Study Guide

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks Gender

By E. Lockhart

Gender

"No, I'm not, Bunny," Ruth said. "I am treating you like a very attractive, still very young, teenage girl." (3.29)

How unfair. Frankie's younger cousin (who's only 12) gets to go to town by himself because he's a boy, but Frankie is kept on a ball and chain because she's a delicate little flower of a girl. Who happens to be a hottie.

These guys, they were so sure of their places in life—so deeply confident of their merit and their future—they didn't need any kind of front at all. (8.67)

Frankie doesn't have the advantage that her boyfriend and all his senior male friends have; she has to struggle to try to break the door open for herself. She needs that front.

Frankie found her friend's attitude infuriating. By opting out of what the boys were doing in favor of a typically feminine pursuit, Trish had closed a door- the door between herself and that boys' club her brothers had on the beach. (12.20)

Trish may think that she's just opting out of something she finds unfun, but Frankie sees it as a betrayal to herself. So she's taking herself out of the picture instead of changing the situation into one that she'd like better. But we wonder what Trish would have to say about all this if she were given the opportunity to speak for herself. We bet she's got a different perspective—one that might be nice to hear.

"Because once you say women are one way, and men or another […] you're setting yourself up to make all kinds of assumptions that actually really suck." (22.78)

Frankie the debater comes out. She stands her ground when Elizabeth makes some generalizations about men and women because she doesn't think that they should be boxed in by their gender.

And because of her sex, because of her age, because (perhaps) of her religion and her feminism, she could sit at their table every day and she would never, never, ever get in. (26.49)

Why won't those dogs accept Frankie into their pack? Just because she's a girl. Hmm, that seems like a very discriminatory thing to do.

These are what I've got that keeps me out of the Loyal Order. Yes, it's my chromosomes, and maybe other things, too, but for a symbol of the difference between me and those boys—I could do worse than boobs. (31.46)

Frankie's very aware of what limits her from becoming a full-fledged member of the Loyal Order (as opposed to just a girlfriend) and it makes her determined, not defeated. She's not going to look at being a girl as a curse—she's going to use it to her advantage.

"Did you know," Frankie went on as casually as she could, "that girls make up fifty-two percent of the student body here, but only about twenty percent of the upper administration?" (33.40)

The whole bra extravaganza actually serves to make a larger point; Frankie finds it a little insulting that women make up so few of the administration at Alabaster. We're betting no one even bothered to realize that before these shenanigans.

She hoped, she hoped, he would understand. That he would appreciate her the way he appreciated Alpha. Admire her cleverness, her ambition, her vision. That he would admit her as his equal, or even as his superior, and love her for what she was capable of. (43.104)

Here, this is who I am. I'm a strong woman. That's what Frankie is trying to convey to Matthew when she opens up to him at the end, but he's just disgusted by the whole thing and doesn't want to be with her anymore.

Frankie was not interested in playing a sport that was rated as nothing by the more powerful half of the population. (46.8)

The administration and therapists think that something is wrong with Frankie, but she just doesn't want to give in to stereotypes.

She will not be simple and sweet. She will not be what people tell her she should be. That Bunny Rabbit is dead. (46.61)

At the end of the day, Frankie rejects all the gender norms that people impose on her. She's not going to be like that. She's going to be her own strong person.

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