Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


French and Francophone Studies

First Advisor

Michelle Chilcoat




Male gaze, French cinema, female film directors, inequality, identity, racism, gender roles, objectifying women


This thesis focuses on how the male gaze is confronted in French and Francophone cinema, particularly in the films of the female directors Celine Sciamma, Euzhan Palcy and Claire Denis. The male gaze is a look in cinema in which women are regarded generally as sexual objects. The male gaze renders women mostly relevant only to fulfill male sexual desires, and thus as weak or background characters with little to contribute to moving the narrative action along. All six films by the female directors analyzed in this thesis, however--Bande de filles and Tomboy (Sciamma), Rue case-nègres and A Dry white season (Palzy), and Chocolat and White material (Denis)--not only contest the male gaze, they also challenge racism and inequality. The main goal of this thesis is to demonstrate specifically how these films are changing cinema thanks to their female directors.