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Author Topic: SPOILER FREE--Cultural Impact of the film/book  (Read 21654 times)

Offline cythera4

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Re: SPOILER FREE--Cultural Impact of the film/book
« Reply #30 on: February 06, 2006, 12:39:35 PM »
This is a carry over from the increasingly off topic "The Reunion Scene" thread

I think - and I don't want to put words in people's mouths - that the marginalization comes in when we bill the movie as a universal story tryiing to divorce the boys' homosexuality from the preceedings. Also, by having this movie 'cross over' into the main stream and everyone goes out of their way to show their acceptance because the two men in question behave like what our perceptions of manhood are. It kind of indirectly imply "Hey, at least their not swishy."

I don't think I explained that very well. My own thougts are that whatever gets you to see the film is fine. Once you're in it you will see men loving and your face won't melt off a la Raders of the Lost Ark so it's alright and it doesn't put gay men in the position of being a minstrel (W&G) and they aren't just banging each other like bunnies like (QaF). It's just just so lovely.†

Yes, recall the way Oprah vilely mocked "swishy, lisping" gay men and praised the film for not showing them. It is just too easy to force our effeminate brothers back in the closet because those of us masculine-acting gay men can get crossover validation from the movie. That threat is very real and shouldn't be discounted. It's also an issue that women should get exercised about b/c it's basically misogynistic, implying that acting "feminine" is somehow trivial and repulsive, whereas being butch and studly is triumphantly good. I think the movie is smart enough to avoid this pitfall: Ennis's efforts to act "like a man" are sadly misguided, leading only to violence against others (bikers at the fireworks) and himself (fight outside the bar). The more "feminine" Jack (compassionate, self-accepting, able to express emotions) is a target of violence, as the movie shows. To take the film as a validation of "masculine" gay men is to miss its point entirely. 

Offline HerrKaiser

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Re: SPOILER FREE--Cultural Impact of the film/book
« Reply #31 on: February 06, 2006, 01:40:13 PM »
This is a carry over from the increasingly off topic "The Reunion Scene" thread

I think - and I don't want to put words in people's mouths - that the marginalization comes in when we bill the movie as a universal story tryiing to divorce the boys' homosexuality from the preceedings. Also, by having this movie 'cross over' into the main stream and everyone goes out of their way to show their acceptance because the two men in question behave like what our perceptions of manhood are. It kind of indirectly imply "Hey, at least their not swishy."

I don't think I explained that very well. My own thougts are that whatever gets you to see the film is fine. Once you're in it you will see men loving and your face won't melt off a la Raders of the Lost Ark so it's alright and it doesn't put gay men in the position of being a minstrel (W&G) and they aren't just banging each other like bunnies like (QaF). It's just just so lovely.†

Yes, recall the way Oprah vilely mocked "swishy, lisping" gay men and praised the film for not showing them. It is just too easy to force our effeminate brothers back in the closet because those of us masculine-acting gay men can get crossover validation from the movie. That threat is very real and shouldn't be discounted. It's also an issue that women should get exercised about b/c it's basically misogynistic, implying that acting "feminine" is somehow trivial and repulsive, whereas being butch and studly is triumphantly good. I think the movie is smart enough to avoid this pitfall: Ennis's efforts to act "like a man" are sadly misguided, leading only to violence against others (bikers at the fireworks) and himself (fight outside the bar). The more "feminine" Jack (compassionate, self-accepting, able to express emotions) is a target of violence, as the movie shows. To take the film as a validation of "masculine" gay men is to miss its point entirely.†

SqualCloud is in my opinion on target. thanks for your thoughts and insights. I generally agree also with Cythra, with some notable exceptions, however. Parenthetically, I did not know Oprah made these comments; so wierd for her! She is surrounded by gay men.

