Walls, D. & Borgman, D. (2000, February). Homosexual issues within the movie, “Show Me Love.” S. Hamilton, MA: Center for Youth Studies.
The original title of this Swedish film was “F—— Amal” with all letters spelled out. Amal is a boring little town in central Sweden. Life there-as it is for many such places in Scandinavia and other places in the world-doesn’t offer much for young people. The film also portrays this place as homophobic, although most of Sweden seems to accept homosexuality as a normal sexual alternative.
“In the town of Amal, homosexuality is considered a disease,” they say in the film. Elin, the film’s main character doesn’t seem the type to experiment sexually. Perhaps because she is so stereotyped, she receives such taunting and hazing from her peers.
Hazing or mobbing is a growing phenomenon among school students today. Kids can be amazingly cruel to each other, and there are government initiatives in Norway and Sweden to reduce hazing.
In the movie, Agnes has experienced rejection and a lack of love. Her needs in these areas seem to explain her strong desires toward Elin. In fact, Agnes is suicidal before her homosexual encounter with Elin.
“Show Me Love” was shown as the final film of the European Gay Pride Convention in the summer of 1999. It received high reviews before and after the convention and was probably the most popular film of the year with Swedish teenagers. The film and convention’s work were praised by the official church in Sweden; its archbishop was given an award in the convention’s closing ceremony.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- Have you seen or heard of “Show Me Love”? Are you interested in seeing or discussing it?
- How can homophobia be diminished? What place would such films have in that attempt?
- Can someone believe homosexual relationships-and the depiction of homosexual activity in popular media-to be wrong or abnormal without being homophobic?
- Can there be tolerance both for homosexuals and those who do not believe it to be normal?
- How do you think you might relate to teenagers like Elin and Agnes?
- There is great difference of opinion as to whether pop culture and the media reflect or influence the youth culture.
- Many viewers are not aware of the battle and lobbying that goes on in terms of the kinds of television programs and movies produced and the values they portray.
- The issue of homosexual activity-whether or not homosexual relationships are a healthy alternative life style-is an issue that divides, not only society, but churches and religion as well.
- Bullying, taunting, hazing, and mobbing are issues that must be dealt with in our schools.
Don Walls and Dean Borgman
© 2017 CYS