Gender in the Making: Transgender Identity and Performativity in Films Transamerica (2005) and Breakfast on Pluto (2005)
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Film is a means of entertainment that has the power to influence people’s perceptions on different topics, among them gender. This paper addresses transgender as it is expressed in film, which is a means of observing gender identities and social practices. The aim of this thesis is to analyse the extent to which one can apply a gender performative approach to transgender and how transgender identity and performativity are represented in films. The introduction discusses the relationship between film and ideology as well as provides a brief overview of the historical representation of gender minorities in film. The first chapter is a theoretical analysis of transgender identity and performative subversion on the basis of Judith Butler’s works Gender Trouble (1990) and Bodies that Matter (1993), criticism of her works, and a discussion of the experience of transgender. The second chapter provides a comparative analysis of the protagonists of two films, Transamerica (2005) and Breakfast on Pluto (2005), based on the representation of their transgender identities, performative acts and communication with different social groups. The conclusion summarises the main findings of the analysis.