Birdcage

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In Albert and Armand's relationship, a homonormative binary could possibly be defined as Albert being femme, and Armand being butch. To back up a bit, Albert's personality is filled with a number of feminine qualities. His daily activities consisted of shopping and cooking, a stereotypical feminine role. Armand, however, was in charge of finances and owned the Birdcage. To put them into Butler's butch and femme categories follows again their roles. That is, from the beginning of the film, Albert is introduced in a scene where he is overly emotional. He calls himself a woman and calls Armand a man at one point in the film. This of course is a very drastic portrayal, possibly being put out as mocking heteronormative behavior. Armand, on the other hand, comes into the movie as the calm and rational member of the relationship, the masculine role stereotype; in other words he fits the butch representation. This use of a masculine character and a feminine character fits well with readings thus far in that there is a norm portrayed even when the directors use gay characters as main characters. The only comfort you can find in the movie as a progressive positive view is that of acceptance at the end of the film. Not only did Armand's son accept his father and mother (Albert) at the end of the film, but the senator's wife also did. This part of the movie made me tear up, but overall the film didn't do as much as I would have liked in terms of breaking stereotypes.

2 Comments

I dont think this movie was meant to breakdown any barriers with the exception of the family conclusion. I totally forgot about the woman vs. man portion of the movie and made me think you had a solid point. However, this also illustrates a point for me; Do heterosexuals believe we must exist in their masculine/feminine binary? Does that give them something to associate with?

I agree with your conclusions in relation to the film, and can also see the entertainment value in its production, but can also note its weakness in not breaking down any stereotype barriers. I think its interesting that Armand's son is forced to accept Albert as his mother at the end of the film, rather than as a second father. Although the sentiments of this film seem to be in the right place, unfortunately it does little for improving any image of homosexual relationships as something other than a butch-femme relationship.

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This page contains a single entry by Max published on February 13, 2012 11:12 AM.

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