Author Archives: Sarah McCarthy

Reflections on dimsumdyke: Curating a portfolio blog rooted in intersectional feminist praxis

Over the course of this semester, I have curated dimsumdyke to be a queer counterpublic that showcases my best writing and art pieces. The blog is intended to act as a platform that showcases a marginalized experience from an intersectional lens. Readers of the blog, aside from those in or instructing PUB 101, are imagined to be fellow queer folx, artists and academics. As a portfolio, this blog serves the purpose of preserving my works digitally, some of which are available for download, for fellow writers and artists to view and reference. While the blog acts as a tool for this purpose, I have constructed this virtual garden not only for this reason, but as a sanctuary for those who are marginalized themselves, especially those of a similar background to me, to find solidarity in my work. Representation of marginalized communities that is accurate and informed by lived experience is crucial to the well-being of marginalized folx and the vitality of communities. From personal intersectionally marginalized experience, I can vouch for the fact that representation matters.

All of my work on this blog, and in the rest of my life, is informed by an intersectionally feminist praxis – a theory put into practice in an ongoing effort to address the interconnected nature of oppressions. The embodiment of this praxis is inspired by Intersectional Apocalypse, “a student-run, peer-edited, open access journal focused on collecting and sharing knowledge that is intersectionally feminist, LGBTQ2IA+ positive, anti-colonial, anti-racist, and anti-oppressive“. I had the pleasure of being a member of the editorial team for the publication’s first issue and learnt a lot about the embodiment of theory in practice, thus fostering my desire to employ intersectional praxis into all of my works.

The values that the editorial team of Intersectional Apocalypse brought forth to the publication inspired the goals that I began my publication with. Dissecting the meaning of intersectional feminist praxis, the central values instilled in my own publication are anti-oppression, accessibility, and, of course, queer-positivity. In order to embody these values digitally, I began by utilizing one of WordPress’ accessible themes and ensured that I used acceptable contrast between text and background on my site. Building off of this design choice, I developed an About Page that encompasses my values of intersectionality, queer-positivity, and anti-oppression. Following, all of my portfolio posts are rooted in intersectional feminist praxis and center my marginalized experience, with emphasis on my queerness, through the media of art and writing.

After satisfactorily developing a space that encompasses my values, my goals shifted from engendering anti-oppression, accessibility, and queer-positivity to developing a design and content that both showcased my own aesthetics and spoke to the requirements of the class. Inspired by my other online publications, such as my Tumblr and my Instagram, I wanted to ensure that my blog followed suit with my other digital media. The high contrast used on my Tumblr and the visual aesthetics of my Instagram played an inspirational role in curating my portfolio. Also inspiring my blog, both through aesthetics and content, is the queer-centered news platform them.

As the semester comes to an end, this will be my last process post. However, I will likely continue to add to the portfolio section of my blog. This website has served me well, acting as a resource to link out in applications for jobs related to my degree in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies. As such, I believe it would be beneficial to myself to continue to showcase my best work on this blog. Further, I would like to grow my audience by linking out to this site on my other social media, as to invite others to learn from my work and find solidarity in it. Prior to this class, I had established a fairly strong social media presence on various platforms. I had not, however, developed an academically sound presence. My presence on social media was simply surrounding my personal life, highlighting my queerness, mixed-ethnicity, and personal interests, such as spirituality. My academic life was sanctioned to my notebooks, documents saved on my laptop, and the work conducted on the school’s Canvas website. This class allowed me to expand my horizons of academic work, affording me the opportunity to hone my skills of blog development through an academic lens and give me the space to fuse the virtual production of the self with academia, in both the nature of this blog being created for a class, and of it functioning as a portfolio including academic works. I look forward to using the tools I learnt in this class to further develop my portfolio.

References

dimsumdyke. WordPress. 2020. https://dimsumdyke.com/

Intersectional Apocalypse. Simon Fraser University. https://journals.lib.sfu.ca/index.php/ifj/

Sailor Sar. Tumblr. https://dimsumdyke.tumblr.com/

sarxh444. Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/sarxh444/

them. 2020. https://www.them.us/

Queer Counterpublics

The internet has afforded me access to spaces that center queer experiences. These spaces allow me to fully embody and indulge in my queerness. I am a part of a multitude of trans, non-binary, lesbian and generally queer groups on Facebook; my Instagram and Twitter followings are largely queer and I follow many queer folx and pages; likewise, my feed on Tumblr includes queer content too. When I was given the opportunity to create this blog, there was no question in my mind that it would act as a queer counterpublic as well. Centering queer voices on the topic of queer experiences is crucial to the well-being of queer individuals and is vital to the community. Creating spaces for queer experience to be shared is something I value greatly and I wanted this blog to act as that sort of space.

