All About Stereotypes
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All About StereotypesBreaking Stereotypes
by Sharon White -
The movie "Billy Elliot" deals with the struggle against the gender role stereotype rooted in our society. This happens on two narrative levels. To be more precise, the desperate fight of the miners that Billy´s father supports at the beginning, as well as he can, is displayed by the useless efforts to prevent Billy from developing into a good ballet dancer and becoming sophisticated. The industrial progress taking place in the depressed area and the cultural advance in Billy´s family cannot be prevented -neither by his father nor by anyone else as the end concluding scenes of the film shows.
A scene demonstrating this parallel quite vividly is the (also) parallel sequence where Billy in a lesson works hard to improve his dancing on the one hand and the police defeat the striking workers in their own neighborhood on the other.
Taking a look at Billy´s part in the film, I would even say that Billy does not only achieve a cultural education for himself, but he is the one who who makes culture and new working class values ac
cessible to his family. For instance he does not only start to learn ballet, but he also shows an interest in the content described in famous stories such as "Swan Lake". He is the one who thinks differently. No one else in his family would have the courage to behave like Billy in public. Billy proves that just because he likes ballet, it does not mean he is a "poof". Moreover he even shows tolerance towards his gay friend Michael by still accepting him as his friend.
Similar to Billy´s resistance against his old fashioned father the miners´ strike is only being broken by a couple of workers at first. His father however believes in common working class values. So it is only natural for him to send Billy to boxing class. He not only joins the strike with his elder son Tony, who follows this tradition even more...