The purpose of this unit is to heighten our knowledge of the restrictive nature of gender stereotypes, with a main focus n masculinity, so that we are able to recognizes and evaluate gender stereotypes when they are presented to us in texts such as ‘Touch Me’ by James Maloney, and the teen pick ‘She’s the Man’ directed by Andy Backfiring. One thing I like about this book is how the novel is arranged in a chronological sequence of events alternating between Rugby and Annual. The two are bridged by Annual’s metaphor of Rugby as a ‘lover and ‘jealous mistress’ “I’ve heard of love being a game, but never a game being love”.
This shows her dismissive attitude towards rugby and her idea of football being a fickle lover. This in turn echoes the larger metaphor within the book of Rugby as life. The ending is ambiguous leaving the reader to interpret the on-going, if any, nature of the relationship between Annual and Xavier. Xavier and Annual’s relationship is one based on respect. Annual insists on equal treatment and Xavier has enough of an independent turn of mind to allow her, and their relationship, to develop beyond the stereotypical girl-boy infatuation based on sexual desire.
Not that Xavier doesn’t want a sexual relationship, but it is his delight in Annual’s intelligence and hers in his being the basis of their reminders. One of the major issues that I don’t understand about boys and their sport is ‘winning at all cost’. This is evident in Coach Preston and Scott Watson acceptance that they do anything in order to win the premiership. Scott even goes as far as to deliberately foul and injure an opposing team member when it looks as if SST Mat’s might lose a match. This attitude intrudes into Coot’s behavior off the field.
Annoyed at being beaten in a play during a fun game of touch football with his girlfriend, he tackles her, sweeping her off her feet ND then drops her on the ground. The fact that, as Luke says, ‘You sorted her out mate”, is not only secondary to his inability to accept that he can lose a game but the implication that females need to be taught their place. This quote in itself explains how the author portrays the restrictive nature of gender roles. This is a big contrast between Xavier & Annual’s caring and equal relationship and Scott & Kelly’s old fashioned and one sided relationship. Everyone has heard the story about Joan of Arc?
The French heroine who died a martyr (was burned at the stake). Well, in the novel Touch Me’ the allusion of the story of Joan of Arc is threaded throughout the book. The first glimpse Xavier has of Annual as a ‘normal’ girl is in a photograph in a newspaper report of her playing the female lead in Shah’s Saint Joan. Xavier later makes the connection between Annual and Joan of Arc both wearing men’s clothes as armor, and Annual speaking to Xavier uses the phrase ‘you are the pick of the basket here’. Annual draws the allusion even tighter when she asks Xavier “You won’t burn me at the stake will you, Cave?
I’ve had enough of being a arty? ” If you ask me, the book ‘Touch Me’ reminds me a lot of the movie “She’s the Man” by Andy Beckman. I believe that the movie and the novel have many parallels, especially with their characters. For example, Annual is similar to Viola for both challenging the gender stereotypes; Xavier is like Duke, as they both look past a girls clothes, mannerisms and behavior and will accept them looks and all! Lastly Scott is most definitely like Justine as they want to be dominant and in control of their relationships.
Not only do they both have a animal cast, but the message behind the story, that gender based stereotypes will limit and restrict ones full potential. When I watched the movie, I noticed the presence of masculinity and femininity are well represented in this film. From the beginning, when Viola confronts the Cromwell men’s soccer team coach regarding playing on their team which was ultimately revoked. “Girls aren’t as fast as boys…. Or strong… Or athletic… This sinusitis me talking, its scientific fact” compared to the end when the Lyric coach exclaims that his team “does not discriminate based on gender’.
The difference in opinions between the Cromwell coach and the Lyric coach are a true testament to the film’s desire to equalize masculinity and femininity and more broadly, the gender-based discrimination and stereotypes. Throughout the film Olive’s flirtatious advances are repeatedly shut down by “Sebastian,” eventually she feels that in order for him to notice her she must make him jealous by pretending to have feelings for Duke. Ironically, “Sebastian” tells Olivia that “He’s not a piece of meat… He’s a person with feelings”. Don’t you think this sounds a little unusual?
Well you’re right, mainly because this quote is showing reverse discrimination; as these comments are usually used with reference to the way in which males sexually objectify females. Throughout the film, we see “Sebastian” interacting with “his” roommate, Duke. While on the surface Duke seems to exude an incredibly tough, ultra-masculine persona, it becomes clear after many conversations with “Sebastian” that he is actually much more sensitive than he seems. He even goes so far as to scold “Sebastian” for being disrespectful when talking about women.
When Sebastian” true identity as Viola is revealed, Duke confesses that had he known she was a girl, he wouldn’t have exposed many of the things he did to her. This is a clear example of how gender-based stereotypes limit and restrict people. Again expressing the common belief that males shouldn’t openly reveals their emotions. The common link of role reversal throughout both the novel and the movie shows a clear understanding of how gender roles can restrict ones dreams and ambitions. And it is through the use of clever techniques which reinforce this stereotyping.
The film, “She’s the Man” ND the novel “Touch Me” argues that the ideas of masculinity-?especially for men to dominate other men, while at the same time to downgrade women, must be socially reconstructed. Additionally, the standards of femininity, the beliefs that women are inferior to men and incapable, must be eliminated as well in order to create a society and culture in which gender-based discrimination no longer exists. Now, my fellow peers, before go, let me leave you with this one last question. Do we want our future generations to grow up in this restrictive and limiting society? Or do We want change?