Reflections on Gender, a photo essay

Gendered rules of genderqueerness 

When I came out as non-binary, I had no gender diverse friends, family or acquaintances. With no role models or anyone in solidarity with me, I took to the Internet. These online sources shaped what I thought I ought to feel and look like as a non-binary person. Also via the Internet, I began to make non-binary friends. These people were extremely influential in my understanding of being non-binary. These sources of information, however, were nowhere near helpful. In fact, they were pretty detrimental to my understanding and acceptance of my identity. In no time, I went from loving femininity, girlhood and myself, to chopping my hair, concealing my body, trying to lower my voice and developing hatred and disgust towards my body and myself. I thought I was way too feminine. I learnt I wasn’t a valid non-binary person unless I was strictly embracing masculinity. This meant short hair, no makeup, a thin androgynous body and dysphoria. I tried going with this narrow conception of non-binary gender, but I was miserable. I went through so much unlearning to get to where I am with my gender(s) today, but now I love my femininity, masculinity and androgyny all together and understand that there is no one way to be non-binary.  

Feminine Menstrual products 

I’m non-binary. I get periods. I’m tired of period products being referred to as “feminine”. I’m all for pushing to call these things “menstrual products”. “Menstrual” is way more accurate than “feminine” anyway. These products are for menstruation, and menstruation shouldn’t be gendered. Anyone can menstruate, regardless of any gendered designations. There’s nothing feminine about my non-binary uterus lining shedding; there’s nothing feminine about a trans-masculine or trans-male person’s uterus lining shedding; there’s nothing feminine about a masculine woman’s uterus lining shedding. A uterus is not inherently feminine; reproductive organs have no gender; they’re socially constructed as such. 

I didn’t think anything of my period pre-identifying-as-non-binary, but due to gender essentialist social constructions of reproductive organs, when I came out, I began experiencing immense, sometimes even debilitating dysphoria about my set of organs. It was especially distressing during menstruation. I put in a lot of work towards unlearning this essentialist, binary gendering and unearning my internalized transphobia, and while this took a lot of time, I finally am comfortable again with my body and its functions, and I can confidently assert that there’s nothing feminine about my non-binary menstruation cycle or the menstruation products I use.  

Bras, binders, bumless panties and boxers 

I don’t know why, I mean no one’s going to see my underwear, but wearing gender affirming undergarments makes all the difference in my self-validation and overall confidence. With my vast collection of underwear, from bras I haven’t worn since adopting the term ‘non-binary’, to binders, to sports bras, to bralets, to boxers, briefs, bikinis, and backless panties, it’s almost like I can achieve any gender identity through matching up my underwear to my internal sense of identity. Choosing my coveted combinations allows me to engage with self-determination and validation of my subconscious perception of gender. So, every morning before getting ready for the day, I sit down with myself and contemplate, “what’s my gender today?”. With limitless possibilities, this reflection could go in any direction. Sometimes it’s an easy answer. Popular conclusions include: Dickies Dyke, femme boy, trans masc, femme, soft butch slutty, anything, all of it, and/or nothing at all. Sometimes I just won’t be able to find any clothes that feel good and right. On unfortunate occasions, it’s a distressing introspection into dysphoria and internalized erasure. Regardless, the most important step of getting ready is always selecting precisely the right gendered combination of undergarments.  

Hairy, man-hating, bra-burning, lesbian feminist 

I stopped shaving my legs in grade 10. It wasn’t political; I just couldn’t be bothered to upkeep the hairless legs I thought I was supposed to have. Then I started seeing posts about it being radical to stop shaving. These were mainly made by white and/or liberal feminists, and while I roll my eyes at them now, these strains of feminism were my gateways into the intersectional feminism that I now embrace. At the time, I hadn’t yet had my non-binary awakening. I remember thinking to myself, “huh, this is a way to keep women subordinate… Fuck that. I’m gonna flaunt my hairy legs with pride now”. And although there are way more radical acts of resistance, and despite being exhausted by liberal feminists constantly talking about their long blue armpit hair and nothing else, not shaving my legs really is quite liberating; first, as a fuck you to patriarchal Western beauty standards, second in my own identity as a dyke and a trans non-binary genderqueer femme boy. Although they’re generalizations aimed to depreciate feminism and pigeon-hole feminists, I find the stereotypes of a feminist personally amusing… Hairy, man-hating, bra-burning, lesbians? I pretty much check all of those boxes.  

