14. Gender

Make sure to turn in missing work and to start your Final Creative Projects.

The films this week deal specifically with how gender has been historically portrayed in films. Oftentimes films which focus on gender use the critical eye of their present to understand a person or event in the past. In this way each one of these films actually reflects two histories, two cultural societies, and two frameworks for gender. Moonlight investigates the relationship of between machismo in African American male culture and homosexuality. Inxeba: The Wound studies the warring commitments of loyalty to community and self in the context of a coming of age initiation ritual. All About My Mother examines the complex interplay of trans-sexuality, homosexuality, and traditional relationships in the context of the AIDS epidemic in Spain. Heartstone takes an honest and intimate look at a group of teenagers in a rural Iceland deeply influenced by American culture and homophobia. Finally, Billy Elliot uses the backdrop of UK Miner’s Strike to highlight the generational clash on ideas for the proper behaviors for gender as a miner’s son wishes to become a ballet dancer.

8 thoughts on “14. Gender

  1. I watched Billy Elliot and before I get into the gender stuff in the movie, I want to emphasize how little I know of the UK’s Miner’s Strike. Like I didn’t really understand much about the protests and what Billy’s dad and brother were doing most of the time. It was as if I was watching through Billy’s eyes in confusion about what was happening around him.

    Billy Elliot Spoilers!!
    Now, I think Billy, his friend Micheal, and Michael’s dad were very good examples of challenging gender roles. Billy is a boy who has a passion for ballet but isn’t allowed to pursue it because of his father’s beliefs that only girls and “poofs” do ballet. Micheal and his dad are both shown (or described) as crossdressers who like to dress up in women’s clothes but are too afraid to tell anyone. Micheal also has a crush on Billy throughout the entire film. Billy is very accepting of Micheal and although he is straight he supports Micheal. It shows the contrast between Billy’s passion for dance and disassociates it with homosexuality since Billy isn’t gay. I liked how they made Billy straight as it is helping remove the stigma that all male dancers are gay. Billy really proves that anyone can dance without being judged. The moral of the story is it doesn’t matter who you are, if you have a passion and determination for it you can do anything.

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  2. Billy Elliot was an interesting movie to say the least. I really only liked watching the differences between the four main male characters. Billy is straight but has a passion for something women usually do. Michael is gay and has the same passion, but somehow that makes it seem like it would make more sense. Logically it makes no sense that it is more likely for a gay man to want to do ballet, yet we jump to that mental conclusion. Billy’s father is straight and believes that his son should not be doing something not inherently masculine with his life. on the other hand Michaels father supports his son and joins him in the dancing. They come from all different mixes of stances and it causes a great contrast.

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    1. I have heard of this film throughout the years but never really gotten around to watching it, I will probably check it out sometime in the future

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  3. this week I watched moonlight. I really enjoyed this film and one thing I found interesting was in a way how things start to come full circle. Chiron, when he is younger, meets this older man who he and his wife help him work through his problems at home. you follow him through three stages of his life child, teen, and adult. you see his struggles with his identity and soon discover he is gay. by the final chapter of his life, you can see how he developed into this really stereotypical man becoming really buff, etc. I think he felt he needed to turn into this because you can see he was a fairly small teen and that is when he was bullied a lot so instead of accepting himself and coming to terms with that he seems to be forcing himself into something he is not.

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    1. I agree with your take here. Chiron seemed to suppress his true feelings and emotions because throughout his life he was never excepted for who he really was so he had to create a lifestyle to feel excepted by those around him.

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  4. This week, I revisited one of my favorite films of the past few years, Moonlight. I absolutely love this film. I feel as it has a very important story to tell of trying to find yourself in a nonconforming society. Throughout his entire life, the main character Chiron is constantly dealing with struggles; a drug addicted mother, battling with his sexuality, and losing the people he loves. As the film progresses, we see Chiron attempt to bury his true self before finally reuniting with the one person who truly knows him. I think the film is beautiful in exploring ones true self and finding closure in your life when you’ve never experienced closure before. The final interaction between Chiron and his mother will always bring tears to my eyes.

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