A Rough Night for Comedy: The Female Gaze Through the Feminist Carnivalesque
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This paper explores the female gaze in ROUGH NIGHT through a psychoanalysis approach and the characteristics of the feminist carnivalesque. Because the male gaze sexualises and objectifies women’s bodies for the pleasure of men, it is a phenomenon in films that is highly criticized by feminists and therefore this paper uses the male gaze to look at the construction of a female gaze. The film ROUGH NIGHT is set in a carnivalesque setting that is established in the first scene of the film and it shines through the rest of the film. This carnivalesque setting allows the film to challenge certain norms and values by emphasizing these issues through joking. The feminist carnivalesque characteristics that are discussed in this paper are loud laughter, grotesque corporeality, inappropriate exhibitionism, and anti-classical displays of femininity. For this analysis it is interesting to look at the cosmetic gaze in a way that the female body needs constant improvement. Hence, to look at the way the female gaze points out the female bodily (im)perfections. The genre of female friendship also plays an important role in female identification, because female behaviour towards each other in film mirrors female relationships of female spectators. The ‘ideal self’ in ROUGH NIGHT represents itself as a woman who is allowed to be imperfect and has the right to fight for her imperfect self. The female gaze in ROUGH NIGHT seems in some aspects to indeed be the reverse of the male gaze. However, it is more than that, because it is also redefining what the role of women in comedy should be.