December 11th, 2017
In 2005 Brokeback Mountain was released to the public with a sense of controversy and conversation. Having been previously shown in film festivals, there was plenty of thought as to how its content would be viewed in current society. The film breaks away from the typical stereotypes and gender essentialism that are hidden in the belief that there is a biological or neurological difference between men and women. The main roles were shown in a way that allowed the public to see them as something other than just “queer” was a great accomplishment. Even the characters did not see themselves as queer and announced after the first romp in their tent stating “This is a one-shot thing we got going on here. You know I ain’t queer.” This statement was useful to help touch upon the perception of the direction of the film and the roles the characters played.
This film was a queer-western, set in the plains of Wyoming in 1963. Ennis and Jack are both employed to a Shepard a herd of sheep over Brokeback Mountain and set out for a summer employment. This summer would change their perspectives and challenge everything they thought about themselves. As seen in most westerns, both men had lived hard lives. Even though the film was considered a western love film, it was far from the typical western. The film was a love story, and told about forbidden love and how no one is immune to it. The main difference was the extent of gender binaries and while the representation of the cowboys was masculine, it still challenged the assumptions of the belief that we fall into certain genders based on nature.
The belief that gender binarism is the social and biological makeup of male and female. Meaning that men are supposed to be masculine and females should be feminine due to our nature. “Boys wear blue and girls wear pink.” This theory is essentially challenged about twenty-eight minutes into the film, when two masculine characters describe an explicit sex scene, triggering controversy and opening lines of communication while at the same time blurring thoughts about gender essentialism. This is how the media has changed the expectations and social norms coming to a sense of acceptance that we previously lacked.
This “big, tragic, gay love story” is the source for the topics discussed in the article: “I Ain’t Queer” Love, Masculinity and History in Brokeback Mountain, Leigh Boucher and Sarah Pinto, who chose to concentrate on how to help historicize this film and consider the political ways it is seen. Considering the ways that the public viewed the seemingly heterosexual acting men engaged in queer activities. This also allowed the viewers a current sense of normalcy among social norms and yet opened the topic for conversations previously seen as forbidden.
The undertone of the film that was not discussed as much was the brutality of the “destructive rural homophobia” shown and discussed in Framing Brokeback Mountain: How the...