Siegel, Carol. “Curing Boys Don’t Cry: Brandon Teena’s Stories.” Genders 37 (2003). Web. 3 Feb. 2016.
Siegel argues that the depiction of Lotter and Nissen in Boys Don’t Cry discounts the trauma experienced by American male youths in the pursuit and performance of culturally expected masculinities. For example, Siegel notes that the filmic representations of Lotter, Tisdel, and Brandon make Lotter appear as if he is around ten years older than Tisdel and Brandon. Consequently, viewers are encouraged to vilify Lotter when he shows sexual interest in the adolescent Tisdel. Moreover, Siegel claims the film does not contextualize the childhood or adolescent experiences of Lotter and Nissen—both grew up in cultures of violence and poverty, and both were imprisoned in their teens. Had the film attended to Lotter’s and Nissen’s respective experiences it would have been, according to Siegel, a more complex feminist project, in that it would force viewers to interrogate the psychical and physical violence exacted upon boys as they transition into culturally constructed notions of manhood. In particular, Siegel points out that the film should have considered how prison life, specifically rape as a means to establish masculine authority, influenced Lotter and Nissen’s decision to rape Brandon. In other words, rather than reading the rape as an act of physical brutality vested in propping up the gender binary (as most theorists do), Siegel suggests that the rape be read as one type of masculinity (Lotter & Nissen’s) policing and asserting its dominance over another type of masculinity (Brandon’s).