Persona and Rebellion in Trickster Narratives. Case Study: Fleabag (BBC 2016-2019)
Keywords:female trickster, persona, Fleabag, Jung, Goffman, social mask
This paper brings together the concept of persona and the figure of the trickster to examine the dynamic between social norms and creative noncompliance, between the social mask and human authenticity, in moving image narratives. In particular, it looks at the female trickster challenging the female persona in recent television shows, primarily BBC’s Fleabag (2016-2019), using the previously outlined framework of trickster attributes (Bassil-Morozow 2012; Bassil-Morozow 2015).
The concept of persona is examined using a combination of Erving Goffman’s presentation of self theory and Jung’s persona concept. It is argued that the female persona – the artificial vision of socially acceptable femininity – is a particularly rigid psycho-social structure, comprising repressive and unrealistic expectations for women’s looks, bodies, and conduct in public situations. Using the nameless protagonist of Fleabag as a case study, the paper shows how the female trickster can challenge these prescribed attributes and expectations while defying the individual-controlling techniques: shame, social embarrassment, social rejection and ostracism.
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