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The Female Gaze in Real Women Have Curves (2002)

The female gaze has elicited much debate in the recent past with people arguing whether it really exists. However, extensive research on the topic reveals that the female gaze is evident in the contemporary culture especially in films. Thus, the female gaze can be considered as the objectification of women. It is further described as the reducing of women to mere parts and equating them with objects, which can be displayed or possessed like prizes. A thorough exploration of movies reveals that objectification of women that is usually depicted in two forms, namely women as motivation and women as decoration (Fox-Kales 2). For instance, women are utilized in movies as the motivation of the protagonist. In terms of decoration, women have been used in advertisements to sell stuff of all kinds. In the movie Real Women Have Curves, the issue of the female gaze has been depicted several times and, in most cases, it was centered on Ana Garcia who is the protagonist in the movie. This essay explores the female gaze in the play Real Women Have Curves by Patricia Cardoso.

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The play Real Women Have Curves touches on essential issues impinging on women. The film consistently focuses on Ana who appears as the star of the movie and has been used to depict how a woman is viewed in the society. From the play, it can be deducted that Ana abounds as an adolescent girl that is focused to excel in her studies (Ferrera). However, the society has a different opinion regarding girls as it views them as objects of beauty that should focus on the latter instead of their education in order for their husbands to take care of them economically. Notably, women are depicted as not fit to continue their studies. For instance, this is evident from the soap opera that Ana’s mother watches (Ferrera). Arguably, this portrays the female gaze considering that the soap opera watched by Ana’s mother is directed at women and cultivates a stereotyped outlook of the women’s lives and their challenges.

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The female gaze is also evident in the play when Ana’s teacher visits their home to inform her parents that she has been accepted to the Columbia University. Ana’s father accepts the news, but her mother is against her joining the university, because during her prime years, she started working at the tender age of 13 years and feels that Ana should do the same. Additionally, Ana’s mother informs the father that she can also teach Ana how to take care of her husband and kids, something that she cannot be offered in school (Ferrera). The female gaze is depicted in this scene, because it appears that the society is against women advancing their education and advocates for them to work in semi-skilled occupations as they anticipate marriage. There is an insinuation that advanced education is meant for men only, which is perceived as the female gaze.

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Finally, the female gaze is also depicted at the sweat-shop when Ana’s mother tries to stop her from taking off her clothes because of heat. The point is that she is too conservative and does not approve when women are exposing their bodies. Additionally, in the play, Ana’s mother is not impressed with Ana and her sister’s weight. She is of the opinion that they should lose weight if they want to get suitors (Ferrera). This abounds as the female gaze, because the society views women as objects of beauty. It can be argued that women should value their physical beauty above anything else for them to get married.

In conclusion, the female gaze implies the objectification of women as decoration and motivation. In the play Real Women Have Curves, the female gaze is depicted in various scenarios. Firstly, it is evident when Ana’s mother is against her continuing her education. Secondly, it is seen through the soap opera watched by Ana’s mother whereby women appear as objects of beauty supported by their husbands. Lastly, the female gaze is evident in Ana’s mother’s conservativeness when she does not want her to take off her cloth because of heat. All these instances objectify women in one way or the other.

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