Cultural Appropriation: an exploration of what it is and how it works.

When I was 8 years old, I moved to a new school and made one friend. She and I were friends because we were both outcasts; I was bullied for being the new kid who cried a lot, and she was bullied because she wore a bindi to school. When I moved to Kingston, people called my food gross, while simultaneously saying they loved samosas. When it comes to my culture, I’m never sure if I can embrace it without facing criticism from others, even if they do so without issue. So what is cultural appropriation? Does is mean someone can’t eat samosas if they’re not from South Asia? Does it mean that if you wear a bindi to a rave, you’re racist? Not necessarily, no. êkosi wrote a pretty good article about cultural appropriation, and argued that if it’s a restricted symbol, you probably shouldn’t be using it because you think it looks quirky or cool. Unrestricted symbols, like food and flags however? She says go for it! However, I argue that the line goes a little further than that; in my opinion, if you don’t like seeing someone from the culture wear a headdress or a bindi, or but you think it’s edgy and cute when you do, you’re definitely appropriating the culture. It’s a matter of respect! It’s not fair that I’m a “fob” (which stands for “fresh off the boat”, an ignorant term for someone who is newly immigrated) when I eat rice and curry. It’s not fair that my friend, (who was born and raised in Canada, but that’s beside the point) was told to go back to where she came from because her parents wanted her to connect with her roots and where a bindi everyday. It’s not fair that people of colour have to be aware of the stigma that sometimes comes attached with participating in their own culture, when other people don’t have to worry about that at all. There is usually a positionality attached to someone who has appropriated something from another culture; it often comes from a place of colonialism. As such, many people argue that the power structure that places white people on top makes it so that white people can’t do anything associated with another culture, because it will automatically be called cultural appropriation. I personally don’t think that’s the right way to approach it. A good example of how one person can partake in another culture without disrespecting or appropriating it is the recent Queen’s Indian Student Association Formal, where everyone on campus was invited to celebrate Indian culture and cuisine. All of my friends wore saris, whether they were white, Indian, or whatever they identified as. They wore them in celebration of the culture, with respect for the culture. And at the end of the night, they looked beautiful, and we all had a great time. Others argue that it is only cultural appropriation if it is a symbol being disrespected, so other people wearing bindis isn’t cultural appropriation because the religious and cultural importance of the bindi has been lost over the past few decades. Again, I’m not sure that this is the right way to approach it. It’s true that I don’t quite understand the significance of the bindi, but it is still a part of my culture. No traditional South Asian outfit is complete without a bindi, and I remember my mother telling me it was disrespectful to the gods if I wasn’t wearing a bindi when we went to the temple, even if I still don’t understand why. Even if the “official” symbolism behind the bindi has been lost to me, there is a cultural significance attached to it anyway, so it bothers me to see someone outside of the culture wear one to a rave just to look like a hipster. Of course, this leads to the next problem with trying to define cultural appropriation; that which is offensive to one person isn’t offensive to the next. It is impossible for one person to speak for an entire culture, especially when the culture has evolved as it is spread over so many countries and continents. So at the end of the day, what is cultural appropriation? I think the answer lies in understanding how to respect a culture. If you can come from a place of admiration of the culture as opposed to only admiring the item in question, you’re probably going to be okay. But if you’re wearing a bindi because you think “ooh, what a nice sparkly sticker!” I can guarantee you that you’ll be offending someone. If you wear a headdress because you think, “oh man, this is so hipster”, you’re doing it wrong. Do your research, understand what you’re wearing and why, and wear it in celebration of the culture, and odds are, you’ll be doing so in an unproblematic fashion- and that’s a pretty good goal to have. Words: 821

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The Contreras Family and the Systematic Discrimination Against Queer America

