Didgeridon't Believe It's Racist

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According to Aitken, Lukinbeal, and Robertson, "The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert" celebrates the fluidity of gay and trans identities and is at the very same time a very gender conservative movie - reinforcing white male supremacy and misogeny in the characters of Mitzie, Felicia and Bernadette. How do you see this working in "The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert"? Select one scene and analyze. How does this affect you as the spectator?

I agree with Robertson's argument about the misogynic treatment of Shirley and Cynthia in Priscilla. However, it is the scene at the Aboriginal camp that I find a few flaws in Robertson's while male supremacist argument. According to Robertson, the scene where Mitzie, Felicia and Bernadette perform for the Aboriginals asserts a view about white authority. He explains that the "Aboriginal characters react but, aside from Alan, do not interact"(280). He cites this as a reason why the scene is racist, and also states that it "provides no insight into Aboriginal culture" (280). However, compared to our insights into the culture of the people in the small towns they visited, even the people in Alice Springs, we are given more insight at that camp than anywhere else in the film. Robertson finds it a problem that Alan speaks for the group. However, Alan is a much more reliable spokesperson than Bob was for his community. Alan brings them to perform, and their performance is warming accepted, Alan even joins in. Bob, on the other hand gets them to perform, but does not speak true for his community and the show is a disaster, they are not accepted. Also, Bob may be allowed to become a romantic interest for Bernadette when Alan is not allowed to be a romantic interest for Tick (280), but Alan is allowed to join in the performance where Bob is not. This privilege is not given to anyone else in the entire film, and I would argue it is actually a more important privilege than being allowed to become romantically involved with one of the drag queens. Robertson claims that the Aboriginals do not "interact," but I believe the way they all join in the performance negates that claim. They may not all get to dance, but they add their music. Robertson mentions the didgeridoo player as "sign" of Aboriginality, claiming racism in the act of adding him into the disco number (281). I see this act, not as an abuse of a cultural stereotype, but as another way in which the Aboriginal people interacted with the performance, and as a way to provide insight into their culture, two things Robertson says do not happen in this scene. I understand his point, but do not view this scene the same way. I saw it as two minorities sharing their cultures with one another, not one dominating the other.

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This page contains a single entry by turtle21 published on November 9, 2011 3:38 PM.

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