Cythra, where I am coming from is to discuss what the movie is, rather than is not. It IS about masculine men, not about the stereotypes. As such, I do not believe that it attempts to "force" effeminate gays back into the closet. On the contrary, it serves to provide the hallo effect on all gay men that the, finally, opened door on how a truly loving gay relationship can be. As in any form of "selling" (and that is what social change ultimately boils down to), one has to being with a point or points that allow the prospective audience to accept what you are going to say and present.

As I pointed out before, when Spencer Tracy and Kate Hepburn's daughter brought home Sidney Portier, who wouldn't have embraced the idea? A rich, educated, fabulous looking black man! It set the stage for consideration so that in the real world, people were accepting of bringing home much less attractive, much less rich, much less educated black people because of their essence and good human qualities.

The film avoids the "pitfall" of feminine men as being repulsive because there is no such pitfall. Where is this pitfall? Not in W&G; not in QasFolk; not in Bird Cage etc etc.

I also do not consider Ennis' machismo as misguided. His fight with the bikers was protecting his family and surely not an random act of violence against others. His attack on the trucker outside the bar was indeed brutal, but it wasn't his desire to be seen as a man here, he was simply and utterly raging mad and started kicking things around.

Lastly, labeling men who are compassionate, self-accepting, exrpessive of emotion, etc as "feminine" only underscores the stereotyping I think you (all of us in fact) are trying to overcome. We do not know if Jack was really the target of violence but if he was, I doubt very much if his compassion and love for Ennis was the cause.

The film is, in part, a validation that there are "regular" men--the masculine men who is unknown to be gay--who can fall in love in spite of their having chosen a non-gay lifestyle. From this, the movie makes its major point that "forbidden" love is something that can be found and nurtured.

Offline cythera4

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Re: SPOILER FREE--Cultural Impact of the film/book
« Reply #32 on: February 06, 2006, 01:46:00 PM »
Cythra, where I am coming from is to discuss what the movie is, rather than is not. It IS about masculine men, not about the stereotypes. As such, I do not believe that it attempts to "force" effeminate gays back into the closet. On the contrary, it serves to provide the hallo effect on all gay men that the, finally, opened door on how a truly loving gay relationship can be. As in any form of "selling" (and that is what social change ultimately boils down to), one has to being with a point or points that allow the prospective audience to accept what you are going to say and present.

As I pointed out before, when Spencer Tracy and Kate Hepburn's daughter brought home Sidney Portier, who wouldn't have embraced the idea? A rich, educated, fabulous looking black man! It set the stage for consideration so that in the real world, people were accepting of bringing home much less attractive, much less rich, much less educated black people because of their essence and good human qualities.

The film avoids the "pitfall" of feminine men as being repulsive because there is no such pitfall. Where is this pitfall? Not in W&G; not in QasFolk; not in Bird Cage etc etc.

I also do not consider Ennis' machismo as misguided. His fight with the bikers was protecting his family and surely not an random act of violence against others. His attack on the trucker outside the bar was indeed brutal, but it wasn't his desire to be seen as a man here, he was simply and utterly raging mad and started kicking things around.

Lastly, labeling men who are compassionate, self-accepting, exrpessive of emotion, etc as "feminine" only underscores the stereotyping I think you (all of us in fact) are trying to overcome. We do not know if Jack was really the target of violence but if he was, I doubt very much if his compassion and love for Ennis was the cause.

The film is, in part, a validation that there are "regular" men--the masculine men who is unknown to be gay--who can fall in love in spite of their having chosen a non-gay lifestyle. From this, the movie makes its major point that "forbidden" love is something that can be found and nurtured.

I'm not blaming the movie for this, but rather people who read the movie in the way you're reading it. The movie is actually much more complex than you're giving it credit for. It's as much about the limitations of gender roles and attitudes as it is about sexual orientation. I understand that you believe yourself to be valiantly battling stereotypes, but you're actually affirming them: Ennis was a strong *man* when he fought the bikers, for instance. (presumably an effeminate man would have run away shrieking.)

I think this argument has reached its end. There's really not much more I can say to you. But I'm glad the movie makes you feel that your non-gay lifestyle can be found and nurtured.

