Unruly Woman Essay

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Throughout the history of cinema, men have been the focal point of attention while the woman was always used as nothing but eye candy. Melissa McCarthy is living proof that women are no longer taking a back seat to men in the entertainment industry. Throughout her career, McCarthy has adopted the persona of an unruly woman. Kathleen Rowe, author of The Unruly Woman: Gender and the Genres of Laughter, described the traits of an unruly woman as, “often a voluptuous, noisy, joke-making rebel”. Because McCarthy has received critical acclaim for her work, you can say that she is an unruly woman who is changing the face of comedy. Laura Madeline Wiseman’s essay on the unruly woman “Carnivalesque and Bifurcated Labels: Writing the Tale” explains…show more content…
There is no in-between, and one woman can certainly not be both. Harry M. Benshoff’s America On Film noted that, “Cinema is yet another arm of the mass media that creates idealized visual images of women” (232). As an unruly woman, McCarthy finds a way to look past being looked on as just another pretty face. Take her character in The Heat for example, Detective Shannon Mullins, is crude, loud and abrasive, and we all love her for it. Not only does McCarthy not once wear makeup in The Heat, she also dresses in baggy attire. She’s one of the boys. Hollywood’s beauty standards can not touch an unruly woman, nor can the constant pressure to be seen as the ultimate sex symbol. Mulvey pointed out that, “in Hollywood films, a woman’s power is associated with her ability to use her sexual allure to arrest the narrative action” (237). To an actress like Melissa McCarthy, her power comes from the ability to make the audience laugh. If the audience is laughing and enjoying what is happening on the big screen, then they have done their…show more content…
For a woman to step foot into a male dominated genre such as comedy can put an immense amount of pressure on her shoulders, not to mention the risk of failing. Not only do women in comedy have to deal with pressure from the industry, as previously mentioned, are also burdened with the judgement of their male peers. Comedian Jerry Lewis once expressed his discontent with female comedians stating, “he has trouble with the notion of would-be mothers as comedians” (Coyle). Although the comment was originally said in 1998, Lewis didn’t seem to change his mind when asked about it in 2013 at a film festival. It’s eerie to think some men see women as nothing but birthing machines. Tina Fey, another successful unruly woman, responded to a question about how she feels about Lewis’ comment in her New York Times bestseller,

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