Consequences of presenting femme 

I pass a man on the street. He looks at me, I smile faintly, he smiles back. His eyes burn into me. They crawl up my legs. He doesn’t even speak to me, but I feel violated. I’m late. I have no time to dwell. I think to myself, “I look femme today, so I guess this is how it’s gonna go… I do make a hot femme…” I shrug. Without a second thought, earphones in, I keep speed walking. He chases me. He must have walked a couple blocks in the other direction then turned around and ran – sprinted – down the street after me. Out of breath, he runs up behind me. I take an earphone out. He tells me he doesn’t mean to scare me but I’m cute and he had to tell me. He asks me out. I say I have a girlfriend. I keep speed walking. He follows. He asks, “you’re gay?”. I say yes. He asks me if I “want to try straight”. 

This is what I was wearing. (Note: he was East Asian, I look extra EA wearing an oriental shirt, I wonder if this had anything to do with his interest in me).  

If you like me, you’re gay. If you’re not down with the gays, get lost. 

Inserting image...

I’m vocal on my social media about my disdain towards men. I have been since high school, which is when I realized I was gay, and also, probably more importantly, when I confidently established that men are trash. Then I realized I was non-binary. I’m vocal about that too. Social media (well, some platforms) is a place where I can assert myself confidently and safely. I post about social justice, emphasis on LGBTQ+ justice and intersectionality. I post sometimes about the harassment I face; I talk about how I face an increase in harassment when I present as femme. I reblog spells on Tumblr to repel and curse homophobes and transphobes who may visit my blog. I lose a lot of (straight, white, cisgender, male, homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic) followers for this reason. I think this is a nice cleanse. 

I posted this meme one time on Instagram, I think in 1st year, and captioned it “@ cishet men: if you like me, you’re gay, so either admit you’re gay or leave me the f*ck alone”. I lost so many male followers, hahaha. Mainly the guys from high school who hadn’t unfollowed me yet for my other posts calling men out. 

Dragon-Phoenix, Yin-Yang 

My cheongsams and other Chinese clothing represent the intersection of my gender and ethnicity. I own both women’s and men’s Chinese clothing, partially because I don’t care for the gendering of clothing, but mainly because I find it all beautiful, and a way to connect to my culture through diaspora. I used to feel ashamed of my Chinese ethnicity and hated being mixed-race because of Eurocentrism and internalized racism, but after years of repressing my Chineseness, I now feel so content and connected in my Chinese attire. Aside from wearing clothing regardless of gender, I also embody the symbolism of the dragon and the phoenix. Both associated with prosperity, the former is associated with masculinity and the latter with femininity. Together they are harmonious, like the symbolism of yin and yang. I feel empowered by my embodiment of both the dragon and the phoenix, as well as by my ability to wear both phoenix and dragon symbols and to wear both “women’s” and “men’s” clothing. 

Flower-like beautiful boy  

Until researching for this project, I only knew of binary terms for Chinese lesbians: and Po. These are comparable to butch and femme respectively. Being genderqueer, I didn’t know which I’d be categorized as, and I had no other language for the conjunction of my sexuality and gender outside of these terms. I was pleasantly surprised, however, when I read Hu (2017) and learnt some new terms. While and po are connoted with lesbian gender expression, I learnt that in Chinese and other East Asian cultures, zhongxing and huameinan are used to describe gender expression more broadly (Hu 2017). Hu focuses on the term zhongxing, which literally means “gender neutrality,” but also mentions that huameinan means “flower-like beautiful boys” (183). I love being a beautiful boy and adore the idea of being a flower-like beautiful boy. Despite being genderless by literal translation, zhongxing is increasingly used to describe women whose gender expression leans towards masculine (Hu 2017). This term resonates with me too, and I especially like the way Hu describes zhongxing style: 

Typical outfits include stylish short hair commonly seen in popular men’s fashion magazines, well-tailored shirts or polo shirts in a masculine style, loose jeans or khakis, name brand sneakers, and sometimes sports bras or breast binders. Swaggering steps and dauntless attitudes often characterize the ways they carry themselves. (183) 

This pretty accurately describes how I generally like to dress and carry myself. I love having these new terms to describe myself, relating to both my gender and ethnicity.  

