Gender Studies II
EN2012 – Winter 2011 – Terry Goldie
Lecture 6 – ‘Funny Boy’ – Feb 10
- In the film, Muslim-Hindu couple, about Bombay riots – about the Hindus.
- Video’s response to women is that they are sex objects; women’s attractiveness
is defined in terms of a voluptuous body.
- Sexually suggestive instead of sexually active – as in India media is not allowed
to show kisses between men and women.
- They engage in foreplay in a non-physical way – imitating a movie, this shows
- Can be argued that the more voluptuous a body, the more sexual and fertile a
woman is; unlike Western standards that idealize a thin body, aka anorexic =
- At the end of the film, a ball of flames erupts; hyper stylized, sometimes uses rain
to show the curves of the bodies = Bollywood’s version of a wet T-shirt contest.
- Gender difference is emphatic: the stronger the gender markers are, the clearer
the differences of what defines gender.
- Women’s clothing is stereotypical South-Asian/Indian. While the men appear
modernized/westernized; women carry the burden of the culture even if it’s an
- Women represent South Asian culture while men introduce modernity.
- Sri Lanka looks like a teardrop; Jaffina is located in the Northeast corner and is
primarily Tamil although most have left Sri Lanka.
- Large part of Tamil brought from India by British Imperialism; also mirrors Ireland
in ‘The Crying Game’ as Protestants are located in the Northeast corner.
- Funny Boy novel set in 1983 as the Tamil revolution unfolds.
- The Singhalese government lumps all Tamils under the category of Tamil Tigers
and have systematically oppressed them.
- Outsiders cannot tell the difference between Singhalese and Tamils.
- Bildungsroman: coming-of-age story; operates on the assumption that the
audience knows what the person is, and have to read the book in order to
understand how the character became that way.
- About an identity that appears like a minority so the reader can identify; not just
about a Sri Lankan, but about a gay Sri Lankan.
- Two factors of this bildungsroman’s:
How a person discovers he is gay. The markers one must go through to prove/show his
homosexuality; not just a cause and effect, events that mark that
development in order to become what he is meant to become.
- Six stories – first one ‘pigs can’t fly’ establishes Arjie as abnormal.
- High percentage of males as children were gender-crosses – possible that
gender is learned before sex; i.e. as a homosexual, Arjie starts his life in terms of
marriage playing bride-bride – heterosexual maker.
- The idea of the bride is women-centric; in such a society where a male has the
power, women project this lost power into rearrangement for a wedding to
- The significance is proven by the absence of the groom.
- Arjie has a closer relationship with mother. What does this mean in terms of
gender? Here, the boy reconsolidates with his mother instead of moving away
from his mother as he should.
- Can’t have things that are unnatural; rules can’t be stupid if they are simple
reflections of nature.
- Arjie realizes the loneliness of being neither female nor male: as this is about
gender not sex this is realistic for him to feel this way.
- Personality is external not internal, although Arjie acts female he can nev