In October 2014, mothers Krista and Jami Contreras took their six-day-old baby, Bay to an appointment with their Pediatrician Dr. Vesna Roi. The Michigan women stated that upon arrival at the clinic, they were greeted by a different Pediatrician, Dr. Karam, who told the couple that Dr. Roi now felt she was unable to care for Bay. Dr. Roi made it clear that after a long period of reflection, she decided that the because of her discomfort with the sexual orientation of Bay’s mothers, she would not have “been able to develop the personal patient-doctor relationships” that she normally does with her patients (“Doctor refuses treatment of same-sex couple’s baby”). Luckily, the Contreras family was able to find a new pediatric clinic which was both inclusive towards parents within the LGBTQ community, and provided a high level of care to baby Bay. The problem, however, is that Dr. Roi is completely within her rights to deny her services to the new-born child, as certain U.S. legislation protects her discrimination against this couple. This is emblematic of a larger problem within the United States; that government legislation has failed to adequately advocate for the rights of same sex couples to the point where the systematic discrimination and oppression of this minority group is protected by law.

According to the American Medical Association, a doctor cannot refuse care based on the sexual orientation of their patient. They can, however, refuse to treat a person if the Doctor claims that it is incompatible with their personal, religious or moral beliefs (“Doctor refuses treatment of same-sex couple’s baby”). This condition effectively provides a loophole within the Medical Association’s non-discriminatory policy, as homophobic doctors can easily cite religious or moral reasons for not treating a gay person, thus legally denying medical treatment for queer bodies. Thankfully there were other, less exclusionary doctors in the Michigan area to care for Bay, but it raises concerns about care for queer bodies in more remote areas, where an entire community may only have access to a single doctor. In extreme situations this could mean that a queer person, or their child could be in serious danger, risking long-term injury or even death if they are denied access to immediate medical care. At this point, it violates Articles 25 (1) in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which maintains that every person has the right to adequate medical care (“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights”). This blatant discrimination needs to be addressed in legislation, so that Doctors have no way to legally deny queer bodies their basic human rights.

Dana Nessel, an attorney currently working on Michigan’s same sex marriage case, was made aware of the Contreras family’s situation. Nessel explained that the problem of queer discrimination legislation goes much further than the American Medical Association. She noted that there are not currently any laws in place that would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families from discrimination in any facets of life (“Doctor refuses treatment of same-sex couple’s baby”). On top of this, she mentioned a piece of legislation currently in the senate called the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act”, which she believes would allow for blatant discrimination of minority groups if a certain religion does not condone the group’s specific way of life. Since many queer lifestyles have been condemned in Holy Texts such as the Bible and Qur’an, Nessel is confident that queer bodies will be subject to further, and completely legal discrimination (“Doctor refuses treatment of same-sex couple’s baby”). NOLO, an online American legal encyclopedia has published an article on Sexual Orientation Discrimination. In the article it states “attempts to pass federal legislation that would outlaw sexual orientation discrimination in private workplaces have been unsuccessful to date” (“Sexual Orientation Discrimination: Your Rights”). Meaning that queer bodies cannot even expect to be free from discrimination in the workplace.

Another blatant example of legislative discrimination against the queer-community in the United States is the ban on same sex marriage. Although many states have repealed this law in recent years, in 13 of the 50 states it is illegal to for same sex couples to wed (“37 States with Legal Gay Marriage and 13 States with Same-Sex Marriage Bans”). Not being able to legally wed deprives same sex couples of the many benefits that result from a marriage. Tax credits, social security, employment, medical, and death benefits are just some of the amenities awarded to legally wed couples in the United States (“Marriage Rights and Benefits”). Not only are same sex couples in 13 states deprived of those benefits, but they are also deprived of a sense of official legitimacy surrounding their union. They are not afforded the same peace of mind and societal acceptance as a straight couple, a group who undoubtedly holds a cultural hegemony when it comes to relationships.

In conclusion, power structures in the United States have categorically failed same sex citizens. Both government legislation and legislation from powerful bodies, such as the American Medical Association, have failed to adequately protect queer bodies from discrimination. It is tough to not feel feelings of compassion for newborn Bay Contreras, who will see her mothers, and other queer Americans, be the target of systemic discrimination due to neglect from legislative powers.

