September 01, 2020 in Analysis

The Aggressives Film Analysis

The Aggressives is not only an exciting and interesting documentary but the film that is devoted to gender questions, the subculture of lesbian butches and their ‘femme’ counterparts. It means that this film violates the problem of the interaction between genders and the place of sexual minorities in the community. The value of The Aggressives is that it truly reveals the position of sexual minorities despite the idealized principles of gender equality and laws protecting lesbians’ and guys’ rights. Moreover, this film reinforces the stereotypes that exist in the society and are difficult for rooting out. Consequently, this essay intends to analyze such gender issues depicted in The Aggressives: gender, sexuality, and race dilemmas changing the gender roles of women.

Gender, Sexuality, and Race Dilemmas

The main characters of the film The Aggressives are the several women who are lesbians and name themselves aggressives. It means that such name is inspired by the position of females in the community and males’ attitude to them. The principals of the film are diverse women whose names are Kisha, Octavia, Flo, Tiffany, Rjai, and Marquise. It is evident that the main characters undergo not only gender and sexuality challenges but the racial ones. The term ‘aggressives’ seems to be self-chosen by the diverse women who present their gender in different ways and socialize in bars, via cell phones, and online. There is no a crucial difference between butch lesbians and aggressives. The aggressive identity of lesbians is the result of the stereotypical perception of sexual and racial minorities.

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One of the characters Tiffany is a pioneer in a new realm of sexual and gender identity. However, she does not suppose herself a lesbian dating transgender women and having sex with them. She is ironical of blurring labels imposed by the masculinity. Tiffany does not care about other people’s opinions selling drugs, gossiping, and looking for love. It means that Tiffany is a prototype of the female who is not afraid of challenges and changes. Octavia is another main character in this film that got out of prison. It is evident that the woman is gender and socially gendered. Moreover, the woman was charged for having lesbian sex with an inmate and making a contraband dildo. However, the accusation includes the following statement ‘tampering with State property’. It means that the society is full of labels and stereotypes.

Gender challenges in The Aggressives are seen in the life of butch lesbians, their tribulations and trials given their queer daily existence. One should say that the aggressives are the desperate women who have been abused by males. As a result, the main characters have become more masculine in attitudes, physique, and appearance. Some of them identify themselves as transsexuals. However, most of them are lesbians and women. The film The Aggressives underlines the idea that women can live without men happily showing their daily existence that includes joining the military, sex, competing in fashion shows, working conditions with other drag queens and butch lesbians. It is evident that the main characters try to combine male and female gender roles to show that they are managed to fulfill them successfully.

The value of the film The Aggressives is that the filmmakers do not impose their vision of gender and sexuality questions. They show what means to be an Aggressive without using this term very often as it is evident that they address women’s gendered experience. The race dilemma is in the idea of filmmakers to depict lives of the diverse women. As a result, it becomes evident that women are equally abused and treated unequally in spite of race and place of living. One character of the film is Korean, and others are African-Americans. However, the differences in culture and mentality do not change the males’ attitude to women’s roles. Moreover, it is evident that females’ story has started since childhood under the influence of break-up, absent fathers, and high school experiences.

Not without reason, the main characters become ‘aggressives’ as all of them has a bitter experience of being abused or unequally treated by males. For example, Tiffany dealt with the situation when one teacher asked her every day if she was a girl or a boy. When Tiffany stated that she was a girl, the teacher would continue to say that Tiffany was a funny name for a boy. It means that the teacher supposed masculinity a superior quality that gave the power and preferences. Moreover, he did not regard women as the human beings with rights, roles, and advantages. The film The Aggressives reinforces the idea of hegemonic masculinity in Western culture that influences females of other races negatively.  Consequently, women are seen as sexual objects. Moreover, men show hostility toward females’ homosexuality. Not without reason, the characters of the film name themselves ‘aggressives’ being the victims of male’s abuse and violence. 

The power of this film is that women are not afraid of being differently gendered. They realize that they are aggressive and lesbian and find the courage to be who they are. However, these females are vulnerable due to their past experience. One woman has a child, and her self-acceptance does not come easily as her life is related to the father of this child. Others feel difficulties in terms of economics and family that have become the driving forces of their desire for being gendered differently. Some characters were abandoned by one parent at a young age through death or departure of the parents. It means that they have the psychological trauma that deters them from being heterosexual and having affairs with males. There are also such women that deal with the disappointment in personal achievements selling drugs, being fashion models, and going into the military. However, these mistakes are also made under the influence of males. 

One should mention the film The Aggressives regards violence, invisibility, and gender identity as the driving forces of females’ desire to become lesbian and aggressive in their behaviors, attitudes, and life principles. As a result, women have found a real home in drag ball culture and lesbian spaces thinking that they escape from uncertain family relationships, little education opportunities, and discrimination. However, isolation is not the solution to the gender issues; it is a temporary way of their avoiding. 


In conclusion, it is evident that the film The Aggressives reveals the common gender issues related to gender, sexuality, and race dilemmas changing the gender roles of women. As a result, the females find the solution to these problems isolating in the community of ‘aggressives’ and lesbians. They ignore gender, race, and sexuality dilemmas creating their principles of living in the heterosexual community where men feel superiority and power. However, the key problem of this film is that isolation cannot prevent females from discrimination, unequal treatment, and abuse. There should be more radical activities as the described characters feel isolated from others having their interests and lifestyles. However, it is not the solution to gender issues. It is just a way of avoiding the interaction with men, their abuse and violence. Moreover, the name ‘aggressives’ underlines their desire for becoming the males. However, indeed, they should strive for being females free from any kind of discrimination.

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