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Her vibrant pink, knotty hair looks like the 1:1 equivalent of my 1:6 scale action figure Anneka's. As cool as I find the color of Wachowski's hair, I seriously query her white woman's appropriation of dreadlocks. >_>
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Wow, Slate actually has an interesting article for once! On Outward ["expanding the LGBTQ conversation," whatever the hell that means], Miz Cracker writes a post on "Getting into Drag: The Many Meanings of Being a Queen." To answer the question of what drag is, the author interviews other drag performers. In bullet form, her findings are as follows:
  • Drag ain't necessarily about looking glamorous and fashionable. Nor is it necessarily about appearing unclockably feminine.
  • Drag may be thought of as an acting job, performance art in which one creates and embodies a character.
  • Drag usually has subversive elements in which the performers comment on and criticize society.
  • Drag has an ambiguous relationship to trans identities. For some people, drag is a means to seriously explore alternative gender presentations. For others, it is not particularly reflective of their own gender identities.
In my estimation, Miz Cracker neglects some important aspects of drag. For one thing, she doesn't really interrogate drag queening's history as an art practiced by men, frequently in comic contexts. Thus it has an ambiguous relationship to the concepts of femininity and womanhood. In its exaggerated style, does drag reflect a loving tribute to women and femininity? Is it rather an over-the-top misogynist mockery? Drag is not inherently fabulous and therefore unproblematic, and I think a truly substantive inquiry into its nature should address its messy history.

For another thing, how does race play into dragging? Toward the end of her article, Miz Cracker refers to Kizha Carr's treatment of racism in one of her routines. She also adds that drag "is the only forum where [she] can speak candidly...about the issues shaping [her] life," one of which includes racism. Right, so drag queens of color may take race as a subject for commentary, but how does race more generally inflect queens' initial decisions to go into drag queening and then the development of their art in general? Drag queens from different racial and ethnic backgrounds probably have different reasons and philosophies, depending on their cultures of origin, that help them interpret their work, and we can't have a full discussion about the meanings and goals of drag without that information.

Finally, how does socioeconomic class contribute to the discourse on drag? All the queens in Miz Cracker's article, including the author herself, talk about performing in bars, dealing with sexual harassment from audience members, etc. In other words, the queens spend much of their time playing small venues and not earning tons of money. They work hard and depend on an uncertain income. Even though Bob TheDragQueen appears in the article with bling that says RICH clamped between her teeth, she and her sisters probably really aren't. 
What's going on here? Aspirations to upward mobility? A proclamation of self-worth through looking richly caparisoned? I dunno, but I'd sure like to find out.

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Queer interpretation of Gotye's Somebody That I Used to Know. The facial expressions and acting make it all clear here -- person 1 is a whiny, self-entitled creep, and person 2 is liberated upon ridding their life of them.

Solo interpretation of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody...with bonus translation in notes. Performer's facial expressions and body language during guitar solos show how much fun he's having!

Both of these translations illustrate how putting a song into a different language change, transfigure and enhance it.
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Check out this photo series by Sarah Deragon, "The Identity Project." She takes pictures of people and tags them according to how they identify. They all face the camera squarely, some hamming it up, dressing and posturing in ways that they feel reveals who they are. As a bonus, their proud, challenging expressions [for example, the person in portrait 1, who appears to be thinking, "It's too early in the morning for this heteronormative bullshit!"] also serve as a critique of narrow, rigid identity categories at use in broader society. I would like 1:6 scale populations with all of those skin colors, body shapes, hairstyles and expressions, please...
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...I did 1:6 scale paper dolls. In the fall of 1997, I drew several of Jareth [much to my frustration, he never came out right], myself and various fictional characters. I've selected my two favorites for exhibition today.

Read more... )
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Colorado's civil rights division has determined that Coy Mathis, prohibited from using her school's bathroom, has been unfairly discriminated against for being told to hold it all damn day just because she has a penis. She will now be able to take a shit on school premises again. Why we needed to go all the way up to the state judiciary to determine that taking a crap is an inalienable right is beyond me. But at least now the Bathroom Police Department in Colorado Springs, Colorado can fuck right the fuck off.
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A South Carolina couple is suing the state for performing unnecessary mutilative surgery on their son, who was born with ambiguous genitalia, operated on at the Medical University of South Carolina and assigned female. The Crawfords adopted him after this surgery and raised their son as a girl until last year, when he said he was actually a boy. 

