Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Boys Dont Cry~ Emily Chumbley

The 1999 film "Boys Don't Cry" by Kimberly Pierce is based on the true story of Teena Brandon (or Brandon Teena). It is about a transman (born a female) who lives his life and identifies himself as Brandon Teena. After falling in love with a girl named Lana, Brandon moves to Falls City, Nebraska. Even though Brandon and Lana become sexual, Lana is still unaware of his biological sex. Brandon becomes good friends with Lana's friends including Candace and ex-convicts Lotter and Nissen.

Soon after, Brandon was jailed for forging checks. He was put in the womens section of the jail and since Lana bailed him out, she wanted to know the truth. Brandon told her he was born with a birth defect and would soon get a sex change. Lana confessed her love for Brandon and said she didn't care what was wrong. It wasn't too long until her friends found out. Lotter and Nissen expose Brandon in front of everyone by violently ripping of her clothes in front of everyone so all his privates were showing. Soon after, Lotter and Nissen take Brandon to a meat factory and rape him (or her-however you like to say it). Even though the two warned Brandon to not report it, Lana convinced him otherwise. After finding out Brandon had reported it, Lotter and Nissen went looking for Brandon and ended up shooting and killing him and their friend Candace (brandon was staying at candace's house).

Gender issue is pretty much what the whole movie is about. Brandon was have a "gender identiy issue" as he stated in the movie. Even though Brandon seemed to know he liked women and wanted to be a women, there was no question about it. A man "traped" in a womens body is not something many can understand or even accept. Brandon happened to be someone that was hard for society to accept and he looked downed upon just become he was "different". All the women in the film are treated like worthless meat to these men. Lotter and Nissen order around Candance and Lana throughout the whole movie. Lotter seems to have a crush on Lana and seems to control her. They treat Brandon like one of the boys and as soon as they found out he had female parts, they raped her. They made Brandon say "I know, this is my fault, I deserve it." This film does not show women in a positive light. The only positive women I saw in this movie was, Brandon for realizing she was really a he and embracing it. Lana for not caring what Brandon was. She got to know him before she knew his gender issue. That shows character and she isn't afraid to admit it. Lana tries to stand up for Brandon to Lotter. Other than that the women in this movie are treated like crap and are portrayed as girls who follow the bad boys around.

No, I do not consider this a feminist movie. Brandon hid who he really was and in the end he was killed either way. If he would have embraced who he was and stood up for everything he believed in, he might have never gotten mixed in with those people. But then again, being afraid of being killed because of his gender issue might be the reason why he kept it to himself.

Even though the movie was sometimes hard to handle or hard to watch, I liked it. It wouldn't be my choice of movie to watch all the time because it is depressing and to know it is a true story doesn't really help it. The director did not beat around the bush and made everything real and graphic. The film gives people a slight look into the lives of people who are going through something like Brandon is going through. Yes, the graphic scenes of the rape and murder was hard to watch but knowing that someone was treated like this simply because he/she was not like everyone else is just awful.

Emily Chumbley


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