to the age of
three or four years are concerned, they possess no cognitive knowledge about
sex difference, despite parents' attempts to clarify biological and social
differences. Based on this early childhood ambivalence, then, it is possible to
explain the fascination of women for the androgynous image of some female
stars. Of course, it cannot be denied that other connotations are superimposed
on these images, which relate to interests and needs of male socializing
experiences. We will return to this point later in respect to its importance for
female viewers.
At the movies, protected by the dark, women can indulge in the voyeurism that
is otherwise denied to them. Because they seek it at the movies does not mean,
naturally, that they will find what they perhaps unconsciously want to see. First,
they are dependent on the offerings of the film market, which has provided little
alternative for some time now (evidence for this is to be found in the growing
number of "women's cinemas" opening around the country). Numerous films
present female stereotypes which do have an empirical correlative in the
sociohistorical character of woman. Many men have even produced their films
with a special eye toward women viewers. Female preference for melodrama,
comedy, and problem films and her rejection of crime, horror, war, western, and
pornographic films demonstrate that, within male production, women were able
to draw boundaries of acceptability. Besides those genres they preferred, women
also went to other films, either because their men wanted to see them or because
they were curious about what attracted men to certain female stars.(2)

Other than the few psychoanalytically oriented investigations, it is remarkable

that most studies of film reception are based on a role concept defined by social
patterns and normative behavior. Moreover, they ignore entirely both the
historical context in which these roles are grounded, and the idea of an inner
nature comprised of more than the sum of roles and functions ascribed to an
individual in a social system. Yet because the social roles in patriarchal society
are defined exclusively in relation to the necessity of male roles as the
breadwinner and worker, the women's role is viewed only as complementary. It
could never constitute her own history, whereas precisely that would be the key
to woman as subject. Although those studies which pose this question provide
interesting conclusions about sex-specific differences, they are limited by their
insufficient theoretical grounding.

Most studies on film reception pose the question of sex-specific differences very
superficially. Sex does play a considerable role in research techniques. Other
than the age factor, it represents the one truly independent variable for all sorts
of statistical calculations. De facto, however, it remains an unknown factor, for
as a biological, unchanging quantity it is neither grounded theoretically nor
defined by context. Therefore, it cannot come as a surprise that the female sex is
usually described in deviation from the male sex. Men like X and women prefer
Y. A tour through these studies resembles a glance at a nineteenth-century atlas:
blank spaces, unexplored areas that carry the names of the colonizers. The roads
are known, the property rights established. Corresponding to the unspoken
primacy of research interests into the male half of humanity is the mystification
of woman once she has become the center of attention. According to Hegel,
patriarchal society produced woman as the inner enemy, the expression of a
world living according to different principles.(3) As a consequence,
investigations into the female inner nature, into her womanhood, were either
abandoned or reduced to mystified natural categories. For if norms can no
longer be derived biologically, then the social and ethical legitimation of the
whole system of norms is thrown into question. But such questions have always
elicited the hatred of those who have an interest in wielding power with no
questions asked. As for the tendency to mystify woman, Freud has left little
doubt about that:

"A part of what we men call 'the female riddle' derives perhaps from this
expression of bisexuality in female life."(4)

In several studies the psychoanalytic approach has provided an excellent

method for examining the deep layers of film perception by going beyond
learning theory models. The psychoanalytic approach aims at the psychic
appropriation and conversion of what is seen. It elucidates correspondences to
psychological effects in the subject herself/himself. At the same time, this
approach assumes that films, too, are constructed by means of psychological
mechanisms. As a result, films are able to touch analogous structures in the
viewer. Films, therefore, are not so much mere reflections of external or social
nature as they are reflection and product of the inner nature of the subjects:
their wishes, needs, erotic images, drives, etc.

This confusion has been the source of several misconceptions in feminist

discussions. For example, it is too simplistic to assert that films by men reflect
only mens view (more or less pathologically distorted perception of women) or
that they say more about men's inner nature and the viewers in a patriarchal
society than about the women whom they portray as the female viewer. There
has not yet been any explanation for the empirical behavior of women who in
the last fifteen years have abstained from going to the movies. Yet this was a
time during which film offerings indeed fell to a level that exasperated the
preference structures of female viewers. The question why women went to the
movies before and are now beginning to go again has not been answered,
despite the doubtlessly correct implication of patriarchal dominance.