Works Cited

“37 States with Legal Gay Marriage and 13 States with Same-Sex Marriage Bans – Gay Marriage – ProCon.org.” 37 States with Legal Gay Marriage and 13 States with Same-Sex Marriage Bans. Procon.org. Web. 9 Mar. 2015. <http://gaymarriage.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=004857&gt;.

“Doctor Refuses Treatment of Same-sex Couple’s Baby.” Fox 2 News Headlines. 18 Feb. 2015. Web. 9 Mar. 2015. <http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/28142401/doctor-refuses-treatment-of-same-sex-couples-baby&gt;.

“Marriage Rights and Benefits | Nolo.com.” Nolo.com. Web. 9 Mar. 2015. <http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/marriage-rights-benefits-30190.html&gt;.

“Sexual Orientation Discrimination: Your Rights | Nolo.com.” Nolo.com. Web. 9 Mar. 2015. <http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/sexual-orientation-discrimination-rights-29541.html&gt;.

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UDHR, Declaration of Human Rights, Human Rights Declaration, Human Rights Charter, The Un and Human Rights.” UN News Center. United Nations. Web. 9 Mar. 2015. <http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/&gt;.

Reelout: Out In the Night

The movie Out in the Night is the story of a posse of black lesbians who get assaulted in the New York city streets after rejecting a man’s advances. They end up stabbing the man in self defence, and are antagonized by the legal system. The four women are Venice Brown, Terrain Dandridge, Renata Hill and Patreese Johnson. They become known as the New Jersey Four, and the events are blown out of proportion by the media. This film follows their attempts to navigate the court system, rebuild their lives, and the struggles of the lawyers who take their case. It makes many comments of racial prejudice, toxic masculinity, and male entitlement.

Attending this festival was a wild experience from start to finish. I got the feeling that is was a safe space. As a queer girl from a small town with racist parents, getting to be in an environment where i can be as gay and feminist as i want to be is a rare treat. I had a fabulous time. I went with my friends with queers on campus, and we sat in the back and made fun of straight boys while reapplying our lipstick. 10/10 would recommend.

in conclusion, it was a lovely movie and I would see it again.

The Way I Saw “The Way He Looks” – a film review (spoiler alert)

This January/February I attended the Reelout queer film festival in Kingston, and genuinely loved it. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming, and, unlike in regular movie theatres, there were introductory speeches and prize giveaways. My best experience was definitely the first screening, which doubled as a fancy-dress gala. Many people spoke, including members of the staff, the mother of the film’s star, and a representative of RBC (which sponsored the festival). The representative said something quite touching: that if the company were to replace its entire staff with duplicates of its best member, it would be a much worse company, as it needs diversity. It’s hard not to wonder whether this sentiment, and support in general, is genuine, or merely part of the company’s desired image (and pursuit of pink dollars). I like to be optimistic, though.

I’m going to be reviewing the 2014 film The Way He Looks, directed by Daniel Ribeiro. A self-representational film, the characters are Brazilian, just like the director; the film is also in Portuguese. Ghilherme Lobo plays the protagonist Leonardo, Tess Amorim his best friend Giovana, and Fabio Audi his love interest Gabriel. It is a coming-of-age drama, centered on Leonardo’s struggle with having parents who are overprotective about his blindness, as well as with his affection for new classmate Gabriel.

The scene I’m going to be discussing is near the middle of the film. Leo and Giovana sit in the school courtyard, talking and laughing until interrupted by Leo’s phone. The exchange agency has called to inform him that they have found an American agency specializing in blind kids. Giovana however reminds Leo that his parents will never let him go on exchange. Karina then interrupts, stating that she is looking for Gabriel. Spotting him, she leaves to flirt with him; Giovana calls her a slut.
While the day lighting and background noise of socializing make for a calm and cheerful tone, the protagonist undergoes a strong mood change. It’s in fact the interplay of various social issues that determine his mood, and that is why I chose this scene. I feel that it reflects the rest of the movie as a whole in terms of the social issues that it attempts to address.

