Boys Don’t Cry

It seems that the gaze within Kimberly Peirce’s film has several aspects to it. While Patricia White calls the film a “convergence of queer, feminist, and what I would like to call girl-viewer optics” (218), Halberstam sounds firm in the analysis of a transgender gaze depicted in the film. I think the fact that this film has been awarded and received popularly in the mainstream arena is validated through the identification with a gaze that changes throughout the film. Brandon’s character carries political and social weight, and especially with the ending of the movie, Peirce leaves the spectator with a disorientated understanding of gaze portrayed through Brandon’s character. Brandon’s gender identification becomes transitional as he permits himself to be exposed to his partner, and thus, to the viewer. Several of the readings mentioned that often the audience knows more than the characters in the film, which I believe aids Peirce’s intention to emphasize an empathetic approach to the protagonist and the gaze. This knowledge and the changing gaze constructed in the film allows Boys Don’t Cry to not be confused with a simple portrayal of a tragic love story; rather, the film becomes less universalizing and more of a cultural statement to regard the social implications that transgender body and person is constrained within.

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