Disclaimer: Objects in the mirror are both closer and farther than they appear.
Preamble: I have no idea what the point of this post is or whether there is any. Except to demonstrate the power of Picnik, the danger of believing in profile pictures in social media (Think Catfish), and the fact I look much better in black and white which is why I secretly long for living in Pleasantville before those stupid kids ruined it for everybody, and I will gladly trade places with Tom Baxter in The Purple Rose of Cairo, incidentally a movie I also watched multiple times hoping Tom would turn and address me directly, “Hey you!”
For our graduate production, my undergraduate class staged M. Butterfly by David Henry Hwang. The play calls for an Asian man to live in drag, pretending to be a woman and fooling the self-delusional French diplomat (based on a real scandal!) None of our male classmates stepped up to the plate, and therefore we had a woman playing a man playing a woman.
Although I suspect that how we did it due to necessity was not optimal for the theatrical production, I later learned that there is a term for this: Faux Queen, aka Biologically-challenged drag queen, Female female impersonator, or Female impersonator impersonator.
When I was young, I fantasized about dressing up as a man because being a man gives you a lot more freedom (Think Mulan). I wanted to be a swordswoman in one of the Wu Xia novels or movies (Think Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon), dressed up as a young warrior scholar so I could roam the world and right the wrongs.
To this day I look forward to rainy days before or after it actually rains. It gives me an excuse to walk around with an umbrella.
I was fascinated by Victor Victoria and (still) believe that Julie Andrews looked much better as Victor.
For the majority of my high school career, all girls school, hello! I did behave and dress more towards the male end of the spectrum: closely cropped hair, asexual clothing, and let’s not forget, aviator sunglasses. I was known to make young girls blush when they mistook me for a dashing young man. Well, I was relatively tall and lanky and handsome. In a manga-character-like, pre-sexual, innocent kind of way. For a bunch of high school girls with similar lack of exposure and access to the other sex.
When I said I peaked at the age of 18, until then I had been living an arguably cloistered life, I was not kidding. Being naturally feminine has never been my strong suit. And of course, who’s to say what defines femininity any more, and the distablizing ambiguity suits me fine.
CODA: You know, I’ve struggled with this post since Monday. Normally if I am having such trouble with the direction I have been going in a post, I’d scratch it. Just as I was ready to give up and start anew some other time, I realized that Monday was the day when I bought my plane tickets home. This rambling on gender roles and prescribed femininity came from my anxiety of going home home next week. As much as I feel unease sometimes in this country, I feel/fear that I stand out like a sore thumb (and to some extent literally since I am tall by the local standard) over there. Oh well. I will be a woman playing a woman. Thespians, we are good at it, eh?