With “No Hard Feelings” and “The Righteous Gemstones,” Season 3 of 2023 introduces an entirely new level of on-screen conflict.
THE BIG IMAGE
Naked fight sequences involving men and women are becoming increasingly prevalent in film and television, challenging conventional notions of vulnerability and sexualization.
In the fight sequences of Borat, The Righteous Gemstones, and No Hard Feelings, nudity represents freedom, liberation, and empowerment.
These scenes demonstrate a shift in the entertainment industry towards the acceptance of a broader variety of body types and genders, leveling the playing field and removing the stigma associated with body image.
She comes out at night, is naked, and is preparing to fight. Simply put, she is a man-eater.Jennifer Lawrence captivated audiences this summer with her performance in the comedy blockbuster No Hard Feelings. This week, the film made its streaming début on Netflix, and one scene in particular has stuck in people’s minds. Lawrence fights a group of children on the seashore while completely naked and lands a powerful blow. Similarly, another scene in Season 3 of the HBO Max comedy The Righteous Gemstones elicited raucous applause from the audience in 2018. While two males compete for the affection of one woman, one of them is naked. One cannot help but ponder how film and television arrived at this point of nudity liberation as they strangle and choke each other with their butt cheeks exposed. In the past, disrobing in films meant something else. It implied rose petals and passionate declarations. It entailed sexualizing bodies, especially women. In 2023, this signifies that it is time to combat. Bodies are no longer merely objects of desire; they are now constructed weapons used for comedic purposes in the most bizarre situations. The entertainment industry is working to eliminate the stigma associated with body image one naked fight at a time, and it’s a heck of a ride to witness.
Travel back in time to the year 2006. Borat was the film that was causing the most commotion at the time. A naked battle scene between Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat, a Kazakh journalist touring America, and Ken Davitian’s Azamat, the film’s producer, remains etched in the minds of audiences. The two engage in an extremely graphic battle, and their naked bodies are depicted in all their gory detail. The two males have no shame in exposing their bodies. Whether you found the scene offensive or amusing, two men were eventually shown naked on-screen – men who did not meet the Hollywood beauty standards for male bodies.
‘Borat’ Influenced a Generation of Naked Fight Scenes
At the time of Borat’s release, audiences had become so accustomed to viewing and objectifying women’s naked bodies on screen that two naked males were deemed excessive. However, as the years have passed, the infamous naked combat scene in Borat has had a greater impact on film and television than anyone could have predicted. Alexander Skarsgrd starred in the critically acclaimed film The Northman (2022) just a year ago, and the film’s climactic combat takes place atop an erupting volcano. Skarsgrd is naked, bleeding, and barefoot as he battles his equally chiseled adversary, but he finds liberation in shedding the clothes that bound him while he fought to the death. In both comedy and drama, nudity is becoming a symbol of freedom and emancipation, as well as a source of nobility.
‘The Righteous Gemstones’ Stares Toxic Masculinity Right in the Face
In 2023, television presented us with arguably the greatest fight scene of the year. In The Righteous Gemstones, BJ (Tim Baltz) discovers that his wife Judy Gemstone (Edi Paterson) has been unfaithful. Rather than avoiding his problems, he confronts them head-on. BJ confronts the other man in question, the obnoxious Stephen (Stephen Schneider), by breaking into his home and discovering him naked and unaware, but the performance must go on. Stephen gives BJ a severe thrashing, which forces him to confront not only his anatomy but also his masculinity. Throughout Episode 6 of Season 3, titled “For Out of the Heart Comes Evil Thoughts,” the men combat over their own wounded egos, a reference to Borat. As they battle over a woman, their toxic masculinity and pride may literally be their undoing, and Stephen’s nudity is a glaring example of how fragile men’s egos are.
The combat scene is a flawless example of slapstick comedy, as well as a revolutionary moment. Audiences are becoming accustomed to seeing nude men in vulnerable positions on screen, which is revolutionary. In recent years, television has witnessed a significant increase in male nudity of all shapes and sizes, including Gen V and Euphoria, which has leveled the playing field between the sexes. No longer are women the only ones who undress, and males can be vulnerable with their bodies without being viewed as weak. The scene in The Righteous Gemstones is a highlight of Season 3 because it has solidified its position in the growing list of men who fight naked because they find freedom in their vulnerability. But 2023 also wondered why males should have all the fun. Women should also have access to contraception.
‘No Hard Feelings’ Lets Women Fight Dirty Too
In the film No Hard Feelings, Jennifer Lawrence kicks a lot of ***. Lawrence has never been more liberated on-screen than when she portrays a woman who is a liar, schemer, and chaos. After her character, Maddie, responds to a Craigslist ad that asks her to date the 19-year-old Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman) per his parents’ request, she discovers the freedom in behaving poorly. The most liberating scene in the film occurs when the couple goes skinny-dipping in the ocean and a group of adolescents steals their clothes as a joke. It turns out that the prank is on them, as Maddie emerges from the water completely naked. She tosses the first punch, and the camera is not shy about revealing her naked body as she throws and receives blows. The camera cares about portraying the fight, not her naked body, and it allows the oppressive gender construct to fade away from the screen.
Since the invention of film, movies have had a very straightforward relationship with female bodies. They are intended to be eye candy not only for the men on screen but also for the men observing.No Hard Feelings vehemently disagrees. The beach fight scene has gone viral since the film’s premiere on Netflix this week, but it would have lost much of its impact if Maddie hadn’t been entirely naked. Audiences are so accustomed to associating nude women on screen with vulnerability that it is nothing short of a miracle when it is used for something else. Maddie utilizes her body as a weapon to defend herself, and she has not an ounce of humiliation. It makes no difference what her gender is. It makes no difference whether she is dressed or not. She is empowered and fearless, and she wins the battle by an overwhelming margin. It’s one of the most memorable fight scenes in recent memory, and its grit is turned up to 11 as the slapstick comedy of a naked 30-something woman fighting adolescents unfolds.
Jennifer Lawrence Is the Naked Fighter We Deserve
Jennifer Lawrence has always been vocal about the unfair beauty standards women are compelled to adhere to, as well as her own struggles in the entertainment industry. Since starring in The Hunger Games franchise, she has revealed how studios have attempted to control her body and appearance. In addition, media agencies have relentlessly reported and commented for years on her appearance. Lawrence takes control of her body in No Hard Feelings, and the naked combat scene is a humorous, shining gem within the film. At that moment, she is a true man-eater, prowling the beach at night. She is now the predator, not the hunted. This scene demonstrates that the male gaze has no place in film, as women need more opportunities to be just as vile and violent as men, and that the male gaze has no place in film. Her bare body is the only reason for the conflict. It is no longer an object, but rather a living, breathing combat machine that belongs to her alone.
Typically, nakedness signifies vulnerability, frailty, and something to conceal. In 2023, it signifies delivering a punch. As No Hard Feelings continues to trend on Netflix, it should serve as a reminder that women can do anything males can do. Naked slapstick comedy is not exclusive to men, so bring on more fights between furious, enraged women. Both The Righteous Gemstones and No Hard Feelings demonstrate that the nude body can serve its purpose on the silver screen without being sexualized. Men’s and women’s bodies are more than mere objects of admiration. It does not matter how they appear; they are still weapons.
No Hard Feelings is streamable on Netflix in the United States.