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Representations of Trans/Gender and Sexuality

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Lindsey Evans

on 18 November 2015

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Transcript of Representations of Trans/Gender and Sexuality

“The Rewind”
Transgender Gaze

Transgender Look- Halberstam
What's Your Flava? Race and Postfeminism in Media Culture
By: Sarah Banet-Weisner

Lindsey Evans, Haley Provan, Melanie Martinez, and Suleymi Recinos
Is Paris Burning?
Narrative techniques seen throughout transgender films
Representations of Trans/Gender and Sexuality
“Much of the film’s focus on pageantry takes the ritual of the black drag ball and makes it spectacle. Ritual is that ceremonial act that carries with it meaning and significance beyond what appears, while spectacle functions primarily as entertaining dramatic display... Hence it is easy for white observers to depict black rituals as spectacle.”

"Viewers whiteness is not black men longing to impersonate or even to become like "real" black women but their obsession with an idealized fetished vision of femininity that is white."

main points

Studies how the transgender gaze or look developed in recent cinema.

Halberstam states, “The fantasy of the shape shifting and identity morphing body has been nowhere more powerfully realized recently than in transgender film” (Halberstam 76).

The visibility and temporality are noticed with transgender characters in film
The Crying Game
A love story about Fergus the main character who finds out his past lover is actually a Transvestite in the midst of political conflict in the English occupation of Northern Ireland.

By Hook or By Crook
The random meeting of two trans “butches” who become friends. They are outlaws and live in a “transworld.”

Boys Don’t Cry
Based off the true story of Brandon Teena a transgender who is raped and killed for being a transgender.
Within white supremacists, capitalists patriarchy the experience of men dressing as women, appearing in drag, has always been regarded by the dominant hetero-sexist cultural gaze as a sign that one is symbolically crossing over from a realm of power into a realm of powerlessness.

Appear as "female" when one is "male" viewed in patriarchal mindset as a loss.

"If you are black and male and gay, you have to be stronger than you can imagine."

Marketing "girl power" & "urban"
"The normalization of feminism has prevented it from existing as a discrete politics; rather it emerges as a kind of slogan or generalized 'brand'".
Harry M. Benshoff (Broke) Back to the Mainstream
- Talks about the Queer Theory and how it is seen and studied in films
- Three films are critiqued; Brokeback Mountain, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, and Talladega Nights
A Little Background
- During the AIDs epidemic (1981-1985), homosexuality was considered by doctors and psychiatrists as a disease
- In today’s culture, homophobia (the fear of the homosexual), is considered to be a disease

Brokeback Mountain
- Brokeback Mountain (2005) is a film about two seemingly heterosexual American cowboys who discover they have homosexual desires towards one another.
- The film argues homosexuality within heterosexual males
- Instilled shock on audiences because an iconic image of heterosexual masculinity (American cowboy) is seen to have had and still have homosexual desires.
- Ennis was exposed to a body of a murdered gay man by his father when he was 9-years-old, signifying male heterosexual dominance.
- He is fearful that his relationship with Jack will be discovered and they will both be murdered.
- Ennis defines himself as heterosexual, not because of his desires, but because of the fear he has of being homosexual.
- Portrays Ennis as highly homophobic, although he himself has a homosexual relationship.

Heterosexual vs. Homosexual
- Both Jack and Ennis are outwardly heterosexual males. They both are married to a woman and have children.
- These characters are queer by reason of their relationship together, their main behaviors are derived from the heteronormative patriarchal ideas that masculinity includes competition and violence.
- The two are mostly seen play-fighting, wrestling, and roughhousing. They are never seen being intimate.
- However, Jack is still more feminine and Ennis is more masculine. Jack is more emotionally invested and Ennis is darker and quieter about his feelings on their relationship.

