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A Rhetorical Criticism of "Fleabag": Tragicomedy and What it Means to be a Feminist

  • White, Morgan Ashley
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2024
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This essay conducts a rhetorical criticism of the television series Fleabag, analyzing how creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge uses tragicomedy to dismantle the notion that there is one right way to be a feminist. After providing background on Waller-Bridge, the history of feminism, and the creation of Fleabag, the essay closely examines several key scenes from the show. It demonstrates how Waller-Bridge employs humor intertwined with serious subject matter to highlight the complexities and contradictions women face in navigating conflicting societal expectations around gender. Through the flawed yet honest portrayal of Fleabag herself and her interactions with other nuanced female characters, the show celebrates feminism as a diverse tapestry of lived experiences rather than an ideology with rigid rules. Ultimately, Waller-Bridge's deft use of tragicomedy invites audiences to embrace an inclusive, expansive understanding of what it means to be a feminist in the modern age, free from the pressures of conforming to any singular standard of womanhood.

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