Movie Analysis : Fun Home And The Short Film Pariah

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The graphic memoir Fun Home and the short film Pariah both contribute to a conversation on intersectional politics regarding respectability and normativity. The Bechdel family in Fun Home maintain a perfectly respectable familial façade to the external world even as the complications of Bruce Bechdel’s sexual appetites and inclinations threaten to tear the family apart internally. Likewise, Alike’s gender identity and sexuality creates a conflict in her family as they try to uphold middle-class respectability. In both contexts, respectability intersects with normativity and performance of normativity, however, both texts also challenge assumptions about the ways in which respectability politics intersect with normativity, especially in regards to family and kinship dynamics.
Respectability politics plays a huge role in the everyday life of the Bechdel family because Bruce constantly negotiates his queer identity by hiding his actions from the outside world. Even though he engages in illicit sexual acts with young men, he hides behind his family name and his good standing within the community. Therefore, he remains respectable while also hiding his proclivities from his family and forcing them to broker the family dignity through performance. Furthermore, Bruce hides the chaos of his family life and can still find acceptance within the larger society. Helen, and the children provide Bruce with protection and ensure the continuation of a perfect nuclear-family

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