Image source:  

Dickies Dyke 

I started calling myself a Dickies Dyke. Firstly, because I like the consonance. Secondly, I very stereotypically love my Dickies. Lastly, I love the word dyke. Roberts (1979) traces the trajectory of the word, outlining its connotation with masculine lesbians, addressing the traditional derogatory meaning, and discussing the politicized reclamation. My foreparents’ reclaimed meaning of “dyke” is associated with activism, resistance, strength, pride, independence and self-determination. Although generally reclaimed regarding sexual orientation, and while I am a dyke in this sense, I feel like “dyke” accurately describes my gender. I know it typically refers to a masculine gay woman, but despite not being a woman, the term really resonates. In a sense I have reappropriated “dyke” again for my own self-determination. To me, as an AFAB person attracted to femininity whose gender fluctuates through femme, femme boy, trans-masc, agender, and several other gender designations, I feel that my sexual orientation in conjunction with my gender accurately places me in the realm of dykeyness. I’m a dyke. I love women and femmes. I’m not as masc as a butch, nor as strictly fem as a femme. I’m strong and independent. I’m an activist. I’m super queer and proud.  

Everything is drag (reflections on makeup and genderfluidity, genderfluxivity) 

I was trying to choose a new profile picture, so I was going through my best selfies. I narrowed it down to two options and couldn’t help but laugh at myself. Not to reduce gender to mutually exclusive binary categories, but I really selected the most masc photo of myself and the most femme. I’m in straight up drag makeup in these two photos; the first being masc drag, the second being femme, both done by my talented girlfriend. 

I know that when I posted the femme photo earlier on Instagram, most people just saw a g*rl in glam makeup, but my girlfriend and I know that I was a boy that day and that she asked to doll me up in femme glam drag. The masc drag photo is pretty clearly drag. I wish that people saw the femme photo as drag too. And I mean honestly, being genderfluid and genderflux, any makeup I ever have on borders drag. It’s all a way to manipulate my appearance anywhere from genderless to an all-encompassing gender, from masculine to feminine, anywhere in ambiguity and androgyny.  

References 

Hu, Yu-Ying. “Mainstreaming female masculinity, signifying lesbian visibility: The rise of the zhongxing phenomenon in transnational Taiwan”. Sexualities, vol. 22, no. 1-2, 2019, pp. 182-202. Sage Journals, doi:10.1177/1363460717701690. Accessed 10 Oct 2019. 

Roberts, JR. “In America They Call Us Dykes: Notes on the Etymology and Usage of ‘Dyke’”. Edited by Harriet Desmoines and Catherine Nicholson. Sinister Wisdom, vol. 9, 1979, pp. 2-11. http://sinisterwisdom.org/sites/default/files/Sinister%20Wisdom%209.pdf. Accessed 19 Oct 2019. 

PRINTS 4 SALE

This week I worked on building my art Instagram. Over the course of 3 days, I posted 3 photos a day from my series GIRLS!. Once the entire series was online, I promoted the page on my main Instagram. My friends also promoted the account for me. Shortly after my friends and I promoted the account, I gained a following and received likes on my posts. At this time, my account still read ‘COMING SOON’; however, the next day I changed the bio to ‘PRINTS 4 SALE’ and posted a pricing list for my photos. To price the photos, I did some research on various platforms on which people sell prints, and contemplated the monetary value of the work I put into the series and cost required to produce the prints. The prices are Angel Numbers as to fit the aesthetic I have online.

Additionally, I added this pricing list with a link to @dimsumdyke to my GIRLS! post on this blog.

I decided to scrap my art Facebook as it was too hard to maintain two separate platforms for promotion.

This week, I will continue to promote my art account on my main Instagram, and will expand to other platforms for promotion. I’ve started on Instagram as that is where my largest queer following exists; however, I also belong to various queer Facebook groups in which I may be allowed to self-promote.

