Transgender and Stereotypical Feminine Traits

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Emily Johanson
First Year Seminar
Response Paper #4
Final Version due Monday, Nov. 12

Gender Roles in Transamerica
Transamerica is an example of how Hollywood portrays transgender people in film. The movie gets rolling when Huffman who portrays Bree a conservative pre-operative transsexual woman tells her therapist she discovered she had a son named Toby. She has to bail him out of jail in order for her therapist to allow her to have her procedure done in a week. The plot unfolds as they get to know each other driving back to California. However, Toby doesn’t know that Bree is his father. Transamerica reinforces a number of transgender stereotypes, and portrays both main characters with stereotypical feminine traits.

Throughout the film, Bree reinforces stereotypical transgender behavior. We see this by her taking her hormone pills every day and just trying to blend into the world as a woman. Many people feel that being a transgender is a mental disorder. In the opening of the movie, Bree is in a meeting with her doctor to get her procedure signed off. He is evaluating her to see if she has a mental disorder. Also, Bree’s mom tried to commit her which led to her suicide attempt. When Joyce Murton came to talk to us, she said that many transgender people attempt suicide, so this was a stereotypical behavior. Also, Joyce told us that she didn’t have a good relationship with her family. We also see this in the film. Bree’s mom still sees her as her son Stanley. When they went out to dinner she even had Bree pull out her chair for her which is a stereotypical male behavior. She also made her switch seats so Toby would be next to her. She is using Toby as her replacement son. When Bree told her she never had a son, she broke down in the restaurant. She feels as though she lost a member of her family. I think this is stereotypical for families of transgender people.

Bree and Toby display stereotypically feminine traits. Bree may have been born male, but...
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