Late conversations on Tomboy

I’m not surprised in the least that such a film might be considered troublesome, even more than other openly “political” or militant films. It is the truthfulness of its story, that reaches beyond any superimposed ideology of gender/sexuality, that makes it so dangerous; a sheer narrative, free from mystification, of what might be anyone’s childhood, with its endless experiments, its desires and ambitions regularly censored by adults, its need to “fit in” through cherished games and pastimes. All these aspects of childhood merely shown for what they are, in their beauty, complexity and sometimes even their contradictions. This why I think critics of the film who reclaim it as an “identity politics” story, trying to determibe who or what Laure/Mikaël is, might be or would become as an adult, completely miss the point. And this film is most dangerous precisely because of its blithe disregard of any form of identity politics, in that it suggests that our identities are fluid – and are validated both through what we feel “inside” of us and through the recognition we get from others. This fluidity, I believe, is what most unsettles certain heterosexist premises that aim to convince people that identity is monolithic, immutable, preordained and suggesting the contrary is perversion, sin, aberration… epithets vary according to the censor’s ideology. In truth, these heterosexist premises push people to give up their individuality and conform to expectations (from holding certain beliefs to buying certain products), stop wondering and asking questions, giving up to others the power to decide who we are, and who we wish to be.