After watching Le Placard, I originally thought that this film doesn’t do enough to bring homosexuality to its forefront – and then I took a step back and really thought about it. With its use of comedy, The Closet’s intentions become subversive in a fervent dethroning of societal expectations. The film was presumably so popular because it poked fun at the male gender construct. As a culture so wrongfully filtered through vanity, there’s an inherent pressure for men to be tough. In this way, when Girard Depardieu’s character, Felix, begins to express what we conceive as homosexual tendencies midst the ploy of his coworker, we laugh as an audience. In a way, we really shouldn’t laugh at this but open our eyes to its direct assault of gender roles – why do we expect such narrow-minded role servitude from both sexes? However, our laughter remains and is explained rather well under the companion text’s title: The Liberating Power of Laughter. Since we really can’t change these conventions on a mass scale, laughing and playing with them is the only weapon we have as individuals.
Compulsory heterosexuality seems to define this often awkward existence that most men inhabit where they are under fire of being called weak or homosexual at any moment – as if those terms are somehow interchangeable. Men have to be tough, resilient, and often in the corporate world that becomes rather monotonously toned they actually have an enormous pressure to become homophobic – faced with the claustrophobia of the workspace, men are so close together that they are “forced” to push away any homosexual possibility in a vocal way. Ridiculing one another for being a “fruit” or “fag” gives them the temporary power needed to avoid suspicion from their peers, although their peers are doing it as well, so it becomes a rather awkward consistent exchange – where the real victims are those who may actually be homosexual in the workplace.
American films, with the exclusion of Brokeback Mountain, generally show a flamboyantly gay male mixed in a crowd of female friends as “those are the only ones that will understand him and his desires as a homosexual.” Hell there are probably even Americans that would determine I’m gay from the way I’m writing this paper, but there’s really no changing these people. The problem with Hollywood’s projection of the homosexual is that it is starting to become assimilated. Younger generation homosexuals are beginning to attach themselves to these models in that most view this is the only way for them to gain a voice, with a lisp and high pitch. While homosexuality is actually just a sexual preference, shows like Will & Grace, Fashion shows, and several movies depict homosexuals as these forever sassy and loudly-dressed men. It is becoming yet another American construct – the idea that you can’t be a homosexual without a dainty (presumed “feminine”) walk and pink clothing. I think movies like Brokeback Mountain are beginning to shed light on this stereotype, but that’s arguable considering the sensationalizing of the relationship within that film. The way it was marketed as this pinnacle finding-yourself-for-others drama and the slow-pan dramatic glances that gave the characters feminine qualities still leaves much to be desired from a film of its kind.