METRONORMATIVITY IN MEDIA

FILMS

When Dallas Buyers Club was released in 2013, it was an instant hit. With box office sales of over $27 million, nearly 5.5 times its production budget, the film was incredibly successful according to industry standards. It received six Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, and members of its rock star cast walked away with Oscars for Best Performance in a Leading Role (Matthew McConaughey) and Best Performance in a Supporting Role (Jared Leto). Here, we consider how the film, set in the rural outskirts of Dallas, Texas, (re)produces metronormative and stereotypical ideas about LGBTQ people in rural areas.

Boys Don’t Cry, released in 1999, tells the story of the life and death of Brandon Teena, a 21 year old transgender man living in Richardson County, Nebraska. Soon after discovering Brandon’s biological sex, John Lotter and Tom Nissen raped him. A week later, after learning that Brandon reported the incident to the police, the two men murdered him. In the years that followed, Brandon’s 1993 murder became one of the most notorious anti-trans hate crimes in the United States, and his story was further popularized through Hilary Swank’s Oscar-winning performance as Brandon in the Academy Award winning Boys Don’t Cry. Here, we examine the metronormative ideas evident throughout film.

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