sprinkle: an undergraduate journal of feminist and queer studies


Debra Beight


This paper analyzes Halberstam’s interpretation of the transgender gaze as it applies to the character portrayal of Brandon Teena in the film Boys Don’t Cry. An oppositional approach examines the idea of a cisgender gaze that compromises the subjectivity of not only the character of Brandon but extending to dismissiveness towards trans identity as a whole. Dissecting the reveal scene from the film highlights Halberstam’s process of the transgender gaze and allows for a focus on cisgender interpretation and demands that illustrate cisnormative expectations on trans bodies and behaviors. Connecting these demands is the concept of abjection as described by feminist philosopher Julia Kristeva, and how this liminal placement further erodes Brandon’s subjectivity in the eyes of a cisgender audience.

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