Boys Don’t Cry Week 10

One of the most interesting aspects of the Aaron reading was that transgender films often become judged by the “spectacle of their transvestism” (93). The author writes, “It was not so much Brandon’s as Swank’s passing as a man that was at stake in the reception of Boys.” Aaron goes on to discuss passing in the film and how the audience is implicated in our understanding of Brandon’s identity through our “superior” knowledge and through experiencing other characters process what they know or don’t know. As the article ends, “In Boys, the interaction [of passing and failing] constructs and confirms the knowingness, the implication, of all those witnessing Brandon’s activities.

Aaron’s discussion on Swank’s performance made me wonder about something that none of the readings seemed to analyze: representation. In the Cooper reading, the author writes, “a Key component of contemporary queer media research is the ‘mutability of identity’ which views sexuality as performative rather than as adhering to specific, permeable categories of gayness or straightness.” In this same sentiment, Aaron explores the significance of Swank, a woman, passing and being believable as a transgender boy. However, there are always implications of cisgendered people playing transgeder roles.  I think that this Slate article (below) makes a really interesting point about placing cis actors in straight roles using the film Anything as an example: “the problem isn’t just that producers give plum acting jobs (and juicy paychecks) to cis men rather than trans women; it’s that this kind of casting puts trans women in physical danger by perpetuating the myth that trans women are men in disguise- a key cause of “transpannic” type violence.”

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