Leo and Giovana’s laughter as a display of friendship is important. The heteronormative idea that men and women cannot be friends fuels platonic male-female relationships in film to often turn romantic, when existing at all. Although knowledge that Leo likes men would help heteronormative audiences accept his friendship with Giovana, it could be considered that Leo also likes women but simply not her.
As a side note, a clear statement of his and Gabriel’s sexual orientation in the film would have clarified which they are representing, and prevent audiences from viewing them as ‘straight with one exception’.

Leo’s phone conversation reminds the audience of his blindness, which I want to address. Specifically, a possible issue in the actor’s non-blindness. In her TED talk concerning disability studies, Maysoon Zayid stated, “Disability is as visual as race. If a wheelchair user can’t play Beyoncé, then Beyoncé can’t play a wheelchair user.”1 Leo’s uses a cane to walk – his disability is visual. It’s unfortunate that actors with disabilities are deprived of such roles (on top of able-bodied ones) in favour of able-bodied actors. Self-representation in the film only goes so far.

Despite this, I think Lobo did a good job. His subtly sad eyes and posture effectively communicate jealousy. However I like that the movie isn’t sad overall. The rare homosexual love stories in film are often tragic, and never get to share genres with heterosexual ones. A light coming of age story about two boys in love is refreshing. They realistically have to deal with bullies, but these are easily thwarted.

The scene is not the first example of Giovana’s Karina-oriented complaints. I was surprised, then, when Karina turned out to be sweet; Giovana’s hatred is clearly pure slut shaming. Perhaps the filmmakers were attempting to thwart the ‘flirts a lot = bad person’ idea by making Karina likeable, but if so, this did not come through. The stereotype should have been further addressed in order to be clearly subverted – and Karina’s storyline is too overshadowed by Leo’s. Therefore, the film seems to support misogynistic slut shaming.

Altogether, I really enjoyed the film. Leo and Gabriel have great chemistry, and the Brazilian setting was an escape from the current Canadian weather. The cinematography was well done, and cooperated with lighting, set design, and smooth editing for formal realism. The choices made sense considering that without formal realism, social realism is never as clear. As anticipated, it was refreshing to see South American nationality, disability, and queerness intersect within a protagonist; it’s rare to see one of these characteristics in mainstream film.
However, as a film wanting to push boundaries, it could have gone further. Although Portuguese-speaking Brazilians are typically ‘othered’ by North Americans, it’s mostly when they are non-white; yet no other race is represented. The film has queer characters, but all are cisgender (as far as the audience is made to know). The film did not pass the Bechdel test, either, and there could have been more class diversity.

Word Count: 871 (introduction 371; review 500)

1 Zayid, Maysoon. “I got 99 problems… palsy is just one.” TED. TEDWomen 2013. Dec. 2013. Lecture.

First Period The Movie: A Scathing Review (because seriously, what is up with this movie?)

For what is objectively a very well done movie, it is surprising that Brandon Alexander III’s “First Period” is as much of a flop as it is. Most elements of the film like the set, writing, music, and cinematography were well done, if not the most interesting, but somehow when it was all put together, this film was like an awful Superbad remake with vagina jokes instead of penis jokes.

I can understand how scenographically, many of the choices made about the set made sense, but sometimes the set elements were more interesting than the characters on screen; for example, when Cassie (played by Brandon Alexander III) left for her first day of school, I was distracted by the massive red roses on the poorly hung wallpaper behind her. While the roses added to the 80s aesthetic the film had, it was generally overwhelming and often more entertaining than the characters.

