Week 10 Response

As I believe I have mentioned on this blog once before, I am taking a class this semester titled “Women and the Media” in the journalism department. The discussions in that class have aligned with the discussions in this class once before, and this week, both classes are tackling the notion of transgender, but from the two different perspectives of how transgender women are written about in the media or how they write about themselves in the media versus how they are depicted in narrative cinema. The reason I even bring this up is because most of the articles I read for my journalism class are about the hardships that transgender people (mostly women, given the nature of the course) face, due to their inability to pass successfully, the negative backlash from their communities, or their not accepting themselves due to the aforementioned issues or more that I haven’t mentioned. The articles about Boys Don’t Cry for this class, however, discuss how a woman received international acclaim for her portrayal of a transgender man, a man “who is not so much trying to pass as someone else as trying to be ‘him’ self” (Aaron 93). Both Hilary Swank and the character she portrays thus are emphasizing the performative nature of gender because Boys Don’t Cry is a fiction (one based on a real-life story, yes, but many filmic adaptations fictionalize elements of the story to make the story more cinematic, whatever that may entail), and in fiction, much more is accepted because viewers subconsciously and consciously realize that this world is not their own. Given that this film was made in 1999, it was made in a time where transgender people were even less accepted as a whole than they are now, yet somehow it was received overwhelmingly positively, with some dissent of course. Given that I have not yet seen this film, I can’t draw too many comparisons between what I have been reading for both this class and my journalism class, but I do think that having the context of my journalism class on Tuesday will inform my perception and discussion of Boys Don’t Cry on Thursday, and I’m looking forward to that reflection.

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