Boys Don’t Cry
The film Boys Don’t cry is about a transgender female who lives her life as a man. Born with the name Teena Brandon she inhibits the lifestyle of her male counterparts as Brandon who is just looking for acceptance and to be loved for who she is. The story of Brandon takes place during the ‘90’s in the working class area of a small Nebraska town where he meets up and befriends a group of young people. They are readily acceptant of Brandon being a man, but it is later discovered that Brandon isn’t exactly who or what he says that he is. When the truth is revealed Brandon must take harsh criticism for his deception and even harsher punishment and then in the end loss everything he longed for in his death. Relating the Movie to the Text:
a) There were different dimensions of conflict within this film. There was the conflict of the many people having a dislike for homosexuals which is the umbrella issue of the film. When the characters of the film are examined the conflict occurs between an individual member of one group, Brandon as a transgender, versus another group, i.e. His friends. A lot of the conflict between Brandon and his friends occurred when the discovered that he was transgender, or rather he wasn’t what he seemed.
The significant groups in this movie consisted of Brandon, Lana who was his love interest, John who cared for Lana, Tom, Candice, and Lana’s mom made up the group of friends Brandon associated with. The only time that Brandon labeled anyone throughout the movie was when he labeled himself and other transgender when he stated that he was having a sexual identity crisis, but I also didn’t see him label himself or transgender positively, I think this was the result of the majorities prejudice against such things. Lana never labeled Brandon negatively, but she did negatively label herself due to the fact that she implied that she wasn’t good at anything, such as she couldn’t sing, she didn’t feel like she could be much more than she was. John, Tom and Lana’s Mom all labeled Brandon as a freak, or called him “it”, and a pervert when they found out than Brandon was born a female. There were also insignificant characters that labeled Brandon has a fagot and a dyke when they found he was rather a she and labeling of the group as “wall people” and skanks because they were lower working class. There didn’t seem to be as much positive labeling in this movie as there was negative.
There weren’t a lot of specific times where formal labeling occurred except when Brandon was at the police station after he was assaulted and the cop asked him: Why do you go around hanging out with boys, kissing other girls? Brandon asked him why that even mattered and the cop replied that he wanted to figure out why this assault happened. It seemed to imply that assault happened because Brandon was transgender and it was his fault, when in fact I don’t find anyone who is the victim of such a crime is to blame. It takes on the idea of people’s thinking that if only they were normal this wouldn’t have happened, they brought it all upon themselves.
The biggest impact that the labeling had on the characters was with Brandon and the negative labeling on the gay and lesbian community. It seemed as though he felt he had to lie about his sexual identity crisis, that he had to dress and act like a boy in hopes to have other people buy into the distorted perception of who he really was. Brandon knew that if the truth came out that people weren’t going to be accepting of this lifestyle that he was choosing. For example when he was arrested for not appearing for his court date for grand theft auto when he was still living the life of Teena Brandon, he was obviously placed in the women’s unit. When Lana went to visit him there he felt that he couldn’t tell her the truth, but rather lie to her further saying that the jail was full and the women’s cell was the other place to put him. Then as Lana questioned him...
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