February 8th, 2008

corset & bougainvillea

Owning it.

Being in a social scene that is as given to performance and costuming and general, unadulterated dumb as mine sometimes provides reminders of just how limiting being black and female can be when it comes to performance. When certain mainstream or classical tropes are revisited, even within subcultural performance and even as parody, they’re often still reaffirmed as an immovable standard against which all else is cast. I think of the return of the blonde bombshell as the ultimate feminine ideal and how the Vargas girls have been experiencing a renaissance in everything from tattoos to fashion spreads in the last few years. In some ways, I will always feel estranged from and barred access to this iconography. And unless it’s done delicately, the irony of my attempting to subvert these tropes ends up looking less like parody than farce. And I don’t want to be a punchline.

As for what’s inspiring this train of thought (which is a lot less frustrated than it may seem–my brain is doing that teasing-out thing that it does quite often when I get a little whiff of something interesting and abstract and contradictory within my world) is an opening act that I’m participating in next Friday at Hubba Hubba Revue. Now, this is an act that I may have simultaneously thought up alongside those who put it in motion, but for me to participate will require… effort. What effort? Slicking back my hair.

This should be interesting.

Mirrored from www.laurenwheeler.com.

corset & bougainvillea

Owning it.

Being in a social scene that is as given to performance and costuming and general, unadulterated dumb as mine sometimes provides reminders of just how limiting being black and female can be when it comes to performance. When certain mainstream or classical tropes are revisited, even within subcultural performance and even as parody, they’re often still reaffirmed as an immovable standard against which all else is cast. I think of the return of the blonde bombshell as the ultimate feminine ideal and how the Vargas girls have been experiencing a renaissance in everything from tattoos to fashion spreads in the last few years. In some ways, I will always feel estranged from and barred access to this iconography. And unless it’s done delicately, the irony of my attempting to subvert these tropes ends up looking less like parody than farce. And I don’t want to be a punchline.

As for what’s inspiring this train of thought (which is a lot less frustrated than it may seem–my brain is doing that teasing-out thing that it does quite often when I get a little whiff of something interesting and abstract and contradictory within my world) is an opening act that I’m participating in next Friday at Hubba Hubba Revue. Now, this is an act that I may have simultaneously thought up alongside those who put it in motion, but for me to participate will require… effort. What effort? Slicking back my hair.

This should be interesting.

Mirrored from www.laurenwheeler.com.

corset & bougainvillea

Ain't I a woman?

There's a lot I have to say about what came up in yesterday's post. Those who asked for a longer essay might get it, when I have more time, which may be when I'm dead. But I think I should at least clarify a few things in the meantime:

-- I was, in fact, not thinking only of or even primarily about burlesque.

-- Burlesque is one of the tropes I'm thinking of, but again, not the only one.

-- Women get objectified. Period. Whether we're dancing on a box at Pop Roxx or are on a stage at Hubba Hubba Revue. The difference? How we use that space, how we subvert that objectification. I don't think it's accurate to say that burlesque is just about naked girls.

-- I was thinking also of some of the reasons I didn't go to the Femme Conference a couple years ago--I don't feel particularly reflected in that identity as I've seen it defined, discussed, or presented.

-- I remember going to the Great Dickens Fair with whittles and being disappointed during The French Postcards that the whole theme was about imperialism and exploitation of the "exotics" of the East. I mean, yes, in Victorian London, that would have made sense, but honestly--at this point, can't people come up with something smarter, wittier, more subversive, especially in a national climate where people from the Middle East and South Asia are already being exoticized and dehumanized?

-- One of the problems with things retro is that shit used to be a lot more blatantly racist and sexist. So, if you can't find a way around that, you might want to leave the past in the past.

-- I'm thinking of conversations I've had with trans women about other trans women who they didn't think "worked hard enough" to pass--by not doing things I don't do, not because I don't "have" to or haven't been told to but because that's not how I choose to construct my identity as a woman, especially when it means denying my identity as a black woman.

-- I participated in the Big Bad Blond Wig Bar Crawl... in the Marina a few months ago. It was fun, and as much as I thought I'd feel like a punchline wearing a Marilyn Monroe wig, I didn't. I rocked that shit.

-- And while I respect Dorothy Dandridge and Josephine Baker for what they accomplished when they accomplished it, I also am aware of the sacrifices they made. I don't want to straighten my hair, lighten my skin, or wear a skirt of bananas. And in 2008, I shouldn't have to.

-- I really, really, really wish Harlem Shake Burlesque were still an active troupe. I do look forward to seeing how Alotta Boutte interprets the 80s theme at the next HHR.

-- I have an idea for a Diana Ross act.
corset & bougainvillea

Ain’t I a woman?

