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Psychology Of Human Sexuality
The Bird Cage, Starring Nathan Lane and Robbin Williams is a film that explores societies views of homosexuals through the medium of humor. By creating outrageously stereotyped homosexual men, the director, Mike Nichols creates an awareness in his viewers of the biases and stereotypes that they hold . The two gay male leads, Albert and Armand are owners of a nightclub in South Beach Florida. Armand (played by Robin Williams) is in a long-term relationship with Albert (played by Nathan Lane). Armand has a grown son, Val, from a previous marriage. Trouble starts when Val announces his engagement to a girl named Barbara that he met at school. It turns out that Barbara's father is an ultraconservative United States Senator. He wants to meet his future son-in-law along with his family. After much debate it is decided that both Armand and Albert will be included in the meeting of the bride's parents. To avoid makinga bad immpression Val's biological mother is invited to pretend that she is still happily married to Armand. This offends Albert, who decides to dress as a woman to play the part of Val's mother. In the end all is discovered and the conservative couple are forced to accept that their daughter will be marrying into an "alternative" family.
Every sexual orientation and lifestyle is explored in this film, through each individual character. Albert plays the emotional, insecure, flighty homosexual male. Armand plays the part of a more reserved, logical, manly homosexual. The Senator is a conservative, political white man who claims to be interested in family values and morality. Both he and his wife are upper class snobs, who do not want to associate with "commoners." Armands first wife plays the part of a desperately horny, divorced woman. Val and Barbara are the only couple that would be deemed "normal" by society. The two show no outlandishc or unusual characteristicsl.
Perhaps because of the gender roles that males and females are cast into through socialization, many heterosexuals are unable to fathom a relationship where gender roles and expectations are blurred. This phenomena is explored extensively throughout The Bird Cage. For example, in a male-male relationship who is expected to stay home and keep house, and who is expected to be the provider in the relationship? If both men were to stick to their prescribed roles as males, then none of the domestic duties of every day life would ever be addressed. Society does not see men as responsible, or even suited for, domestic work. Many people may believe that a relationship will only work if each partner takes over either the tasks and expectations of a woman,or the tasks and expectations of the man.
In adherence to societies biases, this film shows Armand as the designated male in the relationship. Although it is never spoken aloud, it is obvious that the characteristics he displays are those considered to be traditionally male. He is the rock of the relationship. He thinks before he speaks, he is intelligent, and has control over his emotions. He constantly calms Albert down, while rolling his eyes at the foolishness of his antics. In addition Armand is the only homosexual lead to have been married before, and to have a son from that marriage. All of these traits package Armand as the least-gay male, and the homosexual displaying the least feminine characteristics.
Albert is the extreme opposite of Armand. Not only does he jump at the opportunity to pass himself off as a woman, but he displays the most stereotypical gay characteristics. Albert dances as a woman in Armband's cabaret-style nightclub, and is adored by all of its patrons. He seems to be very at ease in women's clothing, make-up and other regalia. Albert plays the "female" role in the relationship between him and Albert. Not only is he highly emotional, but he is unreasonable, irrational and flighty. He clings to Armand for approval and and support. He causes huge scenes to gain attention, such as the time he refuses to go on stage because has gotten the notion in his head that Armandis seeing someone else behind his back. The house-man plays along and tricks him into calmness by giving him fake relaxants. Albert's character displays all the characteristics of a stereotypical female. He is the more nurturing half of his homosexual relationship, as well as the half most in
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Sexual orientation, Interpersonal relationships, Gender studies, LGBT, Interpersonal attraction, The Birdcage, Gender role, Homosexuality, Heterosexuality, Gay, Coming out, Gender, director mike nichols, south beach florida, marriage trouble, long term relationship, robbin williams, human sexuality, alternative family, divorced woman, biological mother, nathan lane, sexual orientation, homosexual men, ultraconservative, bird cage, commoners, mike nichols, birdcage, values and morality, armand, snobs
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