Sunday, November 14, 2010

Venus Boyz

Venus Boyz was an interesting movie and gave insight into the world of FTM’s and Transmen. In society and culture, being a man or a woman is brought into our lives at a very early age and our roles are chosen for us, either willingly or unwillingly. People willingly choose it in order to assimilate themselves into mainstream culture, to avoid being ostracized or condemned for deviating from the norm. As a part of this, adapting to a script and playing a certain role convincingly is the goal. People also unwillingly choose it based on the opinions other people have chosen for them, because of their physical markers or the actions they most closely resemble. One deemed more “butch” may as well be a man and another deemed more “femme” should be a woman. In either case, it’s an idea of trying to be natural despite feeling “unnatural”, even though who nature has already made it’s choice and society is the filter to which it’s translated as.

In the middle of the movie, a statement that stuck out to me was when Ze says “you have to pick your default”, as if coming into this world was either being a PC or a MAC. These cultural binaries are a challenge that these individuals faced all their lives, and over the course of several years they have come together in celebration of their differences rather than trying to hide it. The idea of being who you are despite what the cultural norms of society pressure you into being is the main idea that came across from the interviews with all these characters. It is bittersweet because it’s this difference in society that has made them strong individuals and the inequalities have turned from negative concepts into empowering ideals.

In relation to masculinity I was intrigued that the characters these people play revolve around a hierarchy, whether it be the tough Dad who scratches his balls and bosses women around to the misogynistic hip-hop star who objectifies women as sexual creatures. I did notice the constant preoccupation with power and hierarchy that is also related to one of our readings called “Part of the Package”, and these characters exude a very tough exterior that is not related to being male at all. It’s a power and respect that they demand from people, and unfortunately society’s acceptable version of it comes in the form of a white-middle-class male. The drag kings in this movie are all individuals who cross all the lines and blend all the definitions of being male or female in one big homogenous stew of humanity, and shows how you don’t have to be a man to have masculinity.

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