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My Life In Pink Short Analysis English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1122 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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According to Connell “…sex roles were acquired by socialization. Various ‘agencies of socialization’, notably the family, the school, the peer group and the mass media, took the growing child in hand. Through an immense number of small interactions, these agencies conveyed to the girl or the boy the social ‘norms’ or expectations for behavior. …Of course the process could go wrong…” (97). One example of how this process can go wrong despite the interactions of the “agencies of socialization” can be seen in the film “My life in pink”. It is a fascinating story and simultaneously a realistic learning of what happens when a seven-year-old boy is convinced, beyond all reason and outward evidence to the contrary, that he is really a girl.

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The story is about the little boy, Ludovic, who moves with his parents and three older siblings into a stereotypically suburban neighborhood where all the houses and all the minds and social norms are quite similar. At the beginning of the film the family is portrayed as perfectly normal. Things are going great for them. They are middle class people, they have four children. Pierre has a new job. His neighbor Albert Brun is his boss, his wife stays at home to care for the household and the children, and the rest of the neighbors seem to like the Fabres. A problem develops, however, when Ludovic, their seven-year-old son, tells his grandmother, Elisabeth, that he thinks he’s really a girl. It seems he would rather play with some popular dolls, Pam and Ben, than with more traditional boy-oriented toys. Firstly Ludo’s family thinks that this is for fun and it is just part of being a kid. They get worried, however, because their son states that when he “grows up and becomes a girl” he’s going to marry Albert and Lisette’s son, Jerome. Ludovico’s parents begin to wonder how this is possible and what the reason for these different interests of their son, given the fact that they raise him in the same way as the other three children and all around him are completely “normal”. When his family discovers the little girl blossoming in him they are forced to handle with their own discomfort and the lack of understanding from their new neighbors, one who happens to be his father’s new boss.

Connell says that “in everyday life we take gender for granted… Belief that gender distinction is ‘natural’ makes it scandalous when people don’t follow the pattern…” (5). When the pattern isn’t followed some societal pressures occur and often shape the way people act. In the film “My life in pink” Ludo’s family feels hatred and different attitude of conventionally minded people toward those who don’t stay within the rigidly defined boundaries of sexual and gender identity. Jerome refuses to talk to Ludo or sit with him because his parents have told him he’ll fry in hell if he does. Kids beat the little boy at school while his older brothers stand by and let it happen. The neighbors sign a petition to kick him out of school. Anti-gay graffiti is spray painted on their garage door and his father loses his job. The whole town turns on the family and they are forced out of town. Although the parents are open- minded and try to deal with their son’s behavior, they also can’t ignore the imposed social norms and try to “normalize” him. They think he’s sick and send him to a psychologist. The father blames the mother for treating him too much like the girl she really wanted and insists that Ludo’s hair should be cut, so he’ll look more like a boy. He blames also himself because he didn’t give his son enough male influence. Pierre tries to teach the little boy to play soccer and spend more time with him “man to man.” Ludovico’s parents want to fix whatever is wrong with their son. After numerous unsuccessful attempts they allow him to put on skirt on the next party in the hopes that cross dressing will be less attractive to him once it’s not forbidden. Even his mother, who had been supportive of Ludo, doesn’t resist such a pressure and turns against him.

Ludovico however only listens to his heart and his conviction that he is a “girlboy” remains unshaken. Ludo is not confused, he is certain. I think we can explain this resistant using Connell’s book. Connell makes the point that the socialization model for gender learning “seems to miss the pleasure which is obvious in much gender learning… It is also seems to miss the difficulty which is involved in constructing identities.”(96) Ludovic is happy being himself. And he isn’t doing this to get attention. He really can not understand why his behavior is considered as inappropriate. When his sister shows him what her biology book says about XX and XY chromosomes, Ludo thinks that God gave him the wrong chromosomes and he’ll fix his mistake eventually. He believes that he will be a girl sooner or later. The child is very innocent, and doesn’t realize his actions are abnormal, or culturally unacceptable. He wants to be a girl, he wants to wear dresses and skirts, he wants to put on high heels, earrings and make up and this is a great pleasure for him. But Ludo is too young and too passive to engage in full-scale “battle”. Ludovico feels awful when he sees that his family is suffering because of his desires. He tries to change himself, but he can’t, because he can’t imagine anything of a male’s daily life. As Owen Gleiberman says in his review of the film, and I completely agree with him, Ludo “is doing the only thing he can to express how soft and sweet he feels on the inside”.

At the end of the film the family is forced to leave their idyllic stereotypical neighborhood. In their new surrounding they find that Ludo is not alone. The boy meets Christine – a girl, who dresses in boyish clothes and wears her hair short. Finally he finds acceptance to be as he wants in his new neighborhood as well as with his family. Several film critics have stated that at the end of this story Ludo’s parents realize that whether he wears skirt or pants he is still their child and a part of their family. Based on what I have learned about gender and my own analysis of the film, it seems to me that they know all of the time that even different he’s their child, but at the end they realize that it’s not necessary to change him in order to be happy.

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