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Homophobia and Racism in Hollywood Cinema

' In this story, Teena is not portrayed as confused about her sexuality. She is not a transsexual, a cross-dresser, or any other category on the list of sexual identities. Instead, she is merely a lonely girl who feels more comfortable as a boy and thinks of herself as a boy. One day she cuts her hair short, stuffs a sock down the front of her jeans and tries her luck presenting herself as a male, Brandon Teena. As a boy, Brandon falls in love with a girl named Lana. We see the stereotypes and prejudice that are shown toward anyone who tries to exhibit an identity outside of mainstream gender roles. Lana's mother tells her daughter, 'I don't want IT in my house' (Peirce 1999).

We also see conventional notions of masculinity critiqued in the film in the violent products of a brutal background, Tom and John, two local studs. Neither is intelligent and both have demeaning and objectifying attitudes toward women. We see how Brandon will die because of two violent men who are extremely threatened by any challenge to their already weak self-confidence. Brandon complete shatters notions of masculinity, femininity and gender, especially for uneducated, violent males who cling to conventional stereotypes to boost their own self-confidence and affirm their own sense of identity. Brandon is unlike these types of males as a man, in fact we are told 'Brandon knew how to treat a woman' (Peirce 1999). Furthermore, Brandon rejects the life offered by small-town Nebraska trailer parks and the women who inhabit them. When Lana tells her 'I hate my life,' Brandon replies, 'I hate your life too' (Peirce 1999).

Lana's mom also accuses Brandon of exposing her daughter to her 'sickness' (Peirce 1999). However, from our perspective as viewers the sickness appears to lie more in the stultifying atmosphere of small-town country life where violence and prejudice form a potent mixture in those frustrated from such an existence. Brandon will di...

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Homophobia and Racism in Hollywood Cinema. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:42, August 21, 2017, from
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