Now Reading
People are not happy about the new Netflix film Girl

People are not happy about the new Netflix film Girl

Belgian drama film Girl, currently streaming on Netflix, is causing a lot of controversy in the transgender community for its fetishization of trans bodies

Girl, a Belgian drama directed by Lukas Dhont, is causing a lot of controversy. The film is currently streaming on Netflix.

The story follows 15-year-old Lola, a trans girl studying at a prestigious Belgian dance academy. While training as a ballerina, she is also in the process of getting gender reassignment surgery (GRS).

The film was selected as the Belgian entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards. Still, members of the LGBTI community are unhappy with its depiction of the trans experience.

Criticism of Girl

‘Unfortunately, the film, which already won the Camera d’Or at Cannes for best first feature film, does little to explore the inner psychology of a trans adolescent and focuses much more on the physical,’ writes Mathew Rodriguez for IntoMore.

‘The film takes its cues from Black Swan and often feels like a horror film that conflates two journeys: the journey of becoming a ballerina — an unrealistic, idealized form of feminine beauty — with the journey of being transgender.’

‘Put simply: the film is bloody and obsessed with trans bodies in a way that reminds us that a cisgender person wrote and directed it. It’s trans trauma porn and, as a cisgender person, I’m warning trans people not to watch it and cis people not to fall for it.’

One main criticism is that, like many films about trans people, the main character is played by a cis male (Victor Polster).

The film’s director was vocal about his ‘gender-blind’ casting process. Regardless, many take issue with the film being exclusively written by, directed by, and starring cis people.

‘The film is birthed wholly from the mind of a cis person and employs only cis fascination with trans bodies to tell its story,’ Rodriguez says.

Twitter reactions

People on Twitter tend to agree with Rodriguez’s take.

Anything else?

Backlash over the film Girl comes just months after Netflix received criticism for homophobic and fatphobic show Insatiable. More recently, the Netflix show Sierra Burgess Is A Loser has also seen negative reactions. Like Insatiable, people dislike its themes of homophobia and transphobia.