Offline cythera4

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Re: SPOILER FREE--Cultural Impact of the film/book
« Reply #33 on: February 06, 2006, 02:07:37 PM »
One last point: I was not identifying Jack as feminine in some objective sense (hence the quote marks), but registering the fact that he is so identified by the Texans he deals with, especially the men, who sense weakness in him because he isn't into typical, kneejerk macho displays. This is a cultural coding of Jack as feminine that the script makes pretty clear is in play. What the movie is arguing is that such a view is a horrible straitjacket for men to wear, forcing them to deny their impulses to tenderness and affection in the urge to be seen as "stud duck."

Offline HerrKaiser

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Re: SPOILER FREE--Cultural Impact of the film/book
« Reply #34 on: February 06, 2006, 02:16:54 PM »
Cythra, where I am coming from is to discuss what the movie is, rather than is not. It IS about masculine men, not about the stereotypes. As such, I do not believe that it attempts to "force" effeminate gays back into the closet. On the contrary, it serves to provide the hallo effect on all gay men that the, finally, opened door on how a truly loving gay relationship can be. As in any form of "selling" (and that is what social change ultimately boils down to), one has to being with a point or points that allow the prospective audience to accept what you are going to say and present.

As I pointed out before, when Spencer Tracy and Kate Hepburn's daughter brought home Sidney Portier, who wouldn't have embraced the idea? A rich, educated, fabulous looking black man! It set the stage for consideration so that in the real world, people were accepting of bringing home much less attractive, much less rich, much less educated black people because of their essence and good human qualities.

The film avoids the "pitfall" of feminine men as being repulsive because there is no such pitfall. Where is this pitfall? Not in W&G; not in QasFolk; not in Bird Cage etc etc.

I also do not consider Ennis' machismo as misguided. His fight with the bikers was protecting his family and surely not an random act of violence against others. His attack on the trucker outside the bar was indeed brutal, but it wasn't his desire to be seen as a man here, he was simply and utterly raging mad and started kicking things around.

Lastly, labeling men who are compassionate, self-accepting, exrpessive of emotion, etc as "feminine" only underscores the stereotyping I think you (all of us in fact) are trying to overcome. We do not know if Jack was really the target of violence but if he was, I doubt very much if his compassion and love for Ennis was the cause.

The film is, in part, a validation that there are "regular" men--the masculine men who is unknown to be gay--who can fall in love in spite of their having chosen a non-gay lifestyle. From this, the movie makes its major point that "forbidden" love is something that can be found and nurtured.

I'm not blaming the movie for this, but rather people who read the movie in the way you're reading it. The movie is actually much more complex than you're giving it credit for. It's as much about the limitations of gender roles and attitudes as it is about sexual orientation. I understand that you believe yourself to be valiantly battling stereotypes, but you're actually affirming them: Ennis was a strong *man* when he fought the bikers, for instance. (presumably an effeminate man would have run away shrieking.)

I think this argument has reached its end. There's really not much more I can say to you. But I'm glad the movie makes you feel that your non-gay lifestyle can be found and nurtured.


Once again, I am missing your point. You have made much effort to point out the labels (stereotypes) of gay people and their particular behaviors and affectations. Delineating such underscores their existence; do you think no one will notice an effeminate man? Or a macho man? Should people pretent they do not exist? I think this is the Emperors New Clothes. Knowing that they are there does NOT affirm stereotypes in a discriminating way. It simply acknowledges their existence. If this was not true, people would abandon the "gay" label.

On one level you have stressed the non-universality of the film; now you imply it has much more expansive subplots than are obvious.

It reduces the value of this great film to criticize it for being uninclusive of the "effeminate gay man" that you feel needs support and validation. Surely such men need societal endorsement, and this film can lead to such, but BBM is a story about a different set of personalities and lifestyles. Sorry! This is all about engaging so-called "middle America" into the notion and beauty of man to man love versus the politics of the gay community.