NBC says:

The state lawsuit accuses the Medical University of South Carolina — where the surgery was performed — and Greenville Hospital — where the child was born — of negligence medical malpractice for not getting the patient's informed consent before surgery and failing to warn of potential problems resulting from it. At 16 months old, the suit alleges, the child was too young to make such a decision, one that could have waited until years later.

That complaint accuses state Social Services officials of failing to protect the child from the consequences of the surgery. A federal lawsuit also accuses doctors and state officials of violating the child's civil rights by performing the surgery without consent.

I applaud the Crawfords for resisting the medical industrial complex's obsession with forcibly shoving everyone into M or F categories before the people being shoved into the categories can express any preference. It is indeed a violation of civil rights to alter people's bodies like that without their consent. All parties being sued should indeed be held accountable for their assumptions that they can steamroll individual liberties for the sake of some stinkin', rigid gender binary bullshit.

I'm also happy that the parents seem pretty cool with their son selecting a different gender presentation than the one assigned him at mutilation. They come across in the article as parents who really love their son and who want him to be happy. They want to protect him, but they know sadly that the world doesn't see their son the way that he does and they do. i.e., the way he actually is.

Tagged "trans yay" for resistance to forcible gender reassignment, acceptance of personally chosen gender reassignment and generally cool kid and parents. Tagged "stupid cis people" for the medical establishment against which they are fighting.
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Gaystarnews is running an article based on an interview that Richard O'Brien recently did with the BBC in which he's talking about gender identity. GSN's title for the article is "Rocky Horror writer Richard O'Brien believes he is ‘30% female’ after taking hormones," which is NOT WHAT HE SAID.

This is what he said:

"It's my belief that we are on a continuum between male and female. There are people who are hardwired male and there are people who are hardwired female, but most of us are on that continuum and I believe myself probably to be about 70% male, 30% female."

He was also talking about having been on estrogen for a decade, but he never made the causal connection between his hormones and his 70/30 split. Given what he says about his history, it's possible that he experienced this 70/30 split well before taking estrogen and therefore started estrogen because of it. That makes for a much more complex, much less lurid headline, however, and GOD FORBID that news outlets reflect the complexities of reality.

O'Brien's experiences with gender provide instructive background against which to interpret RHPS.

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I'll say a phrase, and you tell me the first words that come to your mind.

Okay? Ready? Here we go:

"Lesbian vampire erotica."

Read more... )
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Jennifer Boylan writes in the New York Times [in the Style section, of course, because that's where all the sex- and gender-related concerns of women get relegated >:{ ] about her transition when her kids were very young and her decision to continue her marriage to her wife. She alludes to Frank as a memorable figure [singing Sweet Transvestite, no less!] in her historical search for self, and, as she worries how her boys will adjust to having a "maddy" [mommy + daddy], she sees them try to carve out their own identities in ways that echo her own. Wait for her son Zach's big confessions.

Hooray for happy families, flexible marriages, accepting kids and RHPS as a catalyst for developing one's own, non-heteronormative gender identity.

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I liked Mylene Farmer's music before I saw her music videos, but now, having seen a few vids, I like her more. In this music vid, Live a Bercy, she sings Sans Contrefacon to hordes of rythmically waving, singing-along groupies. Well, I think she's singing. Given her sinuous dancing, she could be lip-synching. She radiates a great amount of energy, charisma and simple joy to be performing. At the end, when she is singing out to the audience, who answers her, I think she's laughing; she appears to be elated.

Also I like the back-up dancers.

Click below for lyrics to a defiant genderfucking song!

Fuck gender here. )

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Excuse me while I sit here drooling over the way the man dramatically wipes his lipstick, making it trail across his face like an exposure of his secret skin and the way the woman discloses her bound breasts with a fluid movement, shucking her shirt as if it's petals of a flower. Found at Sociological Images.

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Yeah, I'm probably really behind the curve here, but here's a British ad for Heinz Beans. I like that the transman seems confident, relaxed and happy, while the bio man's head looks like it's going to explode. His confusion and trans-related anxiety seems to be the butt of the joke more than anything. Your sex may change, but never your love for baked beans.

