The Birdcage Response

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While watching this film I have to admit I couldn't care less about the homonormative/heteronormative roles of the characters. It was a good movie, it was entertaining, and sometimes I think that these things are overlooked when we analyze and culturally critique film and other forms of entertainment media. Yes it is important to acknowledge the hegemonies that exist within entertainment but it is also important to not let those hegemonies completely annihilate the few representations of LGTBQ folks that exist (I suppose I am drawing back on the "visibility at any cost" discussion).
This aside, I honestly don't know the answer to this question. I think it could be argued either way (that the characters did display homonormativity as defined by the class consensus). On one hand, Albert was more conventionally feminine (i.e. his sensitivity and body language) while his partner was more conventionially masculine (i.e. displayed logic and reason more than emotion) and this falls in compliance with the ever present stereotype that there is always a fem and a butch in every queer relationship. On the other hand, both men had feminine qualities, so there really wasn't a "butch" depending on how one defines the term "butch", which could be seen as turning that stereotype on its head. So my conclusion is that this could be argued either way. I don't however believe that the film was heteronormative, though some could argue that the past relationship between Katherine and Armand plays into the stereotype that "gays can turn if they find the right person", though I personally feel that this is not the case and that it was instead touching on the concept of sexual fluidity and experimentation among people.

3 Comments

While I also find a lot of entertainment value in the film, I think that viewers of cinema must also critically examine the representations and depictions taking place on the screen. And because this film is so unique in the fact that it IS a depiction of the LGBT community, we must be even more critical in its analyzation. Because there are so few other films to compare it to, Armand and Albert's relationship becomes a high profile representation for people outside of the LGBT community to associate with homosexual relationships. For this reason (outside of its entertainment value) I feel that this film is not successful. When looked at critically, the film seems to fall apart in terms of the benefits or lack thereof) for those being represented.

This reminds me a lot of the first documentary we watched in this class, in which Hooks made it clear that in order to analyze films we must be able to separate our enjoyment of them from our critique of them. You demonstrate this perfectly as you are able to ignore the problems that arise as a result of the script/characters/situations/etc. in order to enjoy the film for what it is, but you are also able to look back and reflect on the ways in which the film is problematic on a much deeper level.

I like that you challenge the definition of "butch." This is important to keep in mind because building responses to stereotypes and mimicry is such a subjective matter. It is important to keep in mind the ways in which your personal history plays into your experience while viewing the film and that it will differ greatly from other individuals' experiences. What I think of and see as butch may be very different from how you view butch and thus we would each interpret this film differently. Such a good point to raise.

I do find this film entertaining as well, to be honest, it has always been one of my favorites. However, within the context of this class, we are supposed to be dissecting them in this way.
I agree with your assessment of Armand and Katherine's past relationship though. I don't think it demonstrates that gay men can be "turned," especially since he chooses to be with Albert in the end. I love that it challenges the rigid boundaries of sexuality.

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This page contains a single entry by Bri Lopez published on February 13, 2012 11:15 AM.

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