The problem inherent in this question is the idea that the intention of a film can
be directly transferred to the viewer. Such an idea probably derives from the
remnants of everyday behaviorist consciousness. Numerous arguments from
film theory can be cited that contradict this position already at the level of
production. Even in the case of a director like Sternberg, who claimed that the
Dietrich myth was his invention alone, there still remains a connotative margin.
Although the intention of a single man and an authoritarian, patriarchal
production apparatus may define a film, the specific value of every visual art and
expressive form derives from something else. Images never have the clarity of
verbal language, which is able to thrust itself onto conceptual meta-levels and
there ascertain its meaning. The concept table can subsume all existing
examples of tables, but the film image of a table will always be the reproduction
of one existing table. The director Sternberg may intend to create the myth of a
woman in his reproductions of Marlene Dietrich, yet at the same time this myth
contains an existing object of reference. Such concreteness of film images has
consequences for perception. Movies can create myths, stereotypes, and clichs
(images in the psychoanalytic sense), but they are in no way comparable to
conceptual abstractions. They are themselves only reproductions of inner
images, preverbal signs from a nonverbal world that can be made accessible
only through a long process of interpretation. Of course, the impact of these
images is independent of my ability to translate them into verbal expression. I
can respond to film without language.

To see is to recognize," wrote Jean Mitry.(5) Psychoanalytic microanalysis of

seeing and recognizing shows that subjective desires do not move down one-way
paths. Wherever voyeurism is permitted, the subject itself organizes what is to
be recognized. In the process of viewing a film, there is a second film in his/her
mind, so that a film exists in as many variants as there are viewers. This does
not imply that perception is arbitrary. It seems, however, that the margin for
subjective appropriation of visual objects is much larger than individual
interpretations indicate. For they usually are predicated on the process of
translation into verbal language, and they represent experience which has
already congealed in the interpretation.

Possibly contrary to the intentions of their creators, film images lend themselves
to a variety of meanings. This leads to the hypothesis that such images function
for sex-specific perception just as mannerist paintings play with optical
illusions. According to the position of the viewer, different motifs appear and
the picture reveals a new composition or a new meaning. An example of such a
process would be the reinterpretation of the female stereotypes embodied by
Marilyn Monroe in her films. Another would be the rebirth of interest in Mae
West, an actress whom U.S. feminists in the forties criticized intensely, whereas
today they critically accept her autonomous characteristics.

The fact that we lack any reconstructions of historical forms of film

appropriation by women is certainly a sign that we have yet to recognize the
woman as subject. We know that such forms must have existed empirically, but
we do not know how they interacted and what they are today. In the search for
her own identity, a woman almost always draws on the images which male
society has projected of her. Thus, there has been a series of excellent feminist
analyses of female images. They all come to the conclusion that such images are
male reconstructions, projections of male myths about women and/or male
anxieties. Yet there are almost no attempts to comprehend the subjective
meaning of these images for women. Perhaps there is fear of contamination, the
fear of losing oneself once again among the false images if the analytic distance
is relinquished. Consequently, we know little about the empirical effects and
correspondences of these images in women. This suggests more than mere
normative pressure for certain kinds of behavior conveyed by the obvious
message of the films: what behavior is desired or not, how a hairstyle should
look, or how to say goodbye to a husband in the morning. Here the question
arises whether there might not be a female subhistory in the appropriation of
film. It would not be defined solely by the tyranny of the male stare but would
open minimal margins for female projections.

