The Crying Game

Topics: Homosexuality, Sexual orientation, Identity Pages: 14 (2201 words) Published: March 10, 2002
¡§Texts both inform us of the social identities available to us, and problematize them; both police our social selves and subvert them.¡¨

Both texts, The Crying Game by Neil Jordan and Loaded by Christos Tsiolkas, use

characters within the discourse to project social identities that have been

problematized due to social constraints. Throughout this essay, I will focus on

sexuality, as this type of social identity has been depicted as a central theme in both

texts. The characters from the texts work to, police and subvert their own sexual

identities within their social milieu.

¡§To claim an identity as a homosexual is to claim a place in a system of social

regulation¡¨ (Connell & Dowsett, 1992). I would firstly like to establish the fact that

homosexuality, in its most general sense, has been argued to have been socially

constructed, therefore sexuality, in this case homosexuality, has to be considered a

form of social identity. I support this with Freud¡¦s theory that sexuality is a result of

social processes whether it be within the family, cultural, class etc., all such processes

assist in forming a particular sexual identity, ¡§ sexualities are not received as a

package¡ arrived at by a highly variable and observable process of construction,

not by an ¡¥unfolding¡¦ of the natural; and that social process is deeply implicated into

this construction.¡¨ (Connell & Dowsett, 1992).

The Crying Game and Loaded, exhibit sexual identities yet in different ways. ¡§Liberal

Humanism¡¨ was concerned with universal humanism which tended to homogenise

various types of gays and lesbians. It was ¡§Identity Politics¡¨, which was bench-

marked in western countries throughout the 1960¡¦s, that appealed to Liberal

Humanism and saw that everybody had a right to express themselves and their

identities. It was this recognition that distinguished identities within the ¡§homosexual

identity¡¨. The increase of sexual personae, diversified drag queens, dykes, macho

gays, and from The Crying Game, transvestites. Throughout the novel Loaded, These

diversities of homosexual identities were captured. The central character, Ari,

repeatedly makes the distinction between these identities and refuses to be

homogenised into such a broad identity, ¡§I hate the word gay. I hate the word

homosexual.¡¨ Ari would be defined as a man that has preference for men, sexually.

He recognises the fact that he is gay yet to an outsider, or his family, he can hide his

sexual identity complying with the social ¡§norm¡¨, heterosexuality. Ari states that his

attraction is towards real men and masculinity, ¡§ Every time I look at a gay man, even

if I think he¡¦s attractive, I can¡¦t forget he¡¦s a faggot. I get off on real men,


In contrast, the character of Dil in The Crying Game, was portrayed as a transvestite.

Dil is a man that functions in society as a woman. To encourage Dil¡¦s sexual identity

as female, the film failed to reveal Dil as a transvestite until the latter half of the film,

and lead the audience to believe the she was a woman.

Sexual identities have been problematized due to social constraints. Deconstructionist

theories have given motive as to why such sexual identities have been seen as

¡§problematic¡¨ in society. This theory governs the fact that heterosexuality is what is

considered the social norm and any identities varying from this norm would be

considered abnormal thus experiencing unjustness. Foucault debates that, ¡§the social

bases of concepts of normality and deviance, to the pervasiveness of social control,

and to the role of professions such as medicine in sustaining control over ¡¥deviants¡¦.¡¨

This is exemplified by Fuery & Mansfield by stating that in society we generalise, in

a text, a character¡¦s sexuality as heterosexual and if not, we...

Bibliography: „h Loaded, Christos Tsiolkas, 1998
„h The Crying Game, Neil Jordan, 1992
„h Cultural Studies and the New Humanities, Fuery & Mansfield, 1997
„h Rethinking Sex, Connell & Dowsett, 1992
„h Gender As Seriality: Thinking About Women as a Social Collective, Iris Marion Young, 1997
„h The Internationalization of Gay and Lesbian Identities, Dennis Altman, 1998
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