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Transing Normative Boyhood Masculinity in Alain Berliner’s Ma Vie en Rose

Gust A. Yep, Sage E. Russo and Ryan M. Lescure

Keywords: cinema; gender identity; girlboy; heteropatriarchy; homophobia; misogyny; representation; transphobia

Abstract

Offering a captivating exploration of seven-year-old Ludovic Fabre’s struggle against cultural expectations of normative boyhood masculinity, Alain Berliner’s blockbuster Ma Vie en Rose exposes the ways in which current sex and gender systems operate in cinematic representations of nonconforming gender identities. Using transing as our theoretical framework to investigate how gender is assembled and reassembled in and across other social categories such as age, we engage in a close reading of the film with a focus on Ludovic’s gender performance. Our analysis reveals three distinct but interrelated discourses—construction, correction, and narration—as the protagonist and Ludovic’s family and larger social circle attempt to work with, through, and against transgression of normative boyhood masculinity. We conclude by exploring the implications of transing boyhood gender performances.

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