Monday, March 28, 2011

Venus Boyz!

I just watched Venus Boyz, a documentary film on drag kings in NY and beyond --- who all gather in NY for an extravaganza.

Totally different feel from Paris is Burning -- about queens in NY, which discussed more the culture of balls and houses.

Have a feeling that culture isnt as great in the drag king scene, and maybe thats cos there isnt an entertainment industry around drag kings as much. Maybe female parody/camp is funnier than male parody. Dont know what it is, but dressing drag king seems like it would take more skill and entertainment for it to be amusing to lots of people outside of the queer scene particularly cos, dressing and playing man funny, might not seem all that funny to many!

Been thinking alot about how my debating culture/aggressive behavior has been perceived as an extension of my personality vs. how my male comrades aggressive behavior were instead respected. I tried to get at this a little in my previous post. But here are 2 exchanges from the documentary that really struck me.

Damn, maybe next time I should try going drag and less genderqueer or visibly female-bodied at some of these political meetings, and see how people treat me. It would be, to say the least, a very politically enlightening experience in male privilege.

From Venus Boyz, in a scene where drag kings are chillin' together, some in costume and not.

Mo B Dick: "Its much easier to be a powerful woman behind the mask of a man, and it's much more socially acceptable to express anger when you're a man, and aggressive behavior, as a man. 
As a woman, people go, "Urgh, Bitch! What's the matter with you?!"

"That's exactly true, cos people now...I was always punished as in a female form cos I was too aggressive. Now, I have permission. People say, you know well they just see me...I dont perceive myself as a man, or a woman for that matter, but people perceive me as a man. I can be invisible as a man, whereas for some reason as a female, I never was.
No, what it is is the subliminal absence of hostility. Men relate to me as a man, and they are not guarding themselves. Men, look after men, I'm telling you."

in a later scene, the transman in the scene above says, while working out in a gym,

"I feel like I'm less aggressive now than I was before I started using testosterone, because I no longer have to be as aggressive to get what I want. Because people perceive me as a man, they are more likely to give me what I want, without a fight.
It was only when people started seeing me as a guy that I realized how much of a man's world it really is.  Because, yeah, I am treated with more respect. And it's amazing how friends of mine, who I'm sure are not aware of it but my friends who have known me before, I dont know if they realize it, but women are totally trained and socialized to look after men. And I'm telling you, it's so amazing how they do it.
And men talk to each other different than they talk to women. I mean, we all know these things, but I actually experiencing it can be really sad. "

But contrast this white transman, from what a black drag king says of her experience when she is in costume. [I can't find the scene right now] But she talks about how she has to wait 1 hour for a cab ride in NYC after her shows let out cos no one wants to give a black man a cab ride.

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