Laura Mulvey has argued in her analysis of psychological structures in

Hollywood narrative film that the image of the star Marlene Dietrich is
grounded in a mechanism which interprets the woman as a castrated man.
Moreover, the mechanism seeks to ameliorate this threatening model of
incomparable punishment by offering, instead of a penis [sic], a fetishizing
idealization to get over the loss. The image of the vamp is explained, then, in
terms of classical psychoanalytical assumptions about the male castration
complex which fetishizes the woman according to male needs. Mulvey does not
pursue the implications of this Freudian assertion for the female viewer. In
Freudian theory, not only the man experiences the woman as castrated but also
the woman experiences herself in this way. That would be one explanation for
why women (at least so-called "phallic women") enjoy fetishized stars just as
much as men do.(6)

It should be noted that Freud's thesis about the female castration complex must
be considered within its proper historical context. This is not an
anthropologically grounded, natural mechanism in female socialization. Rather,
it is a mechanism which is valid for some women, and for those only as long as
phallocratic traits are socially immanent. Thus, the phallus which the star fetish
is to replace retains its power only when connected with social power, as is
generally the case in male societies. The strength of social components in
determining sex-role identity has been sufficiently demonstrated by studies on
cognitive development among children.(7) Ulrike Prokop mentions that it is
possible to find in a reconstruction of this fundamental psychoanalytical
assertion an historical, empirical correlative:

Both sexes choose a false symbol, which in the subconscious is a symbol of

freedom, power and status. Meaningful relations are destroyed because the
male fetishizes this symbol in order to overcome his fear of woman. He scorns
the woman so that he can prove his superiority and integrity, whereas the
woman does not come to terms with her self-depreciation, which is likewise
repressed. Both sexes interact on the basis of the mutual affirmation of this false
identification. Their union leads to subjective suffering. This false identification
resides in the realm of normalcy as long as the capacity to love and to work is
not disrupted. It is a part of institutionalized alienation.(8)

Women's oppression does not begin with their false image. This is one of the
cardinal mistakes of many analyses. They confuse the effect with the cause, and
then they cannot explain why women still want to look at phallocratic films. Not
until we have clarified which needs Hollywood's phallocentric films produce and
which they appear to satisfy can we understand why women too idolize female
stars. That is not to suggest that the reasons for female adulation of male stars
such as Rudolph Valentino or James Dean have been explained.

In their well-known study, Martha Wolfenstein and Nathan Leites dissected the
"good-evil girl syndrome in U.S. film, and they pointed to several other specific
cultural images of women in a comparison of international films.(9) If their
conclusions are correct and there is little reason to doubt it then we find
here a further expression of the needs of the female public. The split into good-
bad, mother-whore, marriage-eroticism, and fidelity-promiscuity (topics which
constitute the themes of many films), this split indeed corresponds to the
psychic split in the woman between the evil, phallic woman and the woman who
accepts her subordinate role as weak but good and family-oriented. Clamped
between these false alternatives, women begin to long for release into a new
identity. The longing existed before the recent women's movement sought to
conceptualize and articulate it in order to end the curse of the mutual
affirmation of this false identification" (Prokop). Yet many films thematize this
disjuncture, and the parts of the split personality are resolved in apparent
harmony. Split erotic needs for unconfirmed sexuality without dependency and
norms can be recognized in stereotypes such as the vamp (who throws herself at
men) and the cold-blooded criminal (who prefers "bad male company"). A
passionate female moviegoer formulated this ambivalence in herself and in film
images in the following way: "I always wanted to live as freely as Pola Negri, but
in fact I was more like Paula Wessely."(10)

The image of the vamp has far more connotations than the fetishized image of
the phallus substitute. For the man she represents the idealized woman, in some
cases even stylized into a phallus. Tailored dresses were exceptionally well
suited for this purpose. They enwrapped the body like a luminous second skin.
In a similar style tight caps often adorned the head to emphasize the rod-like
form. In the fifties artificially shaped breasts were not infrequently modeled like
the glans of an erect penis. To consider just one example, THE LIFE OF MRS.
SKEFFINGTON (V. Sherman, 1944) takes up a type of female narcissism as a
subject, which characterizes the vamp just as well as the above-mentioned
function for male viewers, i.e., phallic women. Bette Davis plays an
exceptionally beautiful young woman who marries an extraordinarily rich older
man. In the course of their marriage, Mrs. Skeffington enjoys an extravagant
social life primarily in the company of young admirers. When she finally
quarrels with her husband, she sinks totally into the attitude of the beautiful
spoiled woman who directs all her time and personality toward the exhibition
and appreciation of her physical beauty. What autonomy she achieves in this
manner is characterized by complete indifference. She has the ability to control
men, but she is in no way erotically dependent on them. She collects them as a
mirror for her beauty. Naturally a serious illness is the punishment for this
woman's narcissism. At the end she returns repentant as an old woman to her
husband, who has become blind.