The transman's self-ID as Christine rings false, though. Even though he says, "It's Christine!", it's NOT Christine. It USED TO BE Christine. Now it's whatever his current name is. If I were in that situation, I would say something like, "Hi, [FormerClassmate]! I'm [MyName]! We went to school together." Then I would talk generally from that commonality and explain a bit later that I used to be [MyFormerName] if [FormerClassmate] was still confused about how he knew me.
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...I Learned from A Film Freak Commentary...

In any event, this is not supposed to be a speech about a dragon. This is, indeed, a song about a dragon...

No, seriously...In Film Freak Central, Alex Jackson provides some personal and perceptive commentary on Rocky Horror [and Shock Treatment, but I'm ignoring that part].
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Because I'm reading My Husband Betty again, I went to Helen Boyd's blog, thence to her personal site, where she linked to media appearances. From there I hit upon a clip from All My Children in which the transgender character goes to a transgender support group. Betty is in the clip, which is why the clip was linked from Boyd's site.

I have mixed feelings about the clip. On one hand, I appreciated the presence of all the other support group members, who were transgender activists and authors, appearing under their own names. I think that it's important to show all types of people in media so that all types of people can identify with the media figures. Furthermore, I also think it's important that all types of people be shown not as sicko freaks, but as happy, well-adjusted individuals, which all of the activists appearing under their own names appeared to be.

That being said, the clip really blew my mind because there was such a difference in presentation between the AMC trans woman and the trans activists. The trans activists, if anything, underplayed their roles, with a very matter-of-fact, level tone and no histrionic affectation, which gave the support group scene a very naturalistic air, as if the viewers were eavesdropping. By contrast, the AMC trans woman was a barely coherent pile of melodramatic jelly [behaving like the subject line], in the manner of all soap operatic characters when they are on the edge of something momentous [which they always are]. The acting style of the person who played the AMC trans woman did not fit with the rest of the players in the support group scene, which distracted me to no end.

Perhaps I shouldn't say that the AMC trans woman's character did not fit into the support group scene. After all, the AMC trans woman's character is a soap operatic type, and this is a soap opera. Therefore, with the insertion of an underplayed, naturalistic scene with well-adjusted individuals, the support group scene and the well-adjusted trans activists are the things that do not fit in the soap opera. Soap operas thrive on ostentatious suffering and angst, sad endings, bad turns of events.  I think the goal of trans inclusion is laudable, but it's hard to make trans people look happy, healthy and productive when the TV universe into which they are being introduced makes EVERYONE look miserable, perverted and stunted. So is it really much of a step toward trans understanding, inclusivity and tolerance to turn them into hammily degraded victims, just like almost everyone else in soap operas?
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She's the one!
She went and joined the army, passed the medical...don't ask me how it's done!
She's got medals...
--David Bowie, She's Got Medals

That's one of my most favorite songs ever, especially the bouncy tone in which it's sung. It's from his early years, when many of his songs sounded like nursery rhymes or children's play songs, even as they addressed child rape and murder (Please Mr. Gravedigger), sexual masochism (Little Toy Soldier), depressed veterans (Little Bombardier) and stupid people using drugs (Join the Gang). He was just around 20 when composing and singing most of these songs, and he just sounds so gleeful about the whole business.

Oh right...I was going to write about a blog I found. First off, let me recommend Helen Boyd's book, My Husband Betty. It's about her relationship with her cross-dressing husband. I think this is one of the strongest books on sexuality that I have ever read because the author describes her ambivalence very well, as well as her confusion about the sex and gender significance of cross-dressing. Also, she writes strongly, with psychological and critical insight, not to mention emotional balance, even as she describes emotional tumult. Anyway, she has a blog, (en)Gender, about trans news and debates and media and topics, and I'm poking in it now.

So there are your three recommendations for today: She's Got Medals by David Bowie, My Husband Betty by Helen Boyd and (en)Gender, also by Helen Boyd.
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Erin Lindsey writes Venus Envy, which is about Zoe, a teenaged [at least when the series starts] transgirl and her awkward, hilarious life. The strip moves quickly in snapshot vignettes, mostly lighthearted and downright silly, but occasionally very heartfelt. I'm not so keen on the art [well, I'm just at the beginning of the archive], but I do enjoy the sympathetic characters and continuous slapstick. It's a very playful comic. Read it 'cause it's funny!

EDIT: The art improves vastly.



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