Archive for beauty

Inspired

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 16, 2010 by paigetsindfw

Going to be one of those days apparently. Twice in a row I’m struck speechless by human creativity. This time not for the lolfactor, but rather for the staggering beauty of the idea.

"Beg pardon, ladies, just trying to... why yes I AM happy to see you but... oh bugger"

Down at the MoMA in NYC (up at the MoMA? They are north of us after all…), those who want a real experience of performance art, an often confusing and maligned art form, can check out the new retrospective exhibition of Marina Abramovic and her former partner Ulay’s work.

Which is why this gentlemen is trying to walk between two nude women posed in a narrow corridor, of course.

Abramovic has a long career of challenging perspectives and assumptions with her work. This installation has some of her more famous works being recreated by models and for those that can’t be recreated, they have video installations. The collaboration that brought to an end her working relationship with Ulay is one of these, where you can see both of them walking the entire length of the Great Wall of China, a project that took them three months until they met in the middle.

And as an extra piece of astonishing beauty and “generosity” in the curator’s words, the artist herself sits silently at the exhibit. Visitors may sit across from her in silence and “complete” the piece.

No jokes here. This just bowls me over with its brilliance.

Cosmetic Changes

Posted in Gender Issues with tags , , , , on March 6, 2010 by paigetsindfw

When Queer Eye for the Straight Guy came out, made books, and eventually sent a few of its alumni on to things like the Food Network, it came at the tail end of an era that belonged to the “metrosexual”. You can still see them roaming around, but avoiding the label most of the time, just like many young women who refuse to call themselves feminists, despite supporting the subversive idea that a woman should be understood as equal to a man.

At the time, there were debates over whether or not this kind of program advanced broader acceptance of homosexuals or fed stereotypes as five lucky gays mined an endless treasure trove of straight male ignorance of things like hygiene and culture. I didn’t participate in these debates. I was too busy trying to understand how to “manscape” without getting razor burns.

Now there’s a new superteam of beautifully coifed queers and I have to sit up and take notice because I can already tell I’m going to be asked for my opinion (after walking in on hetero/cis friends laughing and marveling at this show, then nervously coughing). Now it’s a show with transwomen at the helm.

My guess is the Nicole Kidman lookalike in the center is struggling with lockjaw from a tragic encounter with a tetanus infected mascara brush. That or all three are posing for "Hear no butch, speak no butch, see no butch"

Jezebel.com reports that the show, called “TRANSform Me” (ha! Oh ha ha! GOOD one!), is much like Queer Eye without all that pesky stuff about culture, food, or decorating that interfered with us watching hetero men get fondled and primped by gay men. Look out, Judith Butler, the t-girls are gonna show Stella (and Amy and Janice and Betty) how to get her groove back.

And again, I didn’t know what to think. Part of me thought, well, alright, if this makes people like me less scary or subject to strange questions and groping from the cisgendered, then it can’t be that bad. Another part thought, I don’t care who’s hosting, I don’t see a need for another show about how women aren’t spending enough hours grooming and need to get back to their “real” job, which is to look pretty.

I could be accused of thinking too much, so here’s what decided me. First, this quote from VH1’s promotion:

“TRANSform Me is a makeover show in which a team of three transgender women, led by the inimitable Laverne Cox (I Want To Work For Diddy), rescues women from personal style purgatory.”

Anyone who qualifies for/uses/spreads the word “inimitable” should be executed. Besides, it literally means “could not be imitated” and the whole show is about women learning how to perform their own gender from women who have extra insight into the performance by virtue of performing a different gender for so long.

Second: I’m ugly and, as I get older, increasingly proud of it. It has its own allure. I transitioned some time ago, went through the phase where I was terrified of a single hair being out of place, and I can’t remember when I’ve ever seen a transperson in the mass media who wasn’t either a supermodel, a comedian, or both. I still dress in what many people would call a “feminine” style more often than not, but I am guilty of wearing jeans (NOT designer ones either), going out without makeup (most days now), and I have never exfoliated the soles of my feet. I’m fat, crude, snarly, bitter, toxic company … and there are STILL folks who pay me for acts as foul as I am.

Hell, I don’t even know if these transwomen are transvestites or transsexuals. I haven’t seen the show, so I should give it a shot. This time however, I won’t agonize over my inability to style hair or coax my pores into something tamer than a caldera. I’ll just send the flying monkeys out for more pizza.