In norm views inhabited by Lincoln Nebraska. After seeking

juxtaposing these traditionalist and limited views against the various
representations of gender and sexuality, the film not only demonstrates how
Brandon is viewed and understood by the habitant of Lincoln Nebraska but also
how he views himself in relation to the social expectations around him. Viewers
are first introduced to Brandon and his cousin Lonnie within minutes after the
film has started. As Brandon is being chased by an angry mob, the movie
reinforces this image with phrases such as “you fucking dyke, you freak, you
fucked my sister you fucking faggot,” highlighting the strong heterosexual norm
views inhabited by Lincoln Nebraska. After seeking refuge at his cousin’s
house, Lonnie says: “You are not a boy! Why don’t you admit that you’re a dyke?”
for which Brandon replies: “Because I’m not a dyke”. This stets the tone of the
movie because, from the very beginning it depicts how Brandon sees himself but
it is also a reminder to the viewer as it determines how we should also see Brandon
as a male throughout the movie. Furthermore, Brandon’s body is clearly marked
as female and though he does not proclaim himself as a transsexual, he does
mention to Lana that he sees himself as a hermaphrodite and as having a “sexual
identity crisis”. Yet, the film displays that Brandon is hoping to have sex
reassignment surgery to turn his female genitalia into a male one. This reveals
how culture forces the body to align into a traditional view of gender with
it’s “true” genital. Brandon’s use of the body can be seen as a masculine
performance that align within this cultural view. The film depicts scenes in
which Brandon is carefully adjusting his short hair and his clothing, padding his crotch
witch socks and putting a “fake penis”. Additionally, when John beats down
Brandon in the bathroom before the rape scene and pulls down his pants, he
exclaims: “Ugh, what are you!”. This demonstrates not only how the inhabitant
of Falls City, Brandon and most of the society sees the penis as a marker for maleness and manhood
but also how genitalia are seen equal to gender. After learning about Brandon’s
sexual anatomy, Tom and John fueled with rage decides to rape and ultimately
kills him at the end of the movie. The rape scene affirms what John and Tom
have been trying to impose on Brandon that he is a “female. It can be seen also
as a form of punishment to Brandon’s self proclaimed gender and sexuality. Additionally,
by raping him, John and Tom find a way to reclaim their masculinity that was
deeply challenged and threatened since Brandon’s arrival.

Indeed, in the midst of Nebraska’s repressed and restrained social and
gender nature, Brandon’s arrival with his “movie star good looks” transcend the
limitations of the working class masculine community. Even if his life is
marked with arrests and fraud, Brandon is a different kind of “man” that
totally contradicts with John and Tom’s nature and view of the world. And it is
Brandon’s charm, attentiveness, sense of hope and aspirations for a better life
that counterbalance what Lana is used to see with the men in her life. One particular
element that is recurrent throughout the film is the constant discussions of
how to make money. At one point, after noting that the only thing she likes to
do is karaoke, Lana says to Brandon: “Can you make money doing karaoke?” and
Brandon responds: “People make money doing all sorts of things”. Here, Brandon
offers Lana a new perspective on economy. Also, Brandon provide Lana with the
chance of mobility. Indeed, to make a life that is outside the character’s
household in Nebraska is another theme present in the movie. As Lana is looking
from someone who can “take her away from all this” Brandon is ultimately the
one who presents her with a new adventure and a romantic escape. Lana: “I’ll go
to Memphis with you / you’re right I’ll make money singing karaoke”. This
suggest how Lana relies on Brandon to save her from the boring City Falls but
it also suggests how to some degree, Lana’s attraction and
love for Brandon is not only based on his tenderness and charm, but it is also
based on his vision for a new improved and self sufficient life away from the
dead Nebraska. However, tragically, limited class culture and preconceived
social gendered norms defeats Brandon and Lana fantasies and their view of love
as a mean of improvement and transformation as the movie ends with Brandon
being brutally murdered by John. 

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