Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sissy That Walk: My Obsession with Drag Culture and Feminization

Gender Bender: Where my curiosity stems from...?

If you happen to follow my Twitter feed you know I am a huge fan of Ru Paul's Drag Race and drag subculture in general.  I blame my mother for my fascination with drag.  Growing up she would always recall the best time she had out on the town as a single gal was at a drag show in Mexico. The huge deal she would make,  she was in awe and amazement of these men's ability to be more feminine than a real women.  My mother is a girly girl...she taught me how to do my nails, hair, etc before I went through puberty.  She would also kind of push a female aesthetic that is not for me: one of pretty pastels and ribbons and bows.  This kind of pushed me to be a tomboyish girl growing up, I was always very much an introverted person, kind of an outcast, nerdy--just an all around awkward weird kid.

Being exposed to drag culture as a positive thing as a kid was an amazing thing...I spent my puberty watching  daytime television talk shows such as Sally Jessy Raphael, Phil Donahue and Geraldo.  Seeing the Club Kids on these talk shows opened my eyes up to different ways of expressing yourself--through fashion, through creating a persona that you could be and create was such a blessing--seeing these very unique and "weird" individuals Ru PaulAmanda  Lepore, James St. James, Michael Alig, --on these shows talking about how they get to live out their dreams and get to be a different person--they play dress up and are fabulous FOR a living. How much more awesome could life get? 

Club Kids on Geraldo 

"You're born naked and the rest is drag"
A phrase that left a deep impression on me. It means freedom to express yourself by being yourself.  Believe it or not clothing has a huge impact on who we are, many of us didn't grow up with a designer wardrobe or the kind of parents that allowed you to walk out of the house looking how you wanted to.  The clothes we cover our naked bodies which is meant to have a protective purpose have become labels about what we like, clues about our personality and taste--they have become a part of what we want to tell the world about us.  We are mammals, our primal self, ego and id also want to have their say on what you put out there for the world to see.

 The phrase inspired an idea, which then just made sense to wear what I wanted to express myself inside as on the outside--and it took effort and originality to get my look.  In 1993, before Amazon, and before alternative colors became chic nail varnish decades blue nail polish was created by breaking a pen open into a light colored nail polish, my ripped jeans and a button up cowboy shirt were, my dad's that I had sewn to fit me-- this told people I was me (and into grunge) and you couldn't BUY my look at the store (not  for at least a year).  Being unique was key--I didn't want to fit in, I wanted to express myself, in a behind-the-scenes manner--mysterious, look like a really pretty chubby boy cause I didn't feel like a girl--I felt that I  excelled and was attracted to "boy" things like metal and grunge music, cars, bad ass male icons like Marlon Brando and Steve Mc Queen. I wanted to be as handsome as Marlon Brando and wanted to sound like Tom Waits.  I am competitive, aggressive and alpha, when a teenage boy embodies these characteristics its seen as awesome, when a girl does it I means you are a dyke.  I embraced the label at a young age, I was out without really being gay--I thought women were hot (even though I don't date them, I just have sex with them) and I acted like a boy...whatever that means...

I spent most the rest of high school focused on getting into college, working on my art (at the time I wanted to draw comic books), rather than trying to stand out and be different.  My regular persona was very tomboyish and introverted, inside the aesthetics that would appeal to me were that of dominatrix/retro and vintage styles, and  goth/industrial fetish wear like that of the Matrix (1999) that  yet when I would dress up and be feminine, I would try to channel that vintage pin-up look that I have always be so into--but all that was available to me were thrift store items and whatever adaptable third wave Ska/Swing style clothes that were en vogue at that time.  I was living though, I thought it was powerful when I was noticed more being ultra feminine, hair in curls, A-Line skirt, red lipstick, perfect eyeliner: I felt like a doll and people looked at me different.  I realized that clothes do make the man, or woman, but also confidence and attitude really seal the deal.  Its also important to acknowledge that there are fashion victims, and innovators.  Those that wear anything that they are told to, while others use fashion as a form of self expression.

Ru Paul Supermodel (You Better Work)

You Better Work! Beauty, Self Love and the Process of Transformation

. What stood out about Ru Paul the most was that here was this towering fabulous gay black man on MTV (back when MTV actually had music...) dressed as a woman--dancing in a fountain talking about YOU BETTER WORK! but its true...being famous and making it to the top and pursuing your dreams is HARD WORK. Tucking so fiercely it confused my young teen mind--is hard work. I was more realistic than most, I never had that hunger to be famous but I wanted to be fabulous in my own right; once I learned to love who I was I was able to transform myself from a tomboy teen to a tough sexy chick I have grown up to become; I became comfortable being sexy and attractive.  I have always been driven to be myself and be different than everyone else.  I am gifted at being feminine--I have lots of make up, clothes, accessories, shoes, etc--and I can create different personas from what I have.  All along the line of being a Female Dominant by nature, but its the ultra feminine--its creating and becoming Caprice Fellini. It takes a lot of work being a woman--and it really brings up a big attraction to one of my favorite kinks: Feminization.  I found my own feminization empowering.

There is nothing  more satisfying than transforming a man into a woman.  It does not stand to reason for me that gender and sexuality is approached by many to be a binary--man or woman, gay or straight--the thing I love about human sexuality and gender identity is that not everyone is into the same things as anyone else, for the same reason, for the same sensation.  Sexuality is the palette of colors that we paint our life with, its all so different for everyone its amazing we find common ground among one another. The same with the activities that enrich our life, from cooking to mechanics--this day in age the only REAL difference between men and women is our genitals--everything else really is DRAG...we create ourselves with different interests, tastes and activities; our experiences give then enrich this even more with meaning--these bodies really just are vessels for our experience--the mind/body/world phenomena.

Who are you? What does it all mean, really mean, supposed to mean?

I just went from Ru Paul to phenomena and the idea of self--its hard to put together which is why this is just a very rough explanation of what I am trying to say, hopefully with enough time I will update and add more to this so that philosophically I can prove one of my most valuable pieces of knowledge-to be true.

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