With odds showing Felicity Huffman in the race to win an oscar for her role in Transamerica it seems like as good a time as any to pull out this dead horse and beat it with some great quotes from Feministe. (it's a great thread that you should check out in it's entirety - I'm just pulling quotes relevant to Transamerica for easy digestion). I know it breaks taboo to be down on the latest queer film - we're supposed to pile on support to keep these thing coming, but I can't help it that Jesus made me so damned critical. First, new Feministe blogger Piny:
It was like watching a madcap romantic comedy about a transman’s hilariously ill-starred attempts to get to the post office and retrieve his mail-order penis in time for his wedding...
You introduce a tranny in the first act, there’s gotta be a vicious assault by the third.
It was disheartening to see a movie that accepted totally uncritically the idea that a transperson’s life can–or should–be divided in a straightforward way between Before and After. Bree deserved better treatment than that.
Duncan Tucker made a lot of concessions to the contrivance of dramatic arch that trivialize the trans experience in this film. Commenter StacyM articulates another stereotype the film relied on that I missed entirely:
There is a stereotype that pops up now and again that portrays transsexuals as dishonest, deceptive people. (I suppose that this stems from the prejudicial notion that we are not truly the gender/sex that we claim to be.) I worry that this movie, on some level, will play into this stereotype. While the movie resolves this issue in a fairly humane fashion, I still worry about it.
Really just saddens me. The more I think and read about this film - which is being hailed as some kind of monumental leap forward in trans representation - the less I like it. It might be a sympathetic representation, but it carries so much hegemonic baggage that I wonder if it really matters? Is it laughing at or with it's trans protagonist? Is it trying to play the audience so that you could either laugh at or with, depending on your point of view? Again, this is asking a lot of one film, but with so few images out there, I think this film has more responsibility than the makers want it to...