Analysis Of But I M A Cheerleader

2071 Words 9 Pages
This essay intends to analyse the 1999 film ‘But I’m a Cheerleader’. The film explores many different themes with a focus on sexuality, gender and family. It makes use of exaggerated stereotypes, specific costuming styles and set design in order to highlight and emphasise certain aspects of characters and the issues discussed within then film. The story follows Megan who was unwillingly sent to an almost comedic version of a Conversion Therapy camp by her parents; it is from here that the meat of these themes can be analysed from within the film. These reoccurring themes throughout the film can be linked to youth transitions in the ways in which they explore the issues highlighted, therefore this essay will make use of differing analytical …show more content…
During the film the youth are separated and given coloured uniforms that fit their ‘gender’ then given chores dictated by their gender, such as house work for girls and cutting wood for boys. This is a form of performing gender, one with the intention of setting the gay youth straight. The Butch character, Jan, performs gender in a way that suggests her sexuality as Lesbian. However her ways of dressing do not reflect her sexuality as she realises she really doesn’t have any interest in dating women. The therapists don’t believe her as they see gender performance and sexuality as irrevocably linked. The book, ‘Gender Roles: A Sociological Perspective’, Linda L Lindsey 2016, discusses gender roles in marriage much in the same way it was performed in the film. “When normative role behaviour becomes to rigidly defined, our freedom of action is often comprised”. Judith Butler is well known for her writings on Gender and Performance and in her article ‘Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory’, she disputes the linking of gender to biological components of being and instead understood the body as an ‘active process of embodying certain cultural and historical possibilities’, meaning the ways in which one understand themselves, their gender and the roles they wish to take upon …show more content…
Throughout the plot Megan’s parents, as well as the parents of the other teens, are constantly brought in to converse with the teens as they progress through their ‘conversion therapy’. Within the film that, as part of the five step system to ‘becoming’ a heterosexual, utilises family as a theme in which to discuss sexuality and gender. There is a small moment after the film has ended where Megan’s parents can be seen attending a “Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays” meeting. At this meeting the parents have two very separate, contradictory attitudes towards accepting their daughter’s sexuality. The father stands at front of the gathered crowd and proudly proclaims his support while the mother sits at the back of the group clearly embarrassed and uncomfortable. These representations of reactions are commonly experienced by many gay youth as are reactions of Graham’s and Dolf’s parents who abandon and disown them. According to the above mentioned study ‘Parental Reactions to Their Child 's Disclosure of a Gay/Lesbian Identity’ there are often several stages parents will emotionally experience after a child has come out to them. These stages are as follows; Shock, Denial and Isolation, Anger,

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