“Part of every woman is a mother/actress/saint/sinner. And part of every man is a woman”. Examine how AlmodҐvar’s “All about my mother” blurs gender boundaries and questions traditional gender stereotypes. The gender stereotypes have been constructed starting from ancient times. Nowadays, it can be defined as simplistic generalizations about gender differences and roles of individuals in society. On the one hand, the female stereotypic role is to be caring, sympathetic, to feel beautiful, to get married and have children. On the other hand, the male stereotypes are to be independent, career-focused and be inancial provider for his family.
It is proven that children acquire stereotypes by looking at adults. These listed gender stereotypes are possessed along generation by socializing agents such as parents, peers, surrounding society and media (Basow, 2012). The film director, AlmodҐvar, created the film where audience can watch altered gender boundaries and stereotypes.
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This film is called “All About My Mother” which contains lesbianism, transvestitizm, altered family relations and other aspects of disturbed traditional stereotypes. “All about my mother” film describes the story of oman (Manuela) who had son (Esteban) without husband, because her husband became transvestite.
As time goes on, her son died in adolescence when wanted to get autograph from famous actress Humo Rolo on his birthday. Manuela had to make decision about her son’s heart donation while working as transplantator. After huge misery, she traveled to Barcelona in order to find father of Esteban and to tell him about son and his death. Manuela met Agrada, Humo RoJo, Rosa, and her ex-husband Lola. She gad chance to become acquainted with Humo Rolo and to tell about that night when her son was hit by car while chasing after her for autograph. Agrada was prostitute and good friend of Manuela.
During the film, Manuela met Rosa who got pregnant from Lola and gave a birth to a boy. Eventually, she found Lola and informed him about Esteban and his death. This film included elements of lesbianism that were demonstrated by women who fell in love with each other. Lesbianism can be defined as “homosexual relationships between women or the preference that a woman shows for sexual relationships with women” (Collins Dictionary). In film, Nina and Humo Rolo were actresses who worked together and had relationships which were not hidden from public.
Mostly, it was seen that Humo Rolo was dependent on Nina; and although both of them were females, she [Humo RoJo] had position of Nina’s boyfriend. This kind of relationships can be caused due to some deficiency compared to Nina. In this case, Humo Rolo was considerably older than Nina and sne telt restrictions in their romance. This tilm demonstrates that lesbianism is accepted and regular type of relationship in Spain, because compared to Kazakhstan; people’s attitude to this issue is more composed there. Commonly, traditional gender stereotypes assume that romantic relationships should occur between women and men.
All About My Mother” film reveals altered relationships where woman in love with transvestite and got pregnant. The young, decent girl Rosa had romance with Lola who was transvestite. She was very naive, trustful and had sexual affairs with him which led Rosa to get infected by AIDS. Her mistake can be caused by misunderstanding of parents and lack of attention to her personal life. Transvestite could understand her interior, support during depression and build truth towards him. Consequently the internal affinity between transvestite and Rosa could awake romantic feelings and force Rosa to sexual affinity.
This aspect claims that trasvestites become feminine and acquire womanlike mind. As modern world is permanently changing, the traditional gender stereotypes have considerable influence. Male stereotypes dictate that men should have strong, muscular body and independent, dominant characteristics. However, as time goes on, men started to prefer men as sexual objects and they are called transvestites. Transvestizm can be explained as a man who gets pleasure from dressing in female clothes. AlmodҐvar’s film illustrated transvestizm in two actors such as Lola and Agrada.
Initially, Lola was usband of Manuela, but when he went to another city, he preferred to become transvestite by making up breast. As he changed his identity, his interests also have been altered. Consequently, Lola left his family, and became prostitute and had love affairs with men. It is assumed that the rise of women hormones such as estrogens can alter men preferences towards opposite sex and make change in his physiology. As a result, Lola liked men and started to live as prostitute. Moreover, Agrada was transvestite who was fully turned into woman by means of plastic surgery.
The eason of transformation from man to woman can be explained by Mulveys theory. This theory states that woman as image, man as a bearded of the look (Mulvey, 1975). It means that man likes the way woman behave and want to act in the same way. This example reveals that despite the changes in physical appearance, transvestites also undergo changes in moral perceptions. It is commonly accepted that children have to grow in complete family which consists of father and mother. Studies have shown that family structure affects child’s nurture, and cause problems in his future development and perception of the world.
Mental health of children who were brought up without one parent differs from ones who were raised in complete family. Usually, children hate one of their parents who left them. The film screened single Manuela who brought up Esteban from his birth till the death. Manuela’s husband left her and dedicated himself to transvestite’s life. This could be caused due to dominant role of women within family which did not fit into female stereotype. It is assumed that wife has to be weak, helpless, unemployed housewife; nevertheless, Manuela was independent and strong woman that could induce frustration in her husband’s mind.
The Esteban talked about his father and commented his love to him despite whoever he is. Surprisingly, Esteban had good attitude towards his father despite his deed. His attitude might be formed by Manuela’s words where she could describe Esteban’s father as manly, honorable man. Actually, she kept Lola’s identity hidden trom Esteban in order to not to blur nonor ot Lola as Esteban’s tamer. It emphasizes maternal care to child where Manuela tries to prevent Esteban from bad truth. It is said that if mother loves her child, she will love her grandchild more. This film can demonstrate opposite attitude of these arguments.
The mother of Rosa did not accept her grandson. Of course, it can be explained by the fact that he was sick by infectious disease. However, she must not abandon from her native grandson and give him to stranger, because it was not child’s fault that he was ill. Her inexcusable action may be caused by the bad relation with Rosa, because according to film Rosa did not trust her mother and had conflicts. Due to that unpleasant relations mother of Rosa did not feel any feelings towards her grandson. In addition, mother of Rosa was disappointed by the news that Rosa got pregnant from transvestite and this fact an cause disgust to grandson.
The one of the issues of this film was description of relations of mother with daughter which was blurred due to disrupted traditional gender boundaries. Gender stereotypes are socially constructed principals of people where men acts as strong dominant and women behave as keeper of the hearth. However, most of the traditional gender stereotypes was modified by society and gave a birth to new social roles such as transvestites, lesbians, and remodeled family valuables. The famous AlmodҐvar’s film “All About My Mother” illustrates woman’s life hich is full of blurred gender stereotypes.
This film revealed some possible reasons such as psychological problems such as depression, misunderstanding, conflicts, single-parent nurture which induced faulty gender stereotypes. In my opinion,society should not accept transvestizm and lesbianism as well as altered family relations, because according to biological identity, God created women for men and let them reproduce next generation. Unfortunately, some of the people become altered in mental level and start to change in physical appearance by imitation to opposite sex.
Media should not propagate transvestizm and lesbianism that can be effective way to avoid further distribution of such subculture.