Doing gender refers to a paradigm shift that operates under the premise that as opposed to simple being an innate quality, gender is a construct that is greatly influenced by our depiction of it through our behavior. The behaviors depicted are essentially aspects of the social constructs that have been ingrained within people’s psyche, with their attitudes, beliefs and values sufficiently influenced to the extent that these preexisting social constructs affect how they react to situations. This performance of gender usually serves to depict gendered behavior as occurring naturally, serving to perpetuate a system within which ones femininity or masculinity is gauged based on their ability to follow the pre-set expectations, it is these expectations that then serve to govern what is acceptable for a given gender and what is unacceptable. Similarly, Aubrey and Beca depict contrasting and at times similar concepts of gender, either subverting or sustaining the existing societal definitions of gender.
Aubrey depicts a character quite set in her ways, ways and behavior which seem to reaffirm and sustain the existing normative definition of gender. Although Aubrey does have a few instances in which her behavior in not lady like, for instance when she accidentally vomits on stage, as well as when she deliberately vomits during practice to prove a point. Excluding these few instances, Aubrey’s actions, gestures, conversations and bodily comportment in a number of instances within the film Pitch Perfect, serve to reaffirm societal definitions of the female gender. Right from the initial interaction, the contrasting approaches to doing gender is evident between Beca and Aubrey. For Aubrey, conforming to societal constructs of gender come naturally, as is evident in her dress code throughout the film. When the freshmen report to school and the bands are recruiting, Aubrey is seen in an elegant pink dress, as would be expected of a lady. Further, Aubrey comes across as an individual who takes her looks quite seriously, as can be seen by the efforts she makes towards keeping fit, and dressing well.
The lady like manner with which Aubrey carries herself, is evident even in the manner with which she interacts with other people. At the beginning, she seems to despise Beca, calling her too “alternative when speaking to Chloe regarding recruiting Beca. Based on her dialogue with Amy, she seems to take issue with the fact that Amy seems to be comfortable with being called fat, perhaps in line with the fact that society already prescribes a certain kind of treatment for individuals they feel are fat, which makes it an undesirable characteristic, especially within a lady. Due to the restraint that comes with acting in the accepted way, Aubrey finds herself having to amicably deal with situations that given a chance she would most likely react differently to. For instance, when dealing with insults from Beca and the boys’ group, Aubrey remains civil and seemingly never loses her composure, with the exception of only one instance. Through her reactions, Aubrey shows that she is uncomfortable with Beca rapping at the Ripoff. Similarly, she also seems to frown upon Amy’s decision to rip off her shirt following the conclusion of their presentation at the regionals. Aubrey therefore, depicts and does gender in a manner that is not only traditional, but also in a manner that is more often than not, most likely to sustain normative definitions of gender.
Different from other characters in the film such as Aubrey, Beca Mitchell is a reclusive young lady who represents change in the traditional views on feminism. Straight from her attitude, behavior and actions we can constantly view distinct differences from the traditional socially viewed exhibits of feminine traits. Beca’s antifeminism behavior is mainly noted in her mode of dressing, gestures, dialogues and body comportment. It is strongly assumed socially that femininity should go hand in hand with biological created factors and behavioral traits. Beca’s behavior goes against the femininity belief that females should be gentle, show empathy and sensitivity. For instance, even after she had joined Barden University for a month she was yet to make any friend, at some point she tries to befriend Kimmy Jin but did not succeed. Further, it is not usual for a lady to be too private even when facing a challenge; we note that Beca pushes people away when she feels vulnerable. We note that she pushes even those who truly care for her just as her father and Jesse. Though with little effort Beca is still a lady and finally manages to befriend Fat Amy and Chloe, even though it does not come naturally as it is expected for a lady.
Clothing and body appearance dictate the ideal feminine appearance, it has traditionally been stated that the standards of a female should be flowing hair, facial beauty, narrow waist and general colorful. Any female is expected to enhance their appearance paying more attention or portraying these characteristics. However, in the case of Beca character, she constantly disregards these expected standards of a female. From her appearance and specifically by her mode of dressing we can clearly note that she does not respect the femininity standards. Most of Beca’s outfits are of dark combination. While we constantly see other ladies such as Chloe and Fat Amy wearing bright colors Beca constantly wears dark tops and a pair of trousers. She does not also pay too much attention to jewelry since she severally wears an ear spike on her left ear.
Actions also tell a lot about ones beliefs and character, femininity dictates that female relationships should be based on the need to share or socialize and the increasing desire for companionship. However, this is bound to change as evidenced by Beca’s activities around her relationships, leaving the viewer to conclude that her relationships are not purely based on the assumed reasons for female relationships. For instance, Beca’s relationship with Chloe can be said that Beca constantly felt that Chole was invading her private space, while all that Chloe wanted was a good friend to relate with. Beca’s activity is also noted in relation to antifeminism when she is arrested for property destruction after their semi finals. It is actually not lady like behavior to react the way Beca reacted; she resulted to violence while resolving a dispute and this saw her arrested and billed out by her father.
Using the two female character in the film Pitch Perfect we can confidently conclude that gender and related normative exist in all cultures and should not be taken as facts. Though the female character Aubrey is viewed as a perfect example of the idea female we also see Beca as a strong character that strongly stands for what she beliefs in though contradicting the normative gender qualities. Both Aubrey and Beca are great characters who depict different themes in the society even though they are of the same gender. Therefore, the existing gender normative such as femininity are simply ways that the society uses to devalue certain cultures, identity, symbols while depowering personal choices.