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry & Talladega Nights
- Films are similar in the way that their portrayals of homosexuality are satirical, making the homosexual men flamboyant, which is a stereotype.
- Both films objectify women, Chuck and Larry shows slow motion shots of women’s butts and breasts and makes the character, Chuck, a lady’s man, explaining that he can get any woman into bed with him even after demeaning them. Talladega Nights portrays Ricky’s wife as a gold-digger when his friend, Cal, becomes the superior racecar driver.
- Both show ties between homosocial relationships (friendships) and homosexual love.
- In Chuck and Larry , “I love you, but I’m not in love with you”.
- Both films portray male characters that are ‘macho’ and possess a strong friendship with another male character.
- Chuck and Larry are close friends, and Cal and Ricky are close friends. Not seen as homosexual.
- Both films end with homosexual relationships and heterosexual relationships

The Differences
- Brokeback Mountain represents homosexual intercourse. It is non-satirical with the way the characters are outwardly portrayed as the symbol for white male dominance and heterosexual masculinity. More realistic representation of homosexuality, causing people to be uncomfortable with the material. Something people are not aware of and don’t see everyday.
- I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and Talladega Nights are more comfortable to viewers (especially the homophobic) because they are able to laugh at the stereotypes of what homosexuals are thought to be like.
- Very feminine and flamboyant homosexuals are more easily understood than that of a heterosexual dominant male having homosexual desires.
- People are more comfortable with what they are used to and what they believe is real.

In American History, there has been several waves of feminism: First Wave Feminism, Second Wave Feminism, Third Wave Feminism, and currently: Postfeminism
Postfeminism is "feminism taken into account" (206).
"...Contemporary popular culture is effective in the 'undoing of feminism'" (204).
"This particular generational divide resolves most centrally around a general assumption (one that is supported by commercial popular culture) that the goals of feminism have been accomplished and are now history, rendering it unnecessary to continue rehashing old political issues"(204).
"...These particular representations and narratives (non-white narratives in ads/programs) of race and ethnicity are marketed by media corporations as cool, authentic, and urban and have been proven to be incredibly lucrative economic tools for marketing to broad, especially white, audiences" (Banet-Weiser, 204).
Postracial culture = Postfeminism
"...the struggles of the past to represent women and people of color are read through a nostalgic lens as an 'old school' kind of politics" (Banet-Weiser, 205).
Current Positive Race & female Representations
“The Rewind”- piecing together past, present and future in order to conclude the character is transgender
Transgender Gaze - looking through the eyes/life of the transgender individual instead of at them directly
Ghosting- the haunting of the person's past gender continously being reminded

Bruce Jenner Now Caitlyn
Teena Renae Brandon Now Brandon Teena
The Crying Game
Boys Don’t Cry
By Hook or By Crook “Are you a boy or girl?”
Transgendered woman gets harassed at airport
Geena Rocero - TED Talks- “Why I must come out”
Transgender Gaze vs Straight Gaze
"Unlike other transgender films that remain committed to seducing the "straight gaze", this one
[By Hook or By Crook
] remains throughly committed to the transgender look, and it opens up, formally and thematically, a new mode of envisioning gender mobility" (Halberstam 79).

Many in the transgender community feel that while Jenner is glorified by the media, particularly for her looks and fashionable clothing, her story may not be representative of the hardship regular transgender men and women face in their country.
Cross-dressing- The act of one dressing up as the gender that they do not normally find themselves living as. This is done usually as a hobby, in order to live out fantasies, for drag shows/parties, or for sexual excitement. Oh and just to make it clear; TRANSSEXUALS DO NOT CROSS-DRESS, AND CROSS-DRESSERS AREN'T NECESSARILY LGBT!!!!!!

Transgender- A term referring to when one's gender and sex are not always or ever equivalent. Often used as a referrant to the person themself.
This is a broad term that includes transsexual (pre/non or post-op), non-gender, bi (tri & multi) gender, androgynes, etc.
The state of being transgendered may or may not have any bearing on sexual preferences.

Drag Queen- A man who dresses as a flamboyant woman in order to entertain others.
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