[tw rape, murder, transphobia]
The real horror here is that Boys Don’t Cry was based on a true story. Brandon Teena was a real person, who was really brutally raped and killed. The scene that McFarlane is making a sexualized joke out of really happened to a real human being who really died. Because according to McFarlane, breasts exist for men’s amusement, and the total violation and murder of people with breasts is just a big joke because the bodies of women and FAAB people are just hilarious.
When McFarlane reduces Swank’s amazingly powerful performance down to a punchline about her body, he’s doing more than making light of her talent. He’s literally inviting people to laugh at rape and murder. He’s construing breasts as existing for men’s pleasure, whether sexual pleasure or just to make fun of, all the time—even when they belong to people, like Brandon Teena in Boys Don’t Cry, who identify as men. Even when they are exposed as part of a badly injured body, like Charlize Theron in Monster—another film based on a true story. Even when they symbolize the racist sexualization of black women by white men, like Halle Berry in Monster’s Ball. Even when they’re visible during a violent gang rape, as passerby cheer the attackers on, like Jodie Foster in The Accused, once again based on a real-life attack. Even when, like Scarlet Johansson, another target of the boob song, personal nude photographs of them were leaked without consent.