has anyone seen this new (i think) show "dog eat dog"? there's one segment they sometimes have where a contestant has to distinguish the "real" man from amongst a bunch of "fake" ones, and the "real" women from "fake" ones. i'm conflicted between utter joy at getting to see a bunch o' hottt drag kings/queens/transwomen/transmen/gender deviant/other folk (they don't get a chance to voice their identities) on television in a context that isn't jerry springer/ricki lake/etc., and my repulsion at:
a. some of the disdainful looks of/comments made by the contestants
b. the whole idea of examining people and judging the "success" of their genders
c. the "joke" of it all--particularly in one segment when there was a large, deep-voiced transwoman/drag queen/i don't know this person's identity and everyone laughed hysterically at hir existence
d. the homophobic and/or transphobic digs (e.g. one contestant saying, "i want to say #4 is really hot, but i'm afraid that will make me look bad later)
on the other hand, out of the 4 times i've seen this segment, the contestant has been wrong 3 times. so i guess that's sort of showing the impossibility of essential gendered characteristics. furthermore, the "real" whatever is usually not representative of stereotypical gender norms (skinny, androgynous "real men" and hefty, deep-voiced yet over-the-top-femmed-out "real women") and these folks appear to be genuine members of the trans/drag/queer/gender deviant population/community.
(i hope you'll understand my extensive use of quotations and slashes to mean that i'm rejecting essentialism and trying to avoid assuming people's identities)
x-posted from my journal