Tuesday, September 7, 2010

But I'm a Cheerleader!

We watched a hilarious movie recently, But I'm a Cheerleader!, which is a satirical comedy about the ex-gay movement. Megan is a closeted-to-herself lesbian who comes home from cheerleading practice one day to find her family has set up an intervention on her behalf. She, they inform her, is a lesbian, and she is being sent to a rehabilitation retreat center to "convert" her to heteronormality.

At the retreat center, she is retrained in gender roles (like that shown in the vacuuming picture above), and practices being submissive, weak, and soft. She is taught to embrace her role in washing dishes and diapering babies. . . all while being forced to wear and sleep in ridiculous fuscia fru-fru attire. Oh, and the kicker? Being paired off with other girls to learn appropriate same-gender interactions.

Sex means being kicked off the island, girls, so don't even think about it.
(Extra points if you can guess which of the four girls shown above I think is cute)

What was so fascinating to me was seeing conversion therapy from the female perspective. At least in the LDS Church, I am accustomed to only hearing about conversion retreats for men - teaching them to be more assertive, more domineering, etc. What made the movie horrifying for me was seeing those gender roles be enforced on women. The satirical nature of the film also made the whole concept of reparative therapy appear ridiculous in its very nature. Women don't become lesbians because they don't like vacuuming or baking bread. Hell, NO WOMAN enjoys picking up after toddlers or messy spouses.

While at the retreat, each of the girls has to identify her "root" - the root cause of her homosexuality. Megan's root? Her mom went back into the workforce for 9 months when she was a child. This "role reversal" between mom and dad triggered gender role confusion within herself.

Personally, I fail to see what gender roles have to do with sexual orientation. But then again, I am a lesbian who enjoys her career.


LDS Brother said...

I've seen clips of that flick. It's so camp that it's almost ridiculous, but it makes its point really well. So many people who send their kids to these camps need to spend time actually interacting with their kids face-to-dace.

JonJon said...

Isn't Eddie Cibrian in that movie? I <3 him so much.

Bored in Vernal said...

The third one over, with the glasses?

C. L. Hanson said...

I liked that movie too! I wasn't too impressed by the main character's acting, though.

Madame Curie said...

BiV - Close, but no. This pic isn't a great representation of the girl in the movie, but its the 2nd girl from the left (Clea DuVall, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0245112/)

C.L. It took me a long time to figure out that they were going with a circa-1950s era approach. But it was strange because it seemed like it was supposed to be the 1950s, but then there would be something anachronistic, like the pics of Melissa Ethridge on Meghan's wall.