Wednesday, May 10, 2006

5 questions

From Lauren's journal, here are my five questions:

1. What do you think of Chicago's personality as a city?
I think Chicago is a very no-nonsense place. You have to be careful around her, but as long as you keep your shit together you get along okay. It's really a midwestern place to me, that kind of stereotyped no-beating-around-the-bush idea I had about this whole region before I moved here.

2. I'm trying to figure out the difference between Hollywood movies where male characters dress as women for a laugh, and drag queens. I feel like the first one is a little misogynistic because the men are supposedly stooping to an inferior, weaker level, and the second one is more of a radical critiquing performance? I don't know. What are your thoughts?
Hmmm. Well, first you have to consider audience: The hollywood version is directed towards straight people, and drag queens are first and formost performing for a gay male audience. The intent in those two performances (culturally sanctioned and fairly specific performance techniques for drag queens and comedic value based on power displacement and physical gags for the actors) are fairly divergent, although there is some overlap. I just read a whole book about how queer culture gets siphoned into mainstream consumption and then diluted almost beyond recognition, and I think that drag queen camp is a great example of that.
However, I think a lot of the time we laugh at men in movies dressing as women because they are having a really hard time doing "woman" things (putting on makeup, shoes, walking funny, etc.). Isn't recognizing that physically appearing as a woman is difficult but very related to your ability to accessorize kind of a radical statement? It's definitely a recognition of the performative nature of gender presentation, even if it's been diluted by its transfer to the mainstream.
Whew! I wish you could know how much I deleted from this post. Shows you what you get when you ask me about drag, I guess.
(I guess you're more or less right about the misogyny, although I think that's generally pretty subtexted. I don't know if people would believe that that's why they are laughing, but it's definitely part of what's going on. Which is why there are tons of movies about men dressing as women and relatively few about women dressing as men: we're uncomfortable with that power switch.)

3. What new behaviors does spring awaken in you?
Well, I usually get motivated to take better care of myself (exercise, eat lots of fruits and veggies, etc.) It also makes me want to go shopping.

4. If Anna were an animal, what do you think she would be and why?
I think she would maybe be a koala bear. I have this sneaking suspicion that we've actually had this conversation before and I'm not remembering what we said, but oh well :-) Anyway, I think she's super cute and would have a great time just wandering around in the trees all day.

5. What was your worst job?
Tough one. My first paper route was pretty hellish: I walked like three miles a day for it laden down with my paper bag, plus I had to spend hours every month trying to collect from people who weren't home, all for very little money. I spent a lot of time calculating exactly how much I made for every paper I threw (something like 50 cents, if I recall correctly). Yeah, that was probably my worst one. Thanks god it was first and is long over!

1 comment:

anna pulley said...

we did have that conversation and I did say koala bear (because someone at a wellness conference told me that's what I was). I think now though, I'd be more of a three-toed sloth. can't very well get up in trees no more :)