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Stereotypes In Billy Elliot

Decent Essays
In the film “Billy Elliot” directed by Stephen Daldry, Michael is a thought provoking character because he is portrayed as both gay and a cross dresser. With the film being set during the 1984-1985 coal miners strike. Michael lives in Everington, Durham, a small town in north-eastern England where you’re either a “straight girl” or a “straight man” and the community is very “black and white” and there is no grey area in between area for people like Michael.

In the film “Billy Elliot” Michael is seen to be interested in cross-dressing and frequently dresses up in his sister’s dresses and puts on his mother’s makeup (most notably her lipstick). The long shot of him standing at his door in front of Billy wearing his little sister’s dress shows
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Seeing Michael dress up as a girl provokes the audience to think about how the culture around cross-dressing (or drag) has changed since 1984 and how much more widely accepted it has become with more companies trying to now cater to people who are exploring their gender like we see Michael do…show more content…
Along with the struggles of growing up in a community where he doesn’t fit the expected “norm” for male behaviour, Michael has an alcoholic and abusive father who believes heavily in the gender stereotypes perpetuated throughout the film and disapproves heavily of Michael’s behaviour. All this strain on Michael makes it hard for him to have a “normal childhood” as he struggles with the challenges of growing up in a community where you don’t fit the “mold” of what a man should be like. This is shown in the scene when he and Billy are wearing tutus and dancing in the boxing hall and get caught by two angry parents who then proceed to call them both “poofs” and “sissies” for dancing together. Michael is also seen at the end of the film to have his male partner sitting next to him.This relates to the audience because at some point in their life everyone feels like they don’t fit in with the majority of their community, whether it is a small difference or a large one people are all unique but sometimes can feel like they are the only one fighting against the world. In Michael’s case he has to grow up hiding his true self and not being able to express his feelings as the community he lives in is heavily embedded in traditional gender roles and stereotypes and does not accept people who don’t fit within the “black and white”
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