The Psychology of Human Sexuality in The Bird Cage

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The Psychology of Human Sexuality in The Bird Cage

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 bo...

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... stereotypical woman, as well as the snobby attributes of a politician's wife. Both are shown as being unable to let loose and have a little fun.

There are no gender identities, orientations or roles that are not poked fun of and explored in the movie The Bird Cage. The director seems to have played up humorous stereotypes of each, creating an awareness in the audience of the silliness of attributing characteristics to an individual based solely on his or her sexual orientation. While homosexuals are seen as oversexed and horny, heterosexuals are seen as having no sexual urges. Women are characterized as being emotional ditzes, and men as the voice of reason. The fact that society perpetuates so many stereotypes about homosexuals is what makes this film so humorous. Who can help but laugh at a gay males dancing cabaraet style as women? This film shows individuals living alternative lifestyles, and being happy and adjusted while doing so. This is a new concept to many viewers, who can laugh about their ignorance while seeing that sometimes different is just plain fun. educating its audience through the exploration of sexual roles, and the stereotypes that we hold of them.

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