Existential Femininity: A Social Constructionist Perspective Queering Femininity

Femininity is socially constructed and, as such, can be embodied by any individual in any individualized manner. In this argument I present the concept of ‘femininity’ as an ever-changing construct dependent on time and space/place. Informed by social constructionist, intersectional feminist, queer and existential theory, I suggest that if femininity is in a constant state of redefinition, everyone can define femininity in their own terms. I position femininity in a matrix of gender that consists of gender identity, gender expression, assigned gender, gender attribution, gender roles and various forms of gender oppression, including sexism, misogyny, cissexism, non-binary erasure and gender essentialism. The matrix of gender is further situated in a broader matrix of intersectionality, connecting identity markers of gender to race, class, colonialism, imperialism, geographical location and all other social locations. This argument is based on my knowledge and experience as a non-binary Gender Studies, Sociology and Philosophy student; I draw from the education I have attained both in post-secondary institutions and in my own time. 

To lay down the groundwork, it is essential to understand the complexity and multiplicity of gender. Gender is malleable and fluid. Gender is an abstract concept, far more complex than the simplified Western explanations that are rooted in oppressive hierarchies and false binaries. Moreover, while traditional Western conceptions of gender seem simplistic, equating penis = male = boy = man = masculine and vagina = female = girl = woman = feminine, these definitions are easily complexified and confused. Under the premise of the Western conception of gender, the aforementioned equations are mutually exclusive; that is to say that there are two gender categories that exist separately, never to coincide. The mere existence of gender diversity, however, shows how inaccurate these categories are. For example, there are men who are feminine and women who are masculine; there are people who are both feminine and masculine and people who are neither feminine nor masculine. There are people who are neither men nor women. There are women with penises, men with vaginas, people with neither of those organs or a mixture of the two. And there is an infinite amount of further diversity in gender that disrupts the gender binary. In addition to seeing how the Western gender system is flawed in itself, it is essential to see how this system is niche to the rest of the world. While the Western world operates under a binary gender system, there are other countries and cultures that acknowledge third genders. For example, in India there is a third gender category called ‘hijra’; in Indigenous cultures the modern umbrella term for someone of a third-gender is “two-spirit”. In reality, constructions of gender differ from place to place and throughout time, but through the lens of the Western world, the gender system should operate on their binary terms. The Western gender system is rooted in oppression, colonialism and imperialism.  

By exemplifying how complex and diverse the concept of gender is, this lays the foundation for combatting gender essentialism. Gender essentialism is the assumption that gender is fixed and innate, that gender is something that everyone is born with and that remains a static characteristic. The premise of gender essentialism and of the gender binary go hand in hand on the common ground of equating penis = male = boy = man = masculine and vagina = female = girl = woman = feminine. Gender essentialism dictates that if you are born with a penis (or the resemblance of one) you are assigned a male sex and gender, and as such you are inherently masculine; if you are born with a vagina (or the resemblance of one) you are assigned a female sex and gender, and as such you are inherently feminine. The previous evidence of how changeable the definition and embodiment of gender is, though, renders gender essentialism unreliable. The conflations of gender essentialism leads to the construction of gender roles, but again, these roles are unreliable and ever-changing. For example, a present-day gender role is that pink is for girls; however, pink was actually coded as a masculine until the mid 1900’s. Other gender roles that currently exist are that men are dominant, assertive, active, bread-winners, strong and rational. Women take the role of the ‘other’, meaning that they are everything that men are not; moreover, gender roles dictate that women are submissive, docile, passive, emotional and sensitive. These roles can be problematized from various angles. First, by simply comparing the masculine roles to the feminine roles, it is clear that these roles are steeped in sexism. This gender-based oppression is evident in the way that male roles are primarily positive and powerful, while female roles are weak and devalued. Not only are these roles rooted in sexism, but they are clearly overgeneralizations. Again, by simply contemplating the gender diversity that exists within society, one can see how these gendered traits are not innate characteristics dependent on sex assignment, but rather are developed behaviors that people of any gender can embody at varying degrees. Further, these traits are gendered according to the contexts of time and space/place. 

So, if gender and its associates can be so easily disrupted, conflated, complicated and confused, and since gender is in a constant state of flux, dependent on the contexts of time and space/place, I present a conception of femininity that reflects the changeability of gender. First, femininity can be embodied by anyone, regardless of gender. Second, femininity can be defined by any individual to mean any number of things. Gender is socially constructed, and social constructions are ever-changing; femininity, being a branch of the construction of gender, then, follows suit. The characteristics of ‘femininity’ are constantly negotiated by the values of the society and culture it is contextualized in; further, these values change over time. Most basic to this conception, yet most theoretically complex and existential, femininity can be anything. Femininity is an unexclusive attribution; femininity can be attributed infinitely in this space-time continuum.  