Of course, the set was more entertaining than the characters because they were annoying and boring. Besides having an all white cast (because of course, people of colour didn’t exist in the 80s), Cassie was the definition of emphasized femininity with the added bonus of having no filter. In this film meant she made way too many jokes about sex that were less funny and more cringe worthy. Her description on the First Period Movie website even says she is “the fresh-faced new girl who doesn’t take “no” or “get off me” for an answer”.1 Terrifying implications about consent aside, I will never understand why the writer felt the need to make Cassie want to star in a child pornography magazine, because it was not humorous at all; it made light of the trauma actual sexual abuse victims have gone through, and it reinforced the idea that the victim was “asking for it”, because Cassie literally asked for it.

(Continuing this trend of desperately unhealthy views on sex, Other Heather is in a very scary relationship with her teacher, Mr. Klein, who comes equipped with what is colloquially known as a “pedophile moustache”.)

Maggie was a flat character with approximately three character traits that didn’t change during the (entirely too long) 100 minutes movie. The only thing I appreciated about her character was that Dudley Beene, who appears to identify and express himself as a male, played her. Instead of making transphobic jokes at Maggie’s expense, the movie ignored the fact that the role of Maggie (a presumably cisgender girl) was played by a man. Maggie simply was Maggie, the awkward girl at school. This is perhaps a step in the right direction for transgender representation as it lessens the stigma of seeing transgender people on screen.

The costuming, music, and cinematography were all right, but nothing extraordinary. I wouldn’t comment on them at all except that they were the only things in this film that didn’t make me deeply uncomfortable. They fit the 80s vibe the film had going on and they didn’t distract me by being noticeably poorly done, so props to the crew for giving the cast a mediocre background of make a fool of themselves in front of.

This film made me deeply uncomfortable. If I’m being honest, at the end of the movie, I walked away and took a shower because it made me feel dirty. I was horrified by the child pornography jokes and the generally cavalier attitude this film had towards safe sex practices and healthy sexual relationships. I was bored by the (appallingly unoriginal) story and annoyed by the characters. The best that I can say is that some elements weren’t as bad as they could have been. It was just not a good movie, and I am disappointed by the fact that I spent actual money to go see it.

The experience of going to a film festival was interesting but not particularly ground breaking for me. The Screening Room is essentially like any other movie theatre, where I went in, watched a movie, and left. The only new thing about the experience was having the movie introduced to me by one of the film festival organizers, but really, that’s not something that changed the experience so much that I am now in love with film festivals.

I was seated in the back of the theatre, beside a person who appeared to be biologically male; however they were dressed in a very short dress with thigh high stockings and heeled boots. While I am all for people embracing whatever makes them comfortable, they were extremely fidgety, constantly fixing their tights, or messing with their hair. I can appreciate how nerve wracking it must have been for them to be out in public and feel like they were being judged but it was very, very, annoying to keep being hit by their elbows when they went to adjust something or another. It was also a little terrifying when they started moaning halfway through the movie. They had been commenting on things all throughout the movie, but as we neared the climax of the story, they made a noise that was weird combination of a moan and a cheer. I was worried that perhaps they were sick until I realized they were just expressing happiness at the main characters finally defeating their enemies, but all in all, it made for a very odd viewing experience.

  1. Alexander III, Brandon. “First Period – a New Film by Charlie Vaughn.” First Period – a New Film by Charlie Vaughn. First Period The Movie, n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2015. <http://www.firstperiodmovie.com/&gt;.

Word Count: 892

Regarding Susan Sontag and Kingston’s Reelout Festival.

        Regarding Susan Sontag is directed by Nancy Kates and is narrated by Patricia Clarkson. It is a documentary style film which provides details on the life, loves, interests, and eventual death of the infamous intellectual Susan Sontag. Sontag lived from 1933-2004, producing a wide array of literature from 1964 until her death. The film is filled with interview snippets from a large array of people who found themselves to be close with Sontag at various points throughout her life. Sontag’s sister, Judith Sontag Cohen, her son David Rieff, her close friends Noël Burch and Mark Danner, along with a plethora of Susan’s past partners (including Annie Leibovitz, Lucina Childs, Eval Kollisch, and Harriet Sohmers Zwerling) are all featured quite heavily in the film. Each offers insight into her battles with illness, personal troubles, but most of all – her constant love affairs.

