Sunday, May 2, 2010

But I'm a Cheerleader

Pointing out inequality in the sexes is a way to bring the injustice in to the light, but it can be a catch 22 when the point you try to make falls back into the given stereotypes. The movie “But I’m a Cheerleader,” attempts to show the gender roles women and men have been put into, and how those roles are supposed to shape one’s sexuality. In this movie, Megan, who is a cheerleader, gets sent to a camp that can “cure” her of her lesbianism. However, everyone but Megan seems to be aware that Megan is a lesbian. Because Megan is a vegetarian and she doesn’t enjoy kissing her boyfriend and she has pictures of women in her locker instead of men, she has to be a lesbian. The movie helps bring to light many of the socially constructed rules about gender and sexuality. For instance, the teens enrolled in the camp went through “gender identity” sessions where each group (boys and girls) participated in activities meant for their gender. The girls learned how to clean and take care of children while the boys learned about sports and warfare. It also shows that society believes that sexuality is something that you choose based on an event of some sort that happened in your life not something you were born with. The teens were all forced to find a “root” or origin to their homosexuality. One character, Jan, was probably the most tragic case of them all. She was a stereotypical butch lesbian. Her root was that she had been molested as a child, but what is most shocking about her is the fact that she is not a lesbian. This label was put on her because of her appearance. Though the movie sheds light on the wrongs of gender roles and homophobia, it also solidifies stereotypes against homosexuals. The homosexual men in this movie were portrayed as feminine according to the social constructs already in place. A man who is feminine must like other men and a man who is masculine cannot like other men. By implementing this stereotype the creators of this movie have used standards defined by the oppressors and used those standards to define the people being oppressed. They essentially ended up using the master’s tools, and because of this the message sent by the movie gets pushed a step further, but the means of presenting the movie cause it to be pulled two steps back.

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