Challenging Many Social Norms

by rcase3 on November 19, 2013 - 12:00am


Renee Casey


Challenging Many Social Norms


            The film, My Beautiful Launderette written by Hanif Kureishi, addresses many social issues. It takes place in 1985 in Britain. Omar is a young Pakistani boy who starts to work for is uncle. He becomes very driven and focused of becoming wealthy. His uncle puts Omar in charge of fixing up an old Laundromat of his. Omar gets help from his old friend and lover named Jonny. Jonny is a white boy who used to be good friends with Omar and his father but he left them to go join a racist group. Jonny and Omar reunited and they transformed the Laundromat. This film shows great examples of homosexuality and racism.

         Omar is a very interesting character in the film. He starts off as an innocent boy, taking care of his father, and helping around the house. However he eventually becomes obsessed with money and success that his character becomes more hostile. Normal roles were switched and the Pakistani was the boss of the white boy. Jonny’s friends kept giving him a hard time for doing all the manual labor at the Laundromat. Jonny not only worked for Omar, he also had a sexual romance with him. The controversial issue of their romance was never necessarily addressed because their relationship was never really exposed. I would predict that if their romance was exposed, both of them would experience serious consequences. Omar could potentially be shunned and cut off by his family and both of them would most likely be physically abused.

         Today, homosexually is not necessarily seen as “not normal.” Laws are being passed to allow gay marriage to be legalized. In the film, My Beautiful Launderette Omar was supposed to be married to his cousin.  



The act of challenging social norms is shocking and eye-catching, so when I saw that in your title, I was interested in finding out what film you were going to be writing about: it could be nearly any of them. I myself did not see “My Beautiful Launderette”, so I was glad you included a short summary as your first paragraph; it told me just enough so that I could understand the points you were making, but not too much that it detracted from the focus of your post.
I like that, even such a succinct post, you were able to incorporate examples of racism and homosexuality that you saw in the film. These two issues also work well together, so to speak, because of how they are seen by society. We supposedly live in an age of increased acceptance, but there is still a lot of judgment and inequality for those who are either homosexual, or part of a minority racial group. This judgment is a lot less than it has been in years previous, but it is still much more prevalent that people would like to admit. For example, I saw gays as generally accepted until I came out as bisexual and was surprised at how much of an issue it actually was for some of the people in my life. People tend to be more accepting of things when it does not personally affect them. Perhaps this was why the characters in the film did not come forward about their relationship, as it was both homosexual and interracial. I also liked how you speculated on this and about what might have happened if they had made it known.

I was not able to see the film, My Beautiful Laundrette, so I was intrigued that it was what you chose to blog about. Based on your summary it seems like an interesting film to see, not only because of the plot line but also because of the issues incorporated into the film that you discussed: racism and homosexuality.
I find it interesting that Omar and Jonny’s relationship was not elaborated upon in the film, but I do agree with you in that if it were there probably would be some severe consequences. We are lucky to live in a place that for the most part is accepting of homosexuality because there are other cultures that view it as one of the most heinous of acts. Being a gay man myself, I connect with this quite easily because I have come in contact with my fair share of discrimination and negativity within my lifetime, but I cannot even imagine what it would be like to be gay in a culture that does not accept homosexuality in any way, shape or form. This really puts many aspects of life in the U.S. into perspective and further emphasizes the importance of films like this that address and challenge social norms in multiple cultures.

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