so to begin with, this may be one of my favourite commercial/cinematic dance sequences to date. it’s from rob marshal’s nine, a film which is utterly sexist, but graced by stunning visuals, beautiful costumes, some gorgeous dance and song sequences, and judi dench playing a charming costumier (this last alone would have added significant points, but combined with the others…well, it was worth watching once, at least). this clip features fergie (yes, of dubious black eyed peas fame), and though she and the other dancers seem to have gotten the bottom of the barrel, costume wise (look up marion cotillard’s wardrobe, for example, and you’ll see what i mean), the choreography is gorgeous. i love tactile dance pieces, though they don’t come along terribly often; the percussive element alone is great (though a little more common – think of stomp, or tap dogs), but the use of sand is better. sound obscure? you really ought to watch the clip.
still from nine, directed and produced by Rob Marshall, 2009.
i also discovered, today, a pretty fantastic blog. it’s called the seventeen magazine project and, as implied, it’s about, well, seventeen magazine (which is, for those neither in the know – good for you – or inclined to look it up – why would you bother? – one of those awful glossy rag-mags aimed at mutilating the aesthetic sensibilities, self-worth, and world view of teenaged girls). the seventeen magazine project…’embraces’ all this. it is the undertaking of one pennsylvanian highschool student to live, for an entire month, by the precepts of the june/july issue of seventeen. by following this doctrine she hopes to ‘shed some light on the modern teenage experience’. it’s pretty hilarious. or at least, i enjoyed reading it. it even includes pie-charts on, say, the number of current male ‘heart-throbs’ (does that really have a hyphon? is it one word? do i ditch the second ‘t’?) with some kind of vampire affiliation (for the record, that’s most of them).
still from nine, directed and produced by Rob Marshall, 2009 (because i refuse to post a picture of a seventeen cover instead).
less impressive by far is this post. to begin with i feel compelled to state the obvious: ‘ftm’ and ‘butch’ are not synonymous. they are two separate identities. in some people they do coexist; in some they are melded together to form a complex whole. but not all those who are ftm are butch, and not all who are butch are ftm. to assume that ftm and butch are always part of the same continuum (a continuum in which, it is inferred, butch is, shall we say, a ‘softer’ version) is to violently undermine, and do great disservice to, both. for a start, it creates a hierarchy (already present, in myriad forms, in both the lesbian and trans communities, but something i think we should be actively fighting, rather than perpetuating or condoning), whereby a female-to-male trans identity is superior to that of lesbian butch, and more than that, is perceived as some kind of ‘end point’ for all female-bodied people with more masculine identities.
it also assumes that all ftm persons are inherently ‘masculine,’ which entirely disavows a capacity for personal gender identity, and – more importantly, i think – merely reaffirms the idea that our biological bodies (even if we alter them) must match our actions. in other words, sex and gender must correlate. boy bodies must coincide with boy behaviours, female bodies with male identities must enact masculine traits. i take serious issue with this. i also think it is, on any genuine, considered queer theoretical inspection, ridiculous.
in addition to these points, the article utterly negates the ways in which these identities, and elements of them, are constantly evolving, melding, breaking and reforming in communities and individuals, a process which allows men to be femme, trans persons to be genderqueer, femmes to be masculine, etc.. when you place identities on a sliding scale, instead of appreciating each as having the potential to be a new and disparate concept of its own, you not only bind them together in inescapable hierarchy; you disallow the wonder of interference, cross-pollination, blending; not only in individuals, but in whole subcultures, and the theoretical realms they so often spawn.