If we ignore the affirmative ending and the general mediocrity of this not
atypical film, it illustrates how female stereotypes can be found which also offer
gratification to women. And let us not forget that melodrama is one of the
genres preferred by women (this film actually tends toward the "problem film"
with its political themes of anti-Semitism and Jewish persecution in Nazi
Germany). In short, Mrs. Skeffington's narcissism is simply denounced in an
affirmative way and pressed into the scheme of the "good-evil girl" so prevalent
in the U.S. film. Female beauty, the product of concentrating all energies on
exhibitionism and erotic tension within one's own body, is reserved for the
husband as the sole benefactor.

In comparison, Marlene Dietrich develops this component of female eroticism

much more radically. In BLUE ANGEL (Josef von Sternberg, 1930) she presents
an image of autonomy and power which many women yoked into a marriage
must have dreamed about. Lola can sing about men who swarm around her like
moths around a light bulb. She can attract, among others, the absolutely
unerotic Professor Unrat. He, in turn, is prepared to pay the highest price for his
love to her. He offers Lola the greatest narcissistic satisfaction by sacrificing his
social position for her.

In an early essay on film reception Paul G. Cressey defined the possibilities for
projection, introjection, and displacement as modes of identification.(11) We
can assume that these modes correspond to preference structures of female
viewers. This would suggest that particularly the strongest form of
identification, introjection, has become increasingly difficult for women.
Consequently women have abstained from going to the movies to a
proportionately greater extent because projection and displacement (the weaker
forms of gratification) are the only forms left in the declining number of film
productions. In fact precisely those genres are disappearing from among film
offerings which would be most likely to allow introjective identification. When
identification can only be achieved by means of projection and displacement,
interest in going to the movies decreases. Indeed, television also offers these
possibilities. Yet, because of its specific aesthetic and social characteristics, TV
actually tends to inhibit total introjection with all sorts of distracting
mechanisms for the viewers.

Cressey's concepts could be reconstructed psychoanalytically according to a

model developed by Gunther Salje.(12) Salje asserts that the specific effect of
visual media is based on a mode of transference in which preverbal, i.e.,
presymbolic scenes (as in an Ur-scene"), are reactivated in the dimension of
the unconscious. The clichs are representations of early childhood interactions
and forms of experiencing. These are not raised to the level of symbolically
mediated representation, as would be the case in therapeutic transference. This
is the source of that repressive, pre-rational potential of influence in the visual
image: its impact is almost direct. The stronger the transference situation, the
more complete is the identification. Although Saije makes the mode of
transference the condition sine qua non of film and TV viewing, it should be
kept in mind that the intensity of the transference is always dependent on the
transference stimuli contained in the film material itself.

The introjective plunge of total identification in such a transference seems to be

less and less likely because of the film offerings. The lack of identificatory film
images for women corresponds to the absence of women among the moviegoers.
Meanwhile the narcissistic and voyeuristic components in the gratification
structure of the female viewer have broken down. The image of the vamp, of the
autonomous, narcissistic woman has made way for that diffuse female image
which only distinguishes between friend and sex object. This polarization
corresponds only in a rudimentary manner to the ambivalences and role
divisions which constitute womanhood. Thus, the transference situation has
become increasingly difficult for women to produce at the movies. Empty TV
stereotypes, which are open to all types of projection, lend themselves better to
such an end. The absence of women at the movies is part of the identity crisis of
womanhood. The female images in films by men draw only on the repressive
demystification of woman. Her riddle, her bisexuality, becomes no more than a
superficial stimulus in soft-core porno. Grandiose idealization, which, according
to Morgenthaler, describes one trait of the perverse,(13) has become eclipsed in
film images as an authentic aura of female narcissism.