Managing Marketability

After our lecture, in which our guest speaker, Trevor Battye, highlighted that I could monetize my website by selling prints of my photography, I decided that I would follow through with this idea. I had already contemplated selling my art, and getting the external unbiased validation from a stranger motivated me to take action. As such, I created a couple social pages to promote my art and linked them to my blog: http://instagram.com/dimsumdyke and https://www.facebook.com/dimsumdyke. While the pages have no content and only read ‘COMING SOON’, I will spend some time this upcoming week working on creating an audience on these platforms.

Additionally, I’ve added a Creative Commons license to my photos. I selected a license that allows my work to be shared and remixed, so long as I am credited for the original work and so long as the material is not used for commercial purposes. I selected this license as I don’t want others to profit off of the basis of my creativity; however, I do want my art to be distributed for non-capitalist intentions and to be used creatively. Here is the updated post with the license at the bottom: https://dimsumdyke.com/portfolio/girls/.

I’m contemplating setting up an Etsy or something similar to sell prints, tote bags and t-shirts. Otherwise I will sell them via the Instagram and Facebook pages I’ve set up. Stay tuned to find out what I decide and financially support my creative endeavors!

Peer Review of Blog “My films Blog”

My films Blog‘s homepage opens with a large image of a man in a movie theater. This image takes up nearly all the space above the fold, except for the margin at the bottom in which the main menu is situated. This design choice could pose problems depending on the image used, but it works quite nicely with the image selected by the blogger, giving a clear visual of what the blog is about. Also, there is a button on the menu to scroll right past the image, taking the viewer directly to the blog’s content. It is effective having the heading menu remain at the top of the page no matter how far you scroll down the blog, as to always give the viewer an option to further navigate the blog. Additionally, the blog features a search function which is a useful tool, especially if a viewer wants to search for a specific film. Also making the blog user-friend, My Films Blog features effective contrast in text/background, making it easy on the eyes for the audience.

Presumably, the intended audience for this blog is fellow film critics and fanatics – perhaps even those involved in the film industry. With some fine-tuning of the grammar, punctuation and capitalization used on the blog, it would be effectively professional-looking, thus inviting serious viewers from the film industry to engage with the blog. A consistent flow of syntax could make the blog more appealing to potential professionals viewing the blog, which could in turn lead to partnerships for reviewing certain films.

For example, the word ‘this’ should be capitalized and the last sentence may want to read ‘It’s a Sora and Riku mix’. Additionally, the word ‘near(est)’ is repeated twice in the address section. In the About this Site section, it may want to read ‘in which’ or ‘where’. The author of this blog could benefit from spell- and grammar-checking their posts, sidebar, and pages.

Content-wise, the blog covers a range of films which is appealing to a variety of readers. This is important in the marketability of their blog as to draw in a larger audience. The use of bold text at the end of each film review is effective in giving the reader a quick glimpse into what the film is about and how well-rated it is.

Lastly, having a contact page where the author invites the reader to submit film review requests is very effective in drawing in an audience. One issue with this page, again, is the grammar and punctuation.

‘if’ should be capitalized. ‘i’ should be capitalized’. And finally, ‘ill’ should read ‘I’ll’.

Everything is Drag

Introduction

This photo essay delves into the complexity of drag culture and non-binary identity through an auto-ethnographic study. With the help of my girlfriend, I transform into several drag looks then reflect on the process in relation to gender identity. Each look has a drag name, pronouns, a unique persona, and a song that they would perform to. The project explores drag in relation to gender performativity and gender roles. In the process, I find that drag, for me, functions as an extension of my gender and allows me to perform and embody heightened gendered expressions.

Tuxedhoe Masc

Pronouns: He/him/his

Song: Comme Des Garçons (Like The Boys) – Rina Sawayama

Tuxedhoe Masc is a femme boy. He is here and he is queer. He is gay and here to say, ‘down with toxic masculinity!’ A play on Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon, the ideal dream boy, Tuxedhoe Masc is indeed a dreamboat. He is tall, dark and handsome. He is mysterious like Tuxedo Mask, but still emotionally available. He is in touch with his feminine side, his masculinity, and the fluidity of his gender, while still being a confident ladies’ man. Tuxedhoe Masc performs feminist masculinities, disrupting traditional gendered expectations, rejecting male dominance and female degradation, and reinventing masculinity as queer (Basaliere, 2019). Feminist masculinities acknowledge the overarching social contexts in which gendered performances play out, and creates a space for new, healthy masculinities.

