Representations of Gender Billy Elliot

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Representations of Gender – Billy Elliot
In the movie “Billy Elliot” there is many representations of gender. The characters challenge and reinforce certain stereotypes shown and the audience is positioned to respond in a particular way.

This story is set in a mining town just outside of London. A young boy, Billy, has a passion and talent for dance that drives him to defy all the social and cultural rules in his world. By following his dream Billy challenges the stereotype for boys in the mining town. During the journey his family’s struggle for money to support each other is shown. Billy’s life takes you on many twists and turns as he works his way to the top.

One of the most powerful symbolic codes in the film is in the scene where Billy and Mrs. Wilkinson are talking in the boxing ring. The lighting is dark where they are but bright in the distance. This darkness symbolizes the dullness in his life and the brightness that contrasts represents a bright hope for the future. Through placing the characters in the ring allows the audience to see Billy’s longing to move away from the stereotype and find his own path. Stereotypically boys are assumed to be arrogant, loud and take pleasure in “manly” sports such as boxing. Billy challenges this by creating a reflective and soft mood. One of the aural codes, music, enhances this soft atmosphere and helps set the tone of the scene.

At the end of the movie just before Billy goes on stage the lighting is, again, very symbolic. This time, however, you see him come out of the dark of his past and move into the bright and confronting light. The brightness represents a sense of accomplishment and that Billy has finally fulfilled his hopes and dreams. To build up to this moment the music creates an atmosphere filled with excitement and tension. It’s this aural code that’s most effective as it builds up to the moment by increasing in volume and strength. This shows how he has had to slowly build up...
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