The film begins by offering insight into Sontag’s early years. Patricia Clarkson narrates many of her old diary entries, and archived audio recordings of Susan’s musings on her own upbringing are interspersed. The film glosses over her teenage years until she enters the University of Chicago at age 17, where she courts, and quickly marries her sociology lecturer. Although previous to their engagement, at the age of 15, Sontag had noted thoughts concerning her Sexual Orientation in her diary by stating, “I feel I have lesbian tendencies (how reluctantly I write this)”. Further, Sontag had also expressed a desire to “outgrow” these tendencies. Although Sontag was undoubtedly bi-sexual, as she had extremely loving relationships with both men and women, her early marriage and subsequent childbirth at age 19, almost certainly reflect the pressure she felt to meet certain Sexual Scripts. The film places emphasis on the fact that the teenage Sontag wanted nothing more than to “grow up”, citing both her sister, and an archived interview of Ms. Sontag during her adult years. Sontag’s idea of growing up reflected cultural norms and expectations in the time which she lived. In the 1950s, it was viewed as impossible for a woman to “grow up” in any way but by marrying and having children. However, Sontag realized in 1959 (with the divorce of her husband, and “abandonment“ of her child) that fulfilling society’s scripts was not a way to grow up, and instead experienced much more personal growth when she chose to fully explore her sexuality and intellectual appetites.

 

          In 1964, Susan Sontag published her first work, named “Notes on Camp”, which emphasized the key elements of Camp, a “social, cultural, and aesthetic” subculture which is heavily associated with the LGBTQ community, but extends much further. The movement was popularized by figures such as Andy Warhol, and the Kuchar brothers, and heavily permeated popular culture from the 1960s through the 1980s. This piece elevated Sontag’s social standing, and resulted her gaining massive popularity. In both her professional and personal life while in the spotlight, Susan Sontag embodied the Second Wave Feminist Movement. The movement, which found its roots in 1960s America, broadened the debate from a focus on woman’s suffrage and “de jure” inequalities, to a much broader spectrum of issues, including workplace, legal, and “de facto” inequalities. In the film, Sontag’s role as a second wave feminist is cemented, as she vigorously, yet somehow graciously protests being labeled as a “female writer”. Ms. Sontag makes it obvious that gender should be far removed from, and irrelevant in, the professional realm. The audience is exposed to the notion that Sontag was a natural leader, and came to dominate intellectual spheres previously inhabited primarily by men.

Susan was also a keen political philosopher, and perhaps the most striking scene in the film is derived from that aspect of her life. About 60 minutes into the film, narrator Patricia Clarkson reads the following powerful excerpt from one of Sontag’s work, in which she tears apart the perceived good of Colonialism, by writing, “Shakespeare, parliamentary government, baroque churches, Newton, the emancipation of women, Kant, Marx, and Balanchine ballet, don’t redeem what this particular civilization has wrought upon the world”, Sontag continues, “the white race is the cancer of human history”. The scene is framed perfectly through dramatic voice-over and ominous background music to relate not only the gravity and fierce anti-colonial nature of the statement, but also to capture Sontag’s unapologetic and direct style. This quotation from Sontag came at the height of the cold war in the late 1960s, and also frames Ms. Sontag’s passionate approach to her work. As seen in the film Sontag’s passion never faded, even during her third and final battle with cancer. Susan Sontag, as she would undoubtedly want it, was not a remarkable woman, but instead, was a truly remarkable person.