There’s a lot I have to say about what came up in yesterday’s post. Those who asked for a longer essay might get it, when I have more time, which may be when I’m dead. But I think I should at least clarify a few things in the meantime:

– I was, in fact, not thinking only of or even primarily about burlesque.

– Burlesque is one of the tropes I’m thinking of, but again, not the only one.

– Women get objectified. Period. Whether we’re dancing on a box at Pop Roxx or are on a stage at Hubba Hubba Revue. The difference? How we use that space, how we subvert that objectification. I don’t think it’s accurate to say that burlesque is just about naked girls.

– I was thinking also of some of the reasons I didn’t go to the Femme Conference a couple years ago–I don’t feel particularly reflected in that identity as I’ve seen it defined, discussed, or presented.

– I remember going to the Great Dickens Fair with </a></strong></a>whittles and being disappointed during The French Postcards that the whole theme was about imperialism and exploitation of the “exotics” of the East. I mean, yes, in Victorian London, that would have made sense, but honestly–at this point, can’t people come up with something smarter, wittier, more subversive, especially in a national climate where people from the Middle East and South Asia are already being exoticized and dehumanized?

– One of the problems with things retro is that shit used to be a lot more blatantly racist and sexist. So, if you can’t find a way around that, you might want to leave the past in the past.

– I’m thinking of conversations I’ve had with trans women about other trans women who they didn’t think “worked hard enough” to pass–by not doing things I don’t do, not because I don’t “have” to or haven’t been told to but because that’s not how I choose to construct my identity as a woman, especially when it means denying my identity as a black woman.

– I participated in the Big Bad Blond Wig Bar Crawl… in the Marina a few months ago. It was fun, and as much as I thought I’d feel like a punchline wearing a Marilyn Monroe wig, I didn’t. I rocked that shit.

– And while I respect Dorothy Dandridge and Josephine Baker for what they accomplished when they accomplished it, I also am aware of the sacrifices they made. I don’t want to straighten my hair, lighten my skin, or wear a skirt of bananas. And in 2008, I shouldn’t have to.

– I really, really, really wish Harlem Shake Burlesque were still an active troupe. I do look forward to seeing how Alotta Boutte interprets the 80s theme at the next HHR.

– I have an idea for a Diana Ross act.

Mirrored from www.laurenwheeler.com.

corset &amp; bougainvillea

Ain’t I a woman?

There’s a lot I have to say about what came up in yesterday’s post. Those who asked for a longer essay might get it, when I have more time, which may be when I’m dead. But I think I should at least clarify a few things in the meantime:

– I was, in fact, not thinking only of or even primarily about burlesque.

– Burlesque is one of the tropes I’m thinking of, but again, not the only one.

– Women get objectified. Period. Whether we’re dancing on a box at Pop Roxx or are on a stage at Hubba Hubba Revue. The difference? How we use that space, how we subvert that objectification. I don’t think it’s accurate to say that burlesque is just about naked girls.

– I was thinking also of some of the reasons I didn’t go to the Femme Conference a couple years ago–I don’t feel particularly reflected in that identity as I’ve seen it defined, discussed, or presented.

– I remember going to the Great Dickens Fair with </a></strong></a>whittles and being disappointed during The French Postcards that the whole theme was about imperialism and exploitation of the “exotics” of the East. I mean, yes, in Victorian London, that would have made sense, but honestly–at this point, can’t people come up with something smarter, wittier, more subversive, especially in a national climate where people from the Middle East and South Asia are already being exoticized and dehumanized?

– One of the problems with things retro is that shit used to be a lot more blatantly racist and sexist. So, if you can’t find a way around that, you might want to leave the past in the past.

– I’m thinking of conversations I’ve had with trans women about other trans women who they didn’t think “worked hard enough” to pass–by not doing things I don’t do, not because I don’t “have” to or haven’t been told to but because that’s not how I choose to construct my identity as a woman, especially when it means denying my identity as a black woman.

– I participated in the Big Bad Blond Wig Bar Crawl… in the Marina a few months ago. It was fun, and as much as I thought I’d feel like a punchline wearing a Marilyn Monroe wig, I didn’t. I rocked that shit.

– And while I respect Dorothy Dandridge and Josephine Baker for what they accomplished when they accomplished it, I also am aware of the sacrifices they made. I don’t want to straighten my hair, lighten my skin, or wear a skirt of bananas. And in 2008, I shouldn’t have to.

– I really, really, really wish Harlem Shake Burlesque were still an active troupe. I do look forward to seeing how Alotta Boutte interprets the 80s theme at the next HHR.

– I have an idea for a Diana Ross act.

Mirrored from www.laurenwheeler.com.