Urban and Rural People

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In our two viewings of tran-cinema road film ("Priscilla" and "To Wong Foo'), the binary between rural and urban settings creates a way of reading homophobia and transphobia in the city and in the country. How are rural and country people areas represented in these films? Give one example. Do these films exemplify a queer bias against rural areas, a kind of rural-phobia? Do you think this is fair or unfair?

Rural people in "Priscilla" are portrayed as ignorant and closed-off individuals who stereotype against others who are different from the way they are or do not fall under the 'normal' category. In one scene, Felicia, Bernadette and Mitzi stop at a bar in a remote town and they instantly attract death glares and negative slurs from the locals. In the same scene, a butch lesbian comes at them and Bernadette puts her in her place in front of the rest of the locals at the bar. Moreover, their bus was spray painted with homophobic comments as a result they later painted it lavender. Some of the rural people in the film "To Wong Foo" welcome Vida, Noxeema and Chi-Chi with open arms and show them hospitality. For example, Carol Ann welcomed them into her home despite having a husband who beat her. There were rural people the drag queens met that were not friendly nor tolerant of the drag queen lifestyle such as the police officer. However, what really showed a different side of rural people is when the small town folks faced the homophobic and transgender police officer who was in pursuit of the drag queens, proving their tolerance, respect and love.
I think that "Priscilla" illustrates a queer bias against rural areas to a certain extent because it makes the assumption that all rural people are the same, which is not true because it is possible to have some individuals that counter-act the believes of the majority. On the other hand, "To Wong Foo" displays both the negative and positive attitudes of rural people towards transgenders and homosexuals. In contrast, the country or city people in "Priscilla" welcome Felicia, Bernadette and Mitzi and the whole drag-show entertainment, giving us the notion that people in the city are open-minded and not conservative. Similarly, in " To Wong Foo" we realize that Vida, Noxeema and Chi-Chi are outside their comfort zones when they head out of New York city and are vulnerable to judgement on their way to Hollywood. Nevertheless, the film gives a non-biased representation of rural people because we get to see their negative and positive views of drag queens and homosexuals.

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This page contains a single entry by Silver published on November 30, 2011 11:36 PM.

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