My experience at the screening room was, by all accounts, delightful. I found myself welcomed into the cozy environment of the independent theatre by the warm smiles from their gracious attendants. Having gone there with my friend from class, we noticed some of our other peers in GNDS 125 and sat with them. Not all of the audience were students, it was clear, as many others in the theatre were of a noticeably more advanced age. I think we all enjoyed the film, and I particular felt that I was able to emphasize more with Ms. Sontag’s story after being familiarized with many key terms and concepts in GNDS. I hope the noise from our pens furiously scribbling on pads of paper throughout the movie did not disrupt the other moviegoers, although we did try to be as courteous as possible. All in all, I’m very pleased with my experience at Reelout, and am interested to see if their film lineup in 2016 is as compelling as it was this year.

Blog 1: Boy Meets Girl- Film review

The film Boy meets girl directed by Eric Shaeffer is a romantic comedy film which premiered at the Kingston Reelout festival on February 4th, 2015. Boy meet girl is a story that revolves around the lives of Ricky, a transgender girl, and her best friend Robby who live in a small town in Kentucky. Robbie and Ricky have been friends since they were young kids and according to Ricky, Robbie has been there for her through all of her toughest times which makes Robby an incredibly important figure in Rickys life.  When a young and beautiful upperclass lady walks into the coffee shop where Ricky works, Ricky can’t help but be drawn to her which forces Robbie to confront his true feelings for Ricky. Only briefly into the movie the audience gains knowledge into what it was like for Ricky to grow up being the only transgender girl in her town. Although at her current age, Ricky is accepted by most people in her town for who she is, it unfortunately was not always like that because most individuals have very narrow binary ways of thinking. This film showed through the character of Francesca’s fiancé  that sometimes binary mindsets need to be challenged and questioned in order to be overcome.  The film served as a great entertainment due to the diverse cast and because the plot was relatable to many everyday experiences. Furthermore, the music was very accurate and was used as an excellent tool in order to set up the proper mood for the audience. For example, in the video Ricky filmed as a young girl admitting her battle with depression is shown on the screen, the background music is a sombre tone, which allows the audience to sympathize with Ricky. For a number of scenes it felt as though time was moving incredibly quick and important events were happening at a rapid pace instead of being focused on for a longer amount of time. This was especially true for Ricky and Francesca’s friendship that escalated into a romantic relationship in what seemed like merely a day.  What really added to the theme and message of the story was when Ricky was filmed naked in a scene with Robbie. This eliminated any mystery or confusion one may have had prior to the film, regarding transgender bodies and this emphasized that there is beauty in everyone. An important scene to note is when Ricky and Robbie get into an argument and Robbie gets caught up in his anger and in his rage admits that he thinks of Ricky as not being “a real anything”. This scene takes place towards the end of the movie when the audience has already developed a strong liking for the relationship between Ricky and Robbie therefore it is incredibly shocking when he says this. This scene is important overall because it reveals the true struggle of MTF and FTM individuals which is that they don’t have an “us” to figure out who they are with. This brings up an even bigger problem that exists in society, which is the “us versus them” model that is set up between heterosexual and queer individuals. Lastly, I think this scene exemplifies how far we have moved into the third wave of feminism seeing as this scene and movie as a whole shows the acceptance and normality of transgendered bodies. Lastly, I believe this scene exemplifies intersectionality, because Ricky is not only being discriminated against because of her gender and sexuality, she also experiences privilege because of her race.

Entering the festival was an experience for me seeing as Reelout was an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and enter a community focused around queer ideas and debates. If felt very welcomed entering the festival and my original feelings of confusion and nervousness towards the film I was about to watch was changed to excitement. At first I thought that I would not connect and be able to relate to the film because I am not transgender, nor am I aware of anyone in my life who is. However, immediately into the film there were so many scenes I could relate to and so many traits I shared with the character Ricky. For me the best part of this film was that Michelle Hendley, a transgender girl in real life plays the character of Ricky instead of hollywood movies which usually cast cis-gender actors to play transgender characters. What I enjoyed most about the film is that it was practical and dealt with issues that are realistic and authentic to the trans experience.