Offline cythera4

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Re: SPOILER FREE--Cultural Impact of the film/book
« Reply #35 on: February 06, 2006, 02:23:45 PM »
It reduces the value of this great film to criticize it for being uninclusive of the "effeminate gay man" that you feel needs support and validation. Surely such men need societal endorsement, and this film can lead to such, but BBM is a story about a different set of personalities and lifestyles. Sorry! This is all about engaging so-called "middle America" into the notion and beauty of man to man love versus the politics of the gay community.

Well, I would hope the movie had a larger agenda than this. How very sad and impoverished if that's all it's about. But let's stop arguing. It isn't fun and neither one of us is going to be persuaded. Enjoy your version of the movie (Middle America loves you!), and I will enjoy mine.

Offline HerrKaiser

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Re: SPOILER FREE--Cultural Impact of the film/book
« Reply #36 on: February 06, 2006, 02:30:18 PM »
No reason to be so elitest and demeaning. Sorry it my opinions cause you to lash out and reject diversity. :(

Offline cythera4

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Re: SPOILER FREE--Cultural Impact of the film/book
« Reply #37 on: February 06, 2006, 02:31:21 PM »
No reason to be so elitest and demeaning. Sorry it my opinions cause you to lash out and reject diversity. :(

Yes, I do so hate diversity. It actually makes me sick to my stomach.

Offline SquallCloud

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Re: SPOILER FREE--Cultural Impact of the film/book
« Reply #38 on: February 07, 2006, 11:18:13 AM »
Everybody play nice!

I just would like to add that after viewing the movie with my sister and a friend the other week (Friend 1st time, Sister 2nd Time, Me 4th time) we were really attracted to this idea that neither Jack nor Ennis were locked into certain roles. My friend first said "Jack is such a lady." but then she amended that. She was like "Actually , no I loved how this was a unique way of looking at love. No gender rolls for anyone. Jack is nurturing to Ennis. This could be seen as womanly. Ennis is nurturing to Jack as well. This is the spoiler free section so I wont' site examples. Just think about the first 30 minutes and see the different ways they perform traditionally womanly tasks for one another. Also, think about how the sex is depicted. I was actually shocked two fold by the sex because a) I didn't know that it was going to happen b) I was surprised at the configuration of it c) It was so hot and intense. That last bit doesn't go into making my point I just had to give the scene it's props :D

Seriously though, I think that *some* people (*cough* Oprah *cough*) may miss the mark and herald the essential maleness of the characters as something special and acceptable and a thumbing of the nose at what they consider "fags" BUT what Jake said back to Oprah when she made that inflamatory statement (I think she was just clueless. I don't think she meant any real harm.) was so on point. He spoke about how people were undecided about who was the "woman" in the relationship and he's like "What are they talking about. It's the boxing in of people that this movie is against."  Also, I remember him talking about reporters who are like "It's really more of a friendship." and he was like "No, it's not. They are men. They have sex with each other."

Go tell it on the mountain brother Jacob.

Offline HerrKaiser

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Re: SPOILER FREE--Cultural Impact of the film/book
« Reply #39 on: February 08, 2006, 08:31:54 AM »
Good points, SqaullCloud (love that name!), and I tend to agree. The whole arena of so-called "gender roles" is one that is very tough to wrestle with throughout society because of both genetic makeup as well as encultured predispositions that have been established and validated for centuries. The "roles" people play, however, do not, to me, have to suggest or imply any particular style of behavior. How popular was "Mr. Mom" or "Three Men and a Baby" wherein no suggestion of effeminacy or gayness was put forth?

