Priscilla, Queen of the Desert Film Critical Analysis

Considering the backlash of political incorrectness and lack of diversity, could this movie be made today?

This critical analysis is based on The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert film. The movie features the journey of the three drag queen; Bernadette, Mitzi/Tick, and Felicia/Adam, travelling to Alice Spring from Sydney in a bus nicknamed Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. This road trip is initiated by Marion, Tick’s ex-wife invitation to perform at a Casino where she works. Bernadette, a female transgender, agrees to join Tick to get over her lover’s death, while Felicia joined Tick to fulfil her lifetime dream of ascending King’s Canyon in drag. The three experienced frustration and joy, discrimination and open-mindedness along the way. They also came across a host of interesting character who include Bob, the Priscilla mechanic and queens’ friend, a butch dyke who abused the queens verbally when they invaded her pub, the Philippine opportunist, who wiles Bob to marrying her and then leaves after getting tired with him, and Aborigines group that helps queens when they encountered mechanical problem. Although the queens failed to amaze the Alice Springs shocked audience, they experienced exciting moment, mutual understanding and self-discovery in this road trip (Cook, n.d., p.3). This paper analyses the political incorrectness and lack of diversity in case the movie was created today.

The movie was produced in 1994 when homosexuality was highly hated and related with HIV/Aids epidemic. Homosexuals during this time were highly stereotyped and prejudiced. The film thus portrays a lot of sexual and racial politics in Australia at this time. When analysed during the 21st century, it is easy to note what would be today regarded as discrimination and hostility against minority LGBT group by different communities and most heterosexual society. The film clearly demonstrates transphobic and homophobic among people in Australian society, which made majority to be violent against the queens and also to dislike their presentation. Majority in the society refused to accept them and some even vandalized their properties as a way of putting a stop to their trip or activities. This has greatly hanged in today’s world. Homosexuality and transgender is more accepted in today’s society than in 1994. Moreover, different countries have legalized homosexual marriages, and protecting them from discrimination or cruelty. In addition, the mystery of HIV/Aids which was being highly associated with them then has today been more understood (Atterberry, 2016). Thus, the kind of LGBT sexual politics portrayed in this film do not have a room today since there has been laws enacted to protect LGBT minority from social injustice. Today’s society is also more diverse and accepts diversity in terms of dressing and behaviour compared to the society encountered by Priscilla in its adventurous trip. This reduces the chances of society paying much attention to diverse aspects of life.

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Social injustice against LGBT is also portrayed by when the queens are thrown out of the bar by butch dyke woman. They had a bad experience where they were verbally abused and chased out of the bar. This is sexual politics, where LGBT minorities were discriminated to an extent of being denied access to public social facilities in their country. The dyke woman reaction in the bar demonstrates the hostility the LGBT members used to face during 1990s (Atterberry, 2016). LGBT could then be denied access to public services even in governmental institutions. However, this would be incorrect sexual politics in today’s world since LGBT relations have been legalized and laws against their discrimination defined. There have been a number of human rights activists fighting to ensure that LGBT minorities are protected against any form of mistreatment. LGBT minorities can today go to any public office and social gatherings and be treated just like all other individuals seeking these services. Thus, the act of throwing them out of any business related joint may attract a legal action against the dower. These changes have highly protected LGBT and racial minorities from discrimination they were facing from general public.

The film portrays a lot of racial and sexual politics which may seem highly unethical in today’s society. The unethical racism can be illustrated using the case of Bob’s Philippine wife Cynthia who only stays with him until she is tired. She then leave him without considering his feelings or making an effort to make the marriage work. Marrying with selfish motive is highly unethical. It also demonstrates racial superior race feels entitled into taking advantage of minority racial to destabilize their peace and economic ability. Although racial politics may still be experienced in today’s society its magnitude is quite low, especially among two individual who consider getting married to each other. The conflict between Bob and Cynthia is seems to portray racial differences and possible failure of any inter-racial marriage. However, this is incorrect racial politics since, there have been a huge number of successful racial marriages where partners respect each other and work to enhance the success of all (Laforteza, 2006, p. 10). Cynthia action also seems to fuel a relationship between Bob and Bernadette, propagating LGBT expansion even further, as a heterosexual man Bob switch sides. 

The film generally exposed some of difficulties minority groups used to experience in the societies either for choosing to be in the minority group with, regard to sexuality or for being born in a minority group, with regard to racial groups. The film demonstrates stereotyping of the minority groups by other member of the society, violence and other discriminations. Although these discriminations may still be experienced in some parts of the world, their magnitude has deeply reduced especially with enactment of laws to protect the minorities. Consequently, the racial and sexual politics are not viable in today’s world, especially in countries where the discriminations against minority groups have been illegalized.

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