Cathy Yan Explains Why ‘Birds Of Prey’ Rejects The Male Gaze

Margot Robbie Harley Quinn Birds of Prey James Gunn The Suicide Squad CinemaScore Cathy Yan coronavirus Christina Hodson David Ayer Paul Dini

Birds of Prey director Cathy Yan explained the importance of the DC film rejecting the male gaze.

The Hollywood landscape continues to change with a push for more diversity and representation in-front-of and behind-the-camera. By doing this, more voices and unique stories can be shared. A different point of view can also show a visual language audiences aren’t used to. For instance, the male gaze is a theory on how a straight, male directors will often depict women as sexual objects on film.

Cathy Yan was the second female to direct a DCEU movie and the first to direct a female-centric team up. While Birds of Prey does deals with issues like misogyny, the film never overly-sexualizes the female characters. Cathy Yan spoke with The New York Times about avoiding the male gaze in Birds of Prey:

“We were pretty conscious not to muddy what the scene was meant to be about, by not offering anything remotely vulnerable or titillating. There are choices like that which felt very deliberate; we were making sure we were protecting our female actors, even in a scene that was about humiliation. It was less, ‘I’m going to unpack and reject the male gaze of every director who’s come before me’ and more of an unconscious, innate reaction about what feels right. That’s where you tell the story. ‘Look up here! I’m talking to you!’”

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Here is the official synopsis for Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey:

“You ever hear the one about the cop, the songbird, the psycho and the mafia princess? Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is a twisted tale told by Harley herself, as only Harley can tell it. When Gotham’s most nefariously narcissistic villain, Roman Sionis, and his zealous right-hand, Zsasz, put a target on a young girl named Cass, the city is turned upside down looking for her. Harley, Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya’s paths collide, and the unlikely foursome have no choice but to team up to take Roman down.”

Directed by Cathy Yan from a script penned by Bumblebee writer Christina Hodson, Birds of Prey stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary, Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain, Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya, Chris Messina as Victor Zsasz, Ewan McGregor as Black Mask, and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. Ali Wong, Robert Catrini, and Michael Masini have also been cast in undisclosed roles.

Birds of Prey is now playing in theaters.

Source: The New York Times

Ryden Scarnato

Ryden Scarnato

Ryden's affection for all things DC, Marvel, and Star Wars has led him to entertainment journalism at Heroic Hollywood as a News Editor.