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On Womenand Film - Essay Example

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Boys Don’t Cry explores a number of themes including identity, empowerment, freedom, and courage. However, gender representation underpins all these themes. This paper will examine the representation of gender in Boys Don’t Cry, describing the key aspects of gender representation both in society and in the film. Representation of gender in the film adds force to the patriarchal norms held by the society. Discussions of the topic of gender in film owe their origins to conventional feminist film theorists who considered films as male-dominated and immensely guilty of gender stereotyping. In this examination of Boys Don’t Cry, the popular gender theory becomes highly applicable to determine the degree to which gender representation supports stereotypes. The Jacques Lacan and Sigmund Freud developed the psychoanalytical theory that profoundly influenced the early feminist film theory (Herz 51). However, the psychoanalytic theory had substantive problems such as its phallic-centric basis. This led to the development of alternative discussion mechanisms such as the cultural studies mechanism. In this analysis of Boys Don’t Cry, I will utilize both approaches to cover the entire scope of gender representation. ...
Male characters define women by their appearances; for instance, during the bar scene, Candace is the object of the male gaze owing to her attractiveness; then later, the facade changes to that of a mother. Lana, on the other hand, is the object of both Brandon and John’s voyeuristic or sexual gaze. This essentially means that men consider women as sex objects placed in the world for their pleasure. In contrast, men in the film are far too active to become the focus of a sexual gaze. According to Mulvey (37), this phenomenon is essential because of men’s fear to acknowledge homoerotic desires. In addition, it is only acceptable for a man to be represented as a spectacle if such representation unites with the narrative to place emphasis on the man’s active role in the storyline. This exemplifies the stereotype of gender roles where males are subjective beings and females are objective, the objects of males’ desires. Distinctively, the character of Brandon, nonetheless, appears to be at odds with this perception. This is because several scenes in Boys Don’t Cry focus primarily on Brandon’s sexual appearance. Notably, Brandon’s appearance becomes central to the narrative without the element of action. This warrants the question if a similar tactics would apply if Brandon were a male. If Brandon were, in reality, a male, this would raise questions of homoeroticism, but since he is perceived as a female, this suggestion becomes inapplicable. In addition, Brandon’s attention to detail as she creates her male persona echoes the contemporary views on image construction, in which the female body is highly industrialized – for instance, for a woman to attain femininity, she must ...Show more
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Summary

Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Women and Film The 1999 American romantic drama Boys Don’t Cry was co-written by Andy Bienen and Kimberly Peirce under the direction of Pierce. The film centers on the real-life events of Brandon Teena’s life. While Brandon was biologically born a female, she felt like a man…
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