‘The street's getting worse everyday here. The whores were bad enough but the drags are wiping us out. I can't stand the drags. (…). They confuse transvestism with a circus. Worse, with mime'. In All About My Mother (Almodovar; 1999), the character Agrado stresses the importance of distinction between cross-dressing, transvestism, and drag. Indeed, Bruzzi (1997 :147) defines cross-dressing as ‘the questioning and blurring of gender identities that occurs when characters do not wear the clothes deemed socially appropriate to their sex' while Stoller argues that ‘transvestism should only refer to fetishist cross-dressing' and ‘drag' is exclusively applied to cross-dressing as theatrical performance' (1985 :176 in Bruzzi ; 1997 : 149). In the mainstream cross-dressing comedy, the male dresses as a woman to generate comic effect based on the ridicule, whereas in the French film Ma Vie en Rose (Berliner; 1997), the implications of a little boy thinking he is a girl are explored, while All About my Mother provides us with a more accurate representation of the world of transvestites and transsexuals.
[...] Indeed, the mainstream cross-dressing comedy finds reasons to dismiss the potential danger of cross-dressing, while independent and foreign films such as Ma Vie en Rose and All About My Mother tend to offer a representation which is crude and possibly more accurate. Dyer's idea that representation of women and other oppressed groups was, and by and large still is, a relentless parade of insults.' (1993:1) is acknowledged in such films where an effort is made to break the taboos concerning cross-dressers, transvestites, and transsexuals. Bibliography Ackroyd, P Dressing up, Transvestism and Drag: The history of an obsession. London: Thames and Hudson, p All About My Mother by Pedro Almodovar. Bell-Metereau, R Hollywood Androgyny. [...]
[...] In Search of Eve: Transsexual Rites of Passage, p in Lorber, J Paradoxes of Gender. Yale: Yale University Press, p Bruzzi, S Undressing Cinema: Clothing and Identity in the Movies. London: Routledge, pp. xx, 147- Dyer, R The Matter of Images: Essays on Representation. London: Routledge, p.1. Everything you always wanted to know about sex* but were afraid to ask by Woody Allen. Haskell, M From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, p. [...]
[...] All the clichés of cross-dressing are applied as the white married male finds himself in a compromising situation and has to adopt a ridiculous female voice and hide his moustache. The common element to these films is that the men cross-dress as older women, which also makes the change of clothes easier to laugh at and not offend the audience. Indeed Tasker (1998:28) argues that possibility of older women being sexually active is acknowledged and ridiculed in the misrecognised ‘moms' of Tootsie and Mrs Doubtfire'. [...]
[...] Their core gender identity is male; that is, they know their bodies are male, that they have been assigned since birth to the male sex, that they were reared as males, and that all the world unequivocally considers them to be and always to have been males (Stoller; 1985: 30 in Bruzzi; 1997:150) Indeed, his sister explains the biological differences between a boy and a girl; although she admits herself that she does not know what he is. Ludo then has a vision of what happened when he was born and explains it to his love interest Jerome: Don't you get it? [...]
[...] But one of the most troubling events occurs during the school play where Ludo is a dwarf but he locks Snow White in the bathroom so that he can take her costume and be kissed by Jerome. He is uncovered and people stand up, watching them leave in disgust. This points out to society's expectations in terms of gender codes and behaviour. Indeed, as Bruzzi (1997:149) expresses, ‘dress codes have been conditioned by a belief that clothes should solidify gender identity, not question it'. Thus, when Ludo puts his boxer shorts the wrong way around, it could be seen as a simple mistake for a seven year old but his mother takes it as a sign. [...]
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