How does All About My Mother confuse usual gender categorizations? Discuss how it is a film made in the wake of Judith Butler’s concept that gender rather than being natural is instead constructed and performed? In this film confuses gender categorizations because even though we see women we find out that half of them are men. The society has defined rules for how men and women should appear and act. Most of us follow socially defined gender roles.
However, in the film such roles are switched, and therefore confuse us at who is who sexually. Watching this film Judith Butler would say that there is polymorphous in it.In the beginning of a film after the death of her son, Manuela goes to Barcelona to find the father about whom she said is dead. The first place is where the hookers hang out. We are somewhat confused whether Agrado is a man and a woman. It is confusing since the appearance and the behavior is so feminine and therefore misleading to the eye. He has made many operations to look like a woman.
Agrado is not the only one.The one spoken of as Lola whom we only see in pictures at the middle of the movie and in person at the end is a man as well, however he remains a man sexually and performs like one. According to Manuela he was a man who she married and who later got breast implants, and long hair, yet that didn’t stop him from acting like a man who had sex with everyone he possibly could.
He seems to perform male tasks (such as sex) while in appearance as a woman. Gender roles are switched in this movie. People who are naturally men perform gender roles of women.
Agrada for example is seen with pigtails, wears a suit and is seen ironing clothing in the actress’s room and is asked by “Johny” to perform another thing, as if Agrada is a woman.Huma on the other hand is completely misleading and mysterious. In my understanding it seems to be a man.
I would say that because in the beginning of the film she says something like “it is hard enough being an actress but harder a man.” Unless I heard it wrong it seems like Huma says she is a man. We never find out Huma’s original name. But let’s pretend that Huma is a woman, then we can see how “she” performs.
Huma always dresses very feminine, has jewelry and make up at all times. She seems somewhat fetished, like a woman should be.Manuela herself performs as a woman and is sexually a woman, but she performs the task of raising children, just like society has defined it.
The first example of that would be raising her son Esteban. The second example would be when Sister Rosa becomes pregnant and is afraid to tell her mother about it. Manuela lets Rosa move in and takes care of her as if her own daughter. She mentions that Rosa has her own mother to take care of; therefore indicating she (Manuela) is performing a role of a mother to Rosa. The third example is when Rosa dies while childbirth and Manuela is once again asked to care for a child.Rosa being a nun is another category of itself.
Everyone is shocked to find out that she is pregnant. The society knows that nuns are not supposed to sleep with men and especially not before marriage. Rosa is therefore redefining the “nun” in society.
From the above we see that this film shows that gender rather than being natural is instead constructed and performed by Agrada and Lola and may be the Huma. Roles in this film are defined more by situations and not by what society has defined them to be.