Review of Gwen Araujo Story

by Marisa Knox

The Lifetime Movie “A Girl Like Me: Gwen Araujo” is truly an inspiring film. The story of Eddy “Gwen “ Araujo exemplifies how one family dealt with societies judgments of sexuality, gender and identity. Gwen knew since she was a child that she was born the wrong gender. Gwen knew she was a female trapped inside a man’s body, and since that first revelation, she longed to break from that entrapment. What many people, even her family members, thought was just as a girly phase, was what Gwen believed to be was her destined persona. Ignorance and fear were key reasons why here family her family at first disowned her. However she did not let that become an obstacle. Gwen learned that “Life is what you make it”, and she followed her heart and soul.
It took strength to take on a transformation from societal norms. In the height of social conformity and peer pressure, Gwen took the brave step of transforming into the female she was born to be. Gwen was alone on this journey at first until she gained the support of her mother and siblings. Gwen desperately needed their support because she frequently suffered the retaliation of hate and bullying by peers, teachers, and sometimes family members. Gwen suffered from the type of hate spun from enjoying the forbidden. Guys hated finding Gwen attractive, because it went against the gender binary that their whole live were based off. Societal pressure caused many of the men Gwen came into sexual contact with to fear transgendered women. They feared what others would think of them for enjoying Gwen’s pleasure. Women were jealous of Gwen’s natural beauty. They were threaten by Gwen.
Gwen actively took control of her own life, and leading by example this set the path for others to follow. “Life is what you make it.” Gwen’s favorite quote exemplifies her belief that everyone has a chance to be whatever they want. As long as the person shows self-motivation, dedication and drive. The option to start a new beginning is always available. Gwen affected many people in positive ways. For instance before Joey met Gwen, he suffered from alcoholism. However, Gwen encouraged him to wipe his slat clean and gave himself a second chance. Why could society not do the same for Gwen?
Gwen was a normal girl. Yet to society’s standards she was a considered a freak. The centuries of gender roles and hetero-normative culture caused Gwen to experience backlash for being who she truly was. Gwen’s death was preventative. If society would acknowledge that transgendered women are women too, and work to gain knowledge about transgender community, then less attacks would occur. Education on such topics would decrease the homophobia that society has overall on such topics. Gwen died for what she believed in; for believing in herself, and for believing in hope that one day the rest of the world believe in her as well. However as much as Gwen wanted that day of acceptance to come, she didn’t waste her life waiting on it, because she knew that “life is what you make it”.

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