Likewise, but on the other side of the coin, just because Jack and Ennis perform traditional female duties--cooking, setting up camp--does not, to me, create any sort of indication what they were at the core. The cooks on Navy ships do not have to be gay!  ;) 

I did not see the Oprah show, but it sure seems she missed the boat. Going way back in time to the early-mid 1970s when most of America (and the world) was getting its first glimpses of the fact that a gay culture/underground existed, there was a general opiinion that between two men, one was the woman and one was the man. In large part, the image, of gay men was one that heavily suggested the queen motif that tended to validate this view. Hollywood was not helpful over the years in responding to this stereotype, and helped, actually, to validate it because many drag queen and effeminate gay comedy is truly funny. The problem was that most people, I think, did not know there was another aspect to the manner in which gay men relate to each other.

Hence, BBM breaks through like an explosion. It is truly an eye-opener. You're right, SquallCloud, that Oprah probably meant no harm, she just showed that she was not as worldly and smart as she thinks she is. But, her comment allowed Jake to make his point which underscored the point that the film demonstrates the universality of human love regardess of the gender or roles (or other labels) anyone would choose to attach to two individuals.

We've done studies with the gov to also help understand how self-identified straight men who have sex with other men look at themselves and their lives as well as the impression other have of them. Oprah has done a couple shows on this, too, expecially among the black community, as she appeared less ingnorant at those times.

Offline TheEnigmatik1

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Re: SPOILER FREE--Cultural Impact of the film/book
« Reply #40 on: February 08, 2006, 09:55:18 AM »
Bingo, HerrKaiser-

I find it personally distressing that SO many people, both gay and straight, are hung up on gender roles in the first place. Even within our own community there is a very apparent divide between ourselves. The whole "butch" vs. "fem" thing is so 90s and is played out. Why is it so complicated to accept people based on who we are, not how we act? What difference does it make whether we act one way or another...when it's all said and done we're all gay and more importantly, we're all human. I apologize for my idealism here, but that's just part of my charm, I guess...lol. Actually, I do not apologize for my idealism. Because even though it isn't how things ARE, it's how they SHOULD BE.

To compound matters, there are probably more of us who walk the line between butch and fem to varying degrees. We often fall by the wayside completely because we don't fit firmly into any one, nice stereotype for people to slap on our backs. Honestly, how can we expect society at large to accept us as we are when we as a community are incapable of accepting each other. And don't give me that we do accept each other nonsense because we sure as hell don't like we should. How many "straight-acting" guys do you know who won't associate with, or have blatant disdain for "queens" and vice versa?

Honestly, until this nonsense stops we will progress as a community no further.

And for the record, I'm one of the forgotten line-walkers although I do lean a bit more one way than the other.  ;)


Offline aceygirl

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Re: SPOILER FREE--Cultural Impact of the film/book
« Reply #41 on: February 08, 2006, 12:33:48 PM »

Hi--Wasn't sure which thread was best for this link, but this one seems to fit the bill, with its discussion of gay stereotypes, gender roles, etc. Here's another interesting perspective from a gay columnist for the Advocate:

http://www.advocate.com/exclusive_detail.asp?id=25028

Offline DKNL

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« Reply #42 on: February 08, 2006, 01:28:45 PM »
Not sure if this is the right place to post this.  Jay Leno mentioned this last night, and here is the article.  Just shows you how big the impact of the film has been.  Personally I would love to see Brad Pitt as a gay leading man! :)

http://www.247gay.com/article.cfm?section=66&id=8329

Offline TexRob

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Re: SPOILER FREE--Cultural Impact of the film/book
« Reply #43 on: February 09, 2006, 01:11:11 PM »
The impact of BBM on gay men is of greater interest to me.†
...

If I may use a racial analogy, I believe expression of homosexuality in† American entertainment is still in its Amos & Andy phase.† Iím hoping that BBM is the first light that a change is about to come.



Hi Sactopete --

For me (gay), war is a good analogy. 

It's feels as if we were fighting a savage enemy with hand grenades one day, then woke up the next and realized we had an atomic bomb.




Offline HerrKaiser

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Re: SPOILER FREE--Cultural Impact of the film/book
« Reply #44 on: February 10, 2006, 08:42:53 AM »
Hi TexRob,
Interested...what do you mean by "war" and the grenades and a-bomb analogies? thanks!