Posts Tagged With: The Danish Girl

David Ebershoff – The Danish Girl

danishgirlI keep picking up these fairly popular books on transgender people, and I keep getting disappointed. It seems all of the trans people are disappointed in life, depressed, schizophrenic, had a very clear choice, and/or has atrophied bits or other gender reproductive system organs in them, that simply needed to be found during the surgery. Convenient. Wow. So I grabbed David Ebershoff book “The Danish Girl” (ISBN 9781474601573; 336p.; Goodreads), with hopes that maybe, maybe this will be better. But once again I got disappointed. So if you don’t feel like reading my rants, know that the movie was pretty okay, even good, but this book is just not worth the trouble, and time.

Einar is a painter, married to a painter. He paints, well, mainly the bog he grew up by, landscapes. She paints portraits, unsuccessfully. The best sold portraits she ever made were of Lilly. Or rather, of her husband dressed as a woman. And while this continues, Einar is sinking deeper, and deeper into some kind of mental illness, split personality disorder. And I mean it. He pulls up the pants, and forgets how he got here, who Lilly spoke to. There’s two completely separate people in his body.

 

Through the book we’re seeing this disorder intensifying. He even gets monthly nose bleeds, which leaves me wondering whether it’s his mind fighting through somehow, or did he have a tumor that split his persona, or otherwise affected him. Mind you, I am not claiming Lilly wasn’t a real woman, or that Einar wasn’t transgender. No, I am sure that was the case. But I am also sure that she was mentally ill too first and foremost, and that they should’ve helped her untangle everything before pushing her to choose: another brain doctor that’ll make your mind masculine again (yes, this is NOT a choice, but the book gave it as one), or a sex change. Oh, and surprise surprise, they open her up, and find some remnants of atrophied female reproductive system bits.

I hated the suggestions in this book: trans people have split personalities; trans people are most likely physically secretly the gender they feel like, you just have to dig deep during surgery; trans people are nuts. They aren’t. Or if they are, it’s not a trans trait, it’s simply a human trait. I await the day where the trans character I’ll read will be happy, living their life, having adventures. This book gets 2 out of 5 for trying.

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Categories: 2-5, Books: Everything | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Diversity: The Danish Girl

I sat here, thinking. So I failed to write about people of color, which has no excuse really, seeing how I’ve read plenty of books on Far East. And I didn’t want to just randomly skip a Friday, and then make a half-assed entry either. But most of all, I didn’t want to wait more before talking about the Danish Girl. So I’ll owe people of color a good post after this one, but here we go.

Transgenders. I thought I’ll write about past books I’ve read, and tell you all about the shitty message they spread. For instance, Palahniuk’s book Invisible Monsters has a seemingly trans character. Then they go ahead and admit they did this to spite their parents. They chose to change sex to spite parents. Let that sink in. And there’s a couple more I would’ve bashed. Including The Danish Girl. I fumed after reading it, and ranted on my social media, until a friend told me to go ahead and watch the movie, because what she saw, was not what I’ve read. So today let’s talk about the movie, and next Friday – about the book.

Einar is a painted married to another painter. He paints nature. She paints portraits. And when one day her model doesn’t come in, she asks her husband to pull on some socks and hold the hem of the dress so she could continue with her work. She doesn’t realize that by doing so she touched and woke someone Einar buried deep. She woke Lilly.
I assume that in the past understanding what you are, when you’re not cis, was even harder than it is now, when we actually have words to describe it, and internet to explain it. So, most likely due to defensive mechanisms that got triggered in Einar’s head, he takes Lilly as another person. What she does is not what he does. And yet soon he comes to understand that he alone is able to split the two like this.
After a couple rough attempts to figure out what is wrong with him, his wife finds a doctor who can actually fix his body, rather than attempt to fix his mind. In books he was sort of given a choice: another crazy scientist that’ll screw holes in your skull to make your brain masculine again, or a different crazy scientist who will reassemble you to make your body right for you. In both scenarios, even if in the movie it’s a mere fleeting hint of a suggestion, Einar chose surgery. Simply here he was sure of it, he knew this was the right path.
The movie is, sadly, a drama, so after a few successful steps in transition, there’s no happy ending for it. Or, rather, there is, as good as circumstances allow, but I, per se, hate when this is the “good” ending kind we get.
I’m glad to see this movie to be fairly popular. And yet I hope people will be too lazy to pick up the book. The book sends off a wrong message, believe me. There, Einar is very much mentally ill, and I have great doubts about him being trans as a foremost reason for it. But we’ll talk about it on Friday.
Categories: Films: General, LGBTQ+ Books, The Afterlife | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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