Boys Don't Cry Analysis

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09/29/09 The film “Boys Don’t Cry” is a powerful work of art, made more visceral by the fact that it is all based on a true story. It tells the tale of Teena Brandon, a young woman whose natural attraction to other girls leads her to live her life as a male under the alias “Brandon Teena”. It tells of the discrimination and even violence she encounters based on her sexuality, and her ultimately fatal attraction to another young woman named Lana Tisdel. One aspect of the film that interested me was Teena’s overall personality, influenced by her confusion of what gender she is and what gender she wants to be. She clearly is sexually attracted to girls, and identifies with herself as a boy. Throughout the film she tries to prove her masculinity, such as when she starts a bar fight over a girl, and when she participates in “tow-truck surfing”. In contrast, though, there are moments where she displays very feminine traits that seem to come much more naturally. She talks sweetly to children. She shows more compassion to the women in the film than any of the men do. She displays fear and obedience when a cop begins to pull her over, unlike the men she’s surrounded by. Her sexual preference is not ambiguous - her sexual identity is. In the end, Lana discovers that Teena has female genitalia, but claims that she loves her anyway. This makes me wonder if we’re meant to see Lana as a potential lesbian as well. According to my research, the real Lana Tisdel discontinued her relationship with Teena after the discovery. Therefore, the fact that they stay together in the film must have been an aesthetic choice made by the filmmakers. Why they chose to do this is a mystery to me. Perhaps they wanted to emphasize a point relating to the power of love over physical attraction. Regardless of the truth over that matter, the fact that Teena was raped and shot to death by her

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