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Rethinking Normal: Analyzing the Cultural Constructed-ness of Gender in the films Its a Boy Girl Thing and Ma Vie en Rose (My Life in Pink)

Author Name(s):

Sreelekshmi J.

 

Research Scholar, Chikkaiah Naicker College, Erode.

Abstract

In the proposed research paper entitled Rethinking Normal: Analyzing the Cultural Constructed-ness of Gender in the films Its a Boy Girl Thing and Ma Vie en Rose (My Life in Pink), an attempt is made to understand how the American theorist Judith Butler’s theories on the fluid nature of gender is exemplified in the movies. In a haste to deem almost everything in terms of binaries like black and white the middling spot of grey is often ignored. Ma Vie en Rose tells the story of Ludovic, a child who is biologically identified by everyone as a boy but consistently demands to be recognized as a girl. The film depicts the child’s stifled, rudimentary existence and ineffectual attempts to gain the gender identity he\she desires. It also shows the family’s struggle to accept this transgressive gender expression. The other movie, Its a Boy Girl Thing is a romantic comedy where one fine morning, a teenage boy and a girl, who are neighbors as well as childhood acquaintances, wake up in each other’s bodies due to the working of a magic spell. Though humorously, the movie aptly portrays how almost impossible is it to live with a male mind in a female body and vice versa. The culturally constructed gender notions require both of them to acquire the traits pertaining to the gender identified through their ‘new’ bodies. What both the movies unfold in different ways are the way in which our society prefers to conceive notions of gender only in terms of binaries. Those who are neither this nor that are never given space or acceptance. The very notion of gender requires one to act only in ways that befits either of the two genders- male or female. A child like Ludovic or a girlish Woody or a boyish Nell will have to face reluctance instead of acceptance because of which they are forced to change and somehow fit themselves into the established heterosexual framework. Hence this paper makes a reading of these movies along the lines of Judith Butler’s theory of ‘performativity of gender’. According to the theorist gender is a cultural construct rather than a biological fact and hence the futility of the various attempts to contain and control the varied ‘other’ genders.

 

Keywords: gender identity, performativity, Judith Butler, constructedness, gender queer

 

Please cite this article as: Sreelekshmi J. (2021) Rethinking Normal: Analyzing the Cultural Constructed-ness of Gender in the films Its a Boy Girl Thing and Ma Vie en Rose (My Life in Pink). International Journal of Recent Research and Applied Studies, 8- 5(2), 4-8