So this was a movie, one of Ellen Page’s first I do believe. I saw it last night. Warning, their will be spoilers.
So fair warning if you want to keep reading.
This was a really great movie. It actually reminded me a lot of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope. It only has three actors in the entire film. Most of the film is just Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson. Ellen Page plays Hayley and Patrick Wilson plays Jeff. Basically it boils down to Jeff being a child molester and possible child murderer and Hayley has tracked him down in order to get revenge. She tortures him and even fakes a castration (which I didn’t realize until I just looked it up on wikipedia, but actually clears some stuff up). The film is kind of hard to watch because of the bodies of the two actors and the point of view of the viewer from within their own body. On the one hand Hayley represents the innocence of youth and the vulnerability that is girl in stereo typical societial terms, but she is not really innocent or vulnerable. She is in complete control throughout the film. This is juxtaposed by Jeff representing masculinity or manhood and how villianous that can become.
Where this movie really works is that it challenges convential gender and sex roles. Here we see a strong young girl torturing a strong male figure. Through this we see the vulnerabilty of the male form while also seeing the streangth that is the woman’s body. By figuratively removing Jeff’s testicals we see that the male form is really vulnerable due to the sexual organs being external. There is no way for Jeff to get revenge upon Hayley because her sexual organs are internal, he has no access to them as objects of revenge. It also points to perhaps a psychological need for men to be agressive, they must take control in society and even make their bodies strong to protect their sexuality which is extremely vulnerable compared to a womans. For most males sex is an act of penetration which inherently has a violent quality about it. Is this also perhaps an act of revenge upon the female by men in order to avenge their own vulnerability and also avenging the fact that women can carry life, can hold and develop life, whereas men can only carry the seed that facilitates that life?
For a man the removal of his sexual organs is a terrible fear. Some men would much rather die than have their testicles or their penis removed. It is a real fear, for most men, as if their sexual organs hold their identity, their power, their place in the world. I am not saying that the same is not true for women, but I don’t as intimately know what it is to have a woman’s body, that is only something I can ponder and imagine.
But should I ever want to transcend then I will have to lose my testicals. I will have to give up my current identity in order to gain one that might be more aligned with how I actually feel. I would have to walk through my greatest fear in order to become what I wish to be, what I desire to be, what I long for.
So I had a dream.
It was me and Ellen Page and she was playing Hayley and I was playing me, well, I was playing my male self. And she had castrated me and it was me trying to navigate my way through the world living with that stigma. But although, it was my greatest fear, it wasn’t that bad. I don’t know what the dream represents other than trying to reconcile where exactly I am. Is that something I want? To give up my self that I have always known, to give up the body I have inhabited for so many years to take a chance on the unknown and discover if a new body is really what I want? That is a big decision and it is one I am grappling with a lot lately.
I go back to Kate Bornstein whom, I have been reading lately, and she talks of this guy who kind of stalked her after she transitioned and he would say things to her like: “I wanna suck them titties, bitch.” Which is just terrible. Is that the reality for women? Why? Why is it so different and violent and bizarre. Sometimes I catch myself being very male and when I realize it, it makes me sad. It always feels as if I am failing a test or if I am failing my real self or as if I am betraying my gender identity.
I wish I could go back and start all over again.
I have not been socialized as girl or a woman, I was raised as a boy and then entered into manhood at some indistinct point along the way. This becomes apparent to me in my experiences. I guess I am just more aware of things. I saw a young girl walking alone about the city and we were both waiting for the walking man (jeez, walking man?! walking person, come on Noely!) and she glanced over at me and I could tell she was uncomfortable. She was very timid and aware of me. There was an uncomfortableness that she exuded toward me, even though I was by far the least threating person on the street at that moment. Maybe it was just proximity because I was the closest to her. But she walked and she was so vulnerable and scared seeming. I thought to myself: If I was a chick, I wouldn’t be like that, I’d be a bad ass chick.” But then I think to myself that the difference is that I wasn’t socialized that way. That is a key difference. Can we ever get very far from the way we were brought up?
I recall again my birthday. I was dressed as a woman and I was kind of objectified as a woman, which at the time I thought was flattering, but then when I really look back and think of it, I think how wrong that is. It just goes back to showing how ingrained gender is our definitions of each and of ourselves and what are roles are and what they mean. A friend of mine said: “Everyday is sexual harrassment day if you are a woman.” And sometimes those words just echo in my head over and over again. And I can’t stop thinking about it. Because it brings me such shame to realize that I do that, just by looking, or in treating women differently than I would a man. It also feels me with sadness because I won’t know that particular kind of harressment. I will only get to know my own where it is a man saying: “I love your dress and purse” with his fists or if it’s the sexual harressment I endure as a man (yeah, it does happen).
Sometimes I am so confused to be here. I don’t know what I want. Do I want someone to tell me it all, to give me the answers? Or do I just want somebody to hold me tight and tell me it is alright?
I’d like to feel together with somebody.
Will you be together with me?
Will you hold me tight? Just for a little while? Just until I can drift off to sleep?