Archives for posts with tag: Tootsie

The Fairy Princess was sitting around this morning, a weekend morning, kind of relaxing, and then she read about an email that was sent by Mary Cheney.

Mary Cheney

Mary Cheney

Mary is of the Richard (insanely evil Vice President of the United States who got us into a War over WMDs that did not exist and then sold the war to Halliburton, authorized torture and rich people not paying taxes and left us in billions of debt) aka “Dick” Cheney clan, and in that email, she compared “Blackface”

TFP hates this photo with a passion, but it is Al Jolson, who was famous for his Blackface performances, apologies

TFP hates this photo with a passion, but it is