1. Gisela Schneider and Klaus Laermann, "AugenBlicke. ber einige Vorurteile

und Einschrnkungen geschlechtsspezifischer Wahrnehmung," Kursbuch, 49
(1977), p. 54.

2. Cf. statements by interviewees in the Ernest Dichter International, Ltd.,

study, Freizeitbedrfnisse und Prferenzstruktur des Filmpublikums in der
Bundresrepublik," in Dieter Prokop, Materialien zur Theorie des
Films (Munich, 1971), pp. 339-82, and Dieter Prokop, Soziologie des
Films (Neuwied and Berlin, 1970).

3. According to Hegel (Phnomenologie des Geistes, Hamburg, 1952, p. 340),

"Since the community subsists only by breaking in upon family happiness and
dissolving individual self-consciousness into the universal, it creates its own
enemy in what it oppresses and in what is at the same time essential to it
womankind in general."
4. Sigmund Freud, "Neue Folge der Vorlesungen zur Einfhrung in die
Psychoanalyse," in Gesammelte Werke, vol. 15 (Frankfurt/Main, 1967), p. 140
("On Womanhood").

5. Jean Mitry, Esthtique et psychologie du cinma, (Paris, 1963).

6. Translator's note: Laura Mulvey, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,"

in Women and Cinema, ed. Karyn Kay and Gerald Peary (New York: Dutton,
1977), pp. 412-28.

7. Cf. "Analyse der Geschlechtsrollen-Konzepte und Attitden bei Kindern unter

dem Aspekt der kognitiven Entwicklung," in Lawrence Kohlberg, Zur
kognitiven Entwicklung des Kindes (Frankfurt/Main, 1974), pp. 334-471.
Kohlberg asserts that not only does the perception of specific body metaphors
contribute to sex role identity, but also obvious social norms about roles.

8. Ulrike Prokop, Weiblicher Lebenszusammenhang. Von der Beschrnktheit

der Strategien und der Unangemessenheit der Wnsche (Frankfurt/Main,
1976), p. 142 (in excerpt: "Production and the Context of Women's Daily Life,"
in New German Critique, 13 (Winter 1978), 18-33.

9. Martha Wolfenstein and Nathan Leites, Movies: A Psychological

Study (Glencoe, Ill., 1950), pp. 25-46.

10. Cf. Gisela von Wysocki, "Gesprch mit meiner Mutter," frauen und film, 17

11. Paul G. Cressey, "The Motion Picture Experience as Modified Social

Background and Personality," American Sociological Review 3, No. 4 (August
1938), 516-25.

"Whereas projection implies an unwarranted delimitation of the province of the

self, introjection is an 'incorporation of a part of the environment into the
concept of self (J. K. Folson, The Family. New York: 1935).

Displacement, however, denotes a partial substitution of certain personalities

and values of one's own social world for the characters and objects in the screen
milieu while continuing, as oneself, to experience imaginative participation in
the screen action" (p. 520). Pola Negri was the heroine fatale of post-World War
I German cinema, starring in films such as Lubitsch's MADAME DUBARRY;
Paula Wessely was the idealized "little woman" of twenties' entertainment films.

12. Gunther Salje, "Psychoanalytische Aspekte der Film- und Fernsehanalyse,"

in Thomas Leithuser et al., Entwurf zu einer Empirie des
Alltagsbewusstseins (Frankfurt/Main, 1977), pp. 261-87.
"This mode should be considered as a typical transference climate because it is
present in almost all film and television content; only the intensity seems to
differ depending on the material" (p. 279).

13. Fritz Morgenthaler, "Verkehrsformen der Perversion und die Perversion der
Verkehrsformen. Em Blick ber den Zaun der Psychoanalyse," Kursbuch, 49
(1977), 135-51.

"It is a question of access to the grandiose. The glamour of self-estimation

carries with it for everyone traces of that grandiose omnipotence from
childhood Perverse experience represents a quantitative progression and
sexual enhancement of the grandiose. The perverse has much more direct access
to sensuality. However, it leads to a qualitatively different intercourse with
sensuality which is no longer adapted to reality" (p. 136).