The film clearly shows how society judges anyone who is different and what affect that can have on a child. Billy's father and brother, both union leaders, are "man's men." They are rough, crude, insulting, and unable to understand anything other than their own masculine tendencies. They bully Billy and cannot accept that he is interested in something as feminine as ballet. They want him to stop, never caring how much he loves the dance. Even worse, they fail to recognize that he is good, good enough to earn a spot at the Royal Ballet School. They try to stop his dreams because they are afraid people will think he is a "poof" (gay), which shows they care more about what society thinks than they care about their own family. This shows how strong gender expectations can be, and how they can affect a child from a very early age. Luckily, Billy's teacher and mentor convinces them that Billy really does have a chance at succeeding in his goals, and the family relents. The film ends happily with Billy achieving his dreams, and his family watching him on stage. However, it makes the viewer wonder how many other children have suffered as a result of gender expectations. How many other little boys could not follow their dreams because their families disapproved? How many other little girls could not participate in sports or other activities because they were too "boyish" or "manly?" The film is...
This has to affect them throughout the years, and has to affect their psychology.
Ultimately, these gender expectations can give children a huge disadvantage. They not so subtly tell the child they cannot do certain things because of their gender. Little boys are not supposed to show their emotions or enjoy feminine pursuits. Later, they grow up into men who hide their emotions, even from their families, and cannot relate to other people. They believe they cannot cross certain boundaries, or engage in many activities (real men don't cook, for example), and they lead to fractures in families and in living a whole and complete life. Little girls grow up thinking there are some things they just cannot do, and that makes them weaker adults who expect less of themselves. Gender expectations create gulfs in relationships, and in people's own expectations of themselves. Instead of limiting what boys and girls can do, society should give them the tools to explore whatever they want; it will make them stronger and more stable adults.
In conclusion, "Billy Elliot" is an ultimately feel good film, because Billy achieves his goals with the understanding and help of his family. That is good for the audience, but in reality, there are probably far too many Billy Elliot's out there who cannot achieve their dreams due only to their gender, and that is a very troubling aspect…
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