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4 pages/≈1100 words
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MLA
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Literature & Language
Type:
Movie Review
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English (U.S.)
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Commonalities Between Jess And Maura Movie Review (Movie Review Sample)

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Commonalities between Jess and Maura

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Commonalities between Jess and Maura
Sexuality and the politics of genders is a topic that has dominated various genres of literature for a long time. So heated and sensitive has the debate been that the term third gender has gained acceptance in reference to the people who are neither male nor female. But even the term carries some ambiguity as it does not represent the many and varied sexual and gender orientation out there. The book Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg and the television series Transparent delves into these subtle and nuanced issues within the stereotyped third gender. Through their chief protagonists, Jess in the novel and Maura in the series, critical issues within the already and divisive politics of gender emerge.
Both Jess and Maura are undergoing serious identify crisis regarding their sexuality. Jess is a man trapped in a woman’s body while Maura is a woman trapped in a man’s body. Their different backgrounds have shaped their struggle with sexuality and the way their immediate surroundings treat them. Born and brought up in a poor family, Jess has to contend with more hate and discrimination as she works her way up from school and employment. She had to live daily with torments of being asked to conform to a specific gender dichotomy. She has consumed testosterone to enhance her masculinity but is yet to find fulfillment with her life (Feinberg 36). On the other hand, Laura is an academia and considerably wealthy with children who easily understand his crisis. Mainly identified as a man until he is 75, he enjoys all the trappings of patriarchy unlike Jess who suffers for being a woman as well for not being strictly or fully a woman. Despite these differences, their struggles and journey through identify crisis are remarkably similar. This paper will explore the commonalities between Jess and Maura and demonstrate that despite location and family, privilege and socio-economic status differences, the two characters endure the same pain and joy of coming to terms and being accepted for who they are.
The first commonality between Jess and Maura is that both are trapped in a body they do not identify with. Jess is in a woman’s body but she identifies as a man. Similarly, Maura is in a man’s body but he identifies as a woman. This commonality is important as it informs the identity crisis that the two undergo in the novel and TV series. When the reader encounters Jess, she is coming to terms with the fact that her body presents her like a woman but she feels like a man. One would therefore conclude that both Jess and Maura belong to the third gender or the transgender. As Jess’ story shows however, the dichotomy does not work for everyone as they are people slightly different from the stereotyped norms. First, she tries to fit in the lesbian community as a butch, meaning a lesbian woman who is what a man is to a straight relationship-masculine. However, this does not work for her as she is composition is not entirely butch. Neither is she a femme, or the feminine equivalent of a woman in a straight relationship. She does not fit in the gay and lesbian club she works in Buffalo and is repeatedly assaulted by men who identify as a woman and woman. It is not until she moves to New York City and lives with a transgender neighbor does she feel full acceptance and fulfillment.
Though not explicitly stated in the series, Maura must have undergone similar internal turmoil that culminated to his revelation to his family that he has been a woman all his life. First, unable to come to terms with his gender and how people may react, he lives his life as a man, marries and even start a family. This must have been borne of the pressure to conform and live like the man his body displayed. In marriage, he concealed his being female until he divorced his wife. Thereafter, he could not divulge his being a woman until he was 75 years age. It would appear that the only reason he could not resist coming out is that he had lived all his life as a lie and now with the thought that he was old and having lived a huge part of his life, he thought that living the remaining life as the woman he had been would bring about some satisfaction to his own life (Soloway). Like Jess therefore, confronting himself and asserting his gender was the final act of liberation.
The other commonality is the tribulations the two have to undergo in the hands of the society. For Jess it was difficult to identify as a man or a woman in her neighborhood as both attracted consequences. When she leaves to work in the gay pubs for instance, she is expected to behave within the strict dichotomy of a lesbian. She is either to be a butch and provided the masculine part of a lesbian relationship or a femme and become feminine. However, she did not feel like any of these. She therefore became the subject of harassment by femme lesbians courting her attention. If she managed to escape the attention of femmes, she would still fall in the hands of gay men who would force themselves on her and even rape her. If lucky, she would not escape the wrath of police officers who frequented gay clubs with the sole intention of harassing and extorting levelers. Tribulations seemed to follow Jess from school to the gay pubs she worked in and every neighborhood she moved to.
Similarly, Maura has undergone tremendous tribulations because of being transgender. First, the fact that he concealed it to his family all that time and had to wait until he was 75 shows a man who had lived with a...
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