On Friday my friend Jess and I went to watch The Danish Girl on the cinema.
Ill try not to give any spoilers but this is based on a true story so if you know any history on the subject you might know already.
The real impact of this film on me comes from the fact that it is a true story! And it makes me sort of inspired by someone’s courage, in a time where something is unheard of, to go against the norms and do something that makes you happy! I feel this is what this film reflects overal, do what makes you happy no matter what!
I cant say however that I loved this film throughout. In some places me and Jess agreed it was uncomfortable to watch, – watching someone’s exploration of their gender, body and sexuality! Of course because it is very personal. However on reflection the fact that it made me feel uncomfortable shows how good the film is! Because we feel uncomfortable when we are forced to think about things that are (arguably) still a taboo subject and about something I don’t actually understand! This however is what I feel people should do on a daly basis! (Not in relation to gender and sexuality!! Just everyday things and also our judgements and prejudices.) I learnt a lot from my degree to challenge what people think, the assumptions they make. This could be like not bothering to vote, sighing impatiently at a crying baby and a mother, or assuming women should only work in nurseries (trust many people still think that) or automatically sitting next to a white women and not a mixed race man. To point out a few things that still happen in society according to surveys and social experiments. That’s why if we talk about it and challenge (in a relaxed sense) and make people feel slightly uncomfortable it can help to cause change in societal norms/assumptions.
I cant pretend that I can even begin to offer empathy and understanding to someone who feels that they are the wrong sex. In this case the man felt he was actually a straight woman in a mans body. Which is an odd concept for me to understand how that would feel and why. But my respect for Lilly is very high and I think her story is amazing.
However we are now in 2016 and I know that in the 1920s they did not think Lilly was amazing. Therefore I did feel sympathetic when thinking how difficult it would be to be different back then. It’s hard enough now I would imagine but at least we have improved from putting people in straight jackets just for being transgender!!!
On another note myself and Jess actually felt just as, if not more sorry for his wife. She must have felt like she lost her husband. That essentially the man she knew had died. Yet not. It is such a different unusual situation I cannot begin to understand how it feels. However our empathy was higher for her as I think everyone can understand what it feels like to loose someone. Yet my sympathy and empathy for her husband in his time of confusion and frustration was quite little. Is that wrong? Does that make me narrow minded? Prejudice? Or just shows my own confusion at trying to understand someone’s feelings?
I think the latter. And the fact that I am reflecting on how the film made me feel is a positive thing – challenging and reflecting on my thinking.
On considering the word transgender does this just encourage more gender stereotyping? By saying someone is dressing as their opposite gender is encouraging the fixed perspective that genders have certain dress codes, colours and mannerisms? Yet do we need gender differentiation? If we didn’t have any would it be boring as such? I can’t say I think I would be attracted to a man that dresses as a woman! But is that bad to say?! But if I had been brought up with no gender exposure would I be bothered?
I really don’t know the answers but it’s interesting to ponder! Gender is an interesting subject. Let me know what you think too!