Ms Dyswhoria

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Song: Femmebot (feat. Dorian Electra and Mykki Blanco) – Charli XCX

Ms Dyswhoria is a bit of a slut. She uses her femininity to play the patriarchal system and get what she wants. She’s a queer queen who fakes straight when she wants something she couldn’t otherwise attain. This act of ‘realness’ (Bailey, 2011) is an act of resilience. The name of this drag look is a play on gender dysphoria. As an AFAB non-binary person, who hasn’t undergone any transition except for some chest binding, in a world where gender roles are rampant, I experience so much social dysphoria. By performing a heightened femininity, I feel as though I’m sticking it to those who dictate that non-binary has a certain look (androgynous, thin, white). I can be hyper-femme and non-binary. Further, I can use that hyper-femininity to exploit the binary gender system that enforces the roles that make me feel this dysphoria.

Stoned Priestx

Pronouns: Xe/xem/xyrs

Song: XS – Rina Sawayama

Stoned Priestx is so extra. Xe doesn’t conform to any rules. This look was the most fun and most difficult to create. Not wanting to conform to masculinity or femininity in anyway, Stoned Priestx beats xyr face to reject traditional gender roles and create endless queer gender possibilities. To xem, traditional gender roles mean nothing; xe envisions a future of queerness and fluidity when it comes to gender. Stoned Priestx breaks the binary and embraces a matrix of infinite gender possibilities. Xe performs to XS by Rina Sawayama as the song is about wanting “more, more, more, more, more,” and Stoned Priestx wants to be the most. Xe is inspired by club kid style and culture which centralizes gender fluidity, extravagance, and DIY aesthetics (Boulay, 2020).

Mixxxed Dynasty

Pronouns: Any

Song: Dynasty – Rina Sawayama

Mixxxed Dynasty is all mixxxed up. In terms of gender, they are queer and fluid. Racially, she is a mix of Chinese, Irish, English and Welsh heritage. This look is an act of reclamation of the appropriation of xyr Chinese culture that frequents the mainstream. White girls is cheongsams, white boys in changshans, popular brands using traditional oriental patterns and materials… The list goes on. Mixxxed Dynasty may be all mixxxed up, but he is sure of one thing: He is tired of the appropriation and bastardization of his culture and he wants to take it back. Mixxxed Dynasty performs to Dynasty by Rina Sawayama, who is also queer and of East Asian descent.

Dimsumdyke

Pronouns: They/them/theirs

Song: Immaterial – SOPHIE

Dimsumdyke is just as their name suggests: A big ol’ dyke. This final look portrays how, for me, everything is drag. Even my day to day looks feel like drag as non-binary, genderfluid individual. Dimsumdyke’s look is a casual look, nothing campy or extra about it at all, as Dimsumdyke is very shy by nature. They perform to Immaterial by SOPHIE as the lyrics reflect the binary that they feel simultaneously caught between and outside. Further, the more camp-like nature of the song contrasts their shy nature to reflect the internal conflict between being a raging genderqueer dyke and the constraints of conforming to society and appearing ‘acceptable’.

Conclusion

Drag is an art form that can be embodied infinitely. For some drag performers, a drag persona is separate from their day-to-day self (CBC Arts, 2020). Conversely, for other performers, including myself, it is nearly impossible to differentiate between drag and day-to-day gender. This project unveiled realms of gendered possibilities for me, all of which overlap in one way or another. The fluidity of gender is quite apparent in my transformations and queering and rejection of traditional gendered expectations. My drag functions to dismantle oppressive systems and create new, healthy, infinite gender possibilities.

References

Bailey, Marlon. “Gender/ Racial Realness: Theorizing the Gender System in Ballroom Culture.” Feminist Studies, 37.2 (2011): 365-386.

Basilere, Jae. “Staging Dissents: Drag kings, resistance, and feminist masculinities.” Signs, 44.4 (2019): pp. 979- 999.

Boulay, Nadine. “Week 5- June 12th.” Simon Fraser University, 12 June 2020.

CBC Arts. “We are not worthy of the talents of non-binary ‘drag thing’ Rose Butch.” 14 Feb 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJaOzlAyoLo.