« iron jawed angels | Main | la litterature, part one: henrik ibsen's a doll's house »

breakfast on pluto

breakfast-on-pluto-poster-2.jpg

on saturday afternoon, i decided to watch this movie and i was delighted. cillian murphy rocks as the main character. i was fascinated by him, he is so beautiful as a woman that i find it hard to remember that i think he is really attractive as a male as well.

breakfast on pluto makes me think about:
- gender, gender roles
- stereotypes
- masculinity vs. femininity
- transgender, transvestite, transsexual
- discrimination, prejudice
- beauty, ideas surrounding it
- sexuality
- gender norms
- love, hope
- politics, the "seriousness" according to kitten
- family (unconventional, functional)
- resistance to conformity

a general plot summary of the movie is as follows courtesy of breakfast on pluto:

set in the 1970’s, breakfast on pluto follows the exploits of patrick “kitten? braden, an endearing, but deceptively tough young man. abandoned as a baby in his small irish hometown and aware from a very early age that he is different, patrick survives this harsh environment with the aid of his wit and charm, plus a sweet refusal to let anyone and anything change who he is.

i ended up thinking about manifesta's "a day without feminism" for a few reasons. first, this movie is set in the sixties/seventies, which corresponds to the same time period of the descriptions offered by baumgardner and richards. but there is a specific part in the movie that inspired the connection. there is a scene in which kitten gets into trouble and is sent to the headmaster, principal person's office for a scolding. somehow during the conversation the situation arises and kitten asks if instead of taking pe, he could take a home economics class so he could learn to sew. this made me think of how girls and boys were automatically placed in a class based on society's notions on what a girl, boy should be, should like and having to deal with it whether they like it or not. the quote is found on page 4:

in junior high, girls probably take home ec; boys take shop or small-engine repair. boys who want to learn how to cook or sew on a button are out of luck, as are girls who want to learn how to fix a car.

fortunately for kitten, he is able to get into the class that he wants but even then he still is forced to tell his teacher that the glamorous clothes he is making are for his sister, seeing as it is completely radical and unacceptable in his society (probably any at that time) to crossdress.

the reason that kitten gets in trouble (one of the times) is when he writes the story of his birth, creation, impregnation of his mother by his father. i think this story as he tells it is an example of male dominance, female submission, a man's right to have a woman if he wants her, man's temptation, woman tempting the man sexually, woman as a sex object, stereotypical female beauty. the priest, father liam, gets a new housekeeper and is immediately "randy" at the sight of her. while she is cleaning, while she is cooking, she is constantly turning him on, though she appears to be doing it unconsciously, it seems as if it is just the natural way of woman to do that to a man, almost as if it's her job, her right, her calling as a female. finally after trying to resist, he is all of a sudden on top of her on the floor, penetrating her. the beautiful housekeeper is saying things like "what are you doing" (in a playful, coy voice of course) and it just seems like he had the right to do it, she was asking for it. however, she gets pregnant from this incident. although this is a false version, the aftermath is pretty much still the same regardless. the situation is unacceptable in society, since the father is supposed to be celibate, not take a wife, so the mother feels she is forced to leave, thus abandoning the baby. she caved to the pressures of society.

what this movie says to me:
it's possible to survive as a transsexual individual. i think it's great that cillian murphy took this role.

pretty cillian.jpg

Comments

noah is to middlesexes as patrick is to breakfast on pluto

The scenario of the little boy, Noah, in the Middlesexes documentary reminded me of a movie that I watched recently called Breakfast on Pluto. This film based somewhat on true events follows the life of an individual named Patrick “Kitten? Braden. Abandoned as a baby, he grew up in a foster family and never really had the strong support system that Noah does in his parents and siblings. From little on, Patrick, like Noah, knew he was different and would play in his mother’s dresses and makeup. He was continually scolded by his family, yet he continued to act as he pleased, finding joy in "doing femininity". Patrick never let others’ opinions or beliefs mold who he was, just as Noah isn’t giving in to the pressure to conform to society’s expectations of boys’ behavior. Finally, after getting in trouble at school and being scolded at home, Patrick decides that he has had enough and takes off on his own in search of his real mother. What ensues is an unusual, tragic, and comic chain of events, persistent in the plots to misuse, mistreat, and hurt the transforming Kitten as he comes into his nonnormative gender role.

Patrick never lets anyone trample his spirit, and I can only hope that Noah follows a path that is similar to his in that sense and doesn’t encounter any harm along the way.

Lorber says that

“transvestites and transsexuals do not challenge the social construction of gender. their goal is to be feminine women and masculine men.? (45)

I think that this is the main difference between Patrick and Noah. Patrick strived to be feminine and wanted to pass as a woman and in the end, he succeeded in doing so. However, I don’t think trying to be a girl is Noah’s goal. Right now, he doesn’t bother himself with others’ questions of what he’s doing. He just knows why he’s doing the things that he does, and that is simply because he likes toys and clothes that are associated with little girls. I don’t think he’s trying to be a girl; to me, it doesn’t seem like Noah is doing these things with the idea that he wants to be a girl. He is genderblurring what is normalized for boys and girls and he is not letting what society perceives as right for a little boy dictate his actions.