Aaron, Michele. “Pass/fail.” Screen 42:1 Spring 2001: 92-96. Print.
Concerned with genre and spectatorship, Aaron suggests that the mainstream appeal of Boy Don’t Cry is its association with the “crossdressing or transvestite film” (92). Aaron claims that BDC and other crossdressing films–like Some Like It Hot, Victor/Victoria, and Mrs. Doubtfire–share similar narrative structures and thematics. Some of these include: 1) “build[ing] from the initial assumption of disguise to the grand public disclosure”; 2) “prioritiz[ing] a love story”; and 3) exploring the fixity and/or fluidity of gender identity (92). But BDC, Aaron contends, “reinvents the basic formula” of the crossdressing film, particularly “the disavowal of spectatorial implication which is central to the genre” (92). Narratively, while in the process of moving towards the disclosure of the “protagonist’s true identity,” crossdressing films recurrently “remind the spectator of this real identity” (93). According to Aaron, critics have read this narrativizing strategy both positively and negatively: on the one hand, it is representative of a move from transgression and chaos to control and order; on the other, it opens up “a radical space for gender and sexual ambiguity” within mainstream film (93). Nonetheless, the reminders of the protoganist’s “true” identity in crossdressing films “represent the spectator’s disavowal of queerness: they both deny and acknowledge, contain and permit, the queer by-products of crossdressing” (93). BDC, alternatively, does not present passing “as a means to an end,” but “the end itself” (94). Brandon’s “true identity,” which Aaron says is transgender, is always known to the spectator. Rather than trying to “pass as someone else,” Brandon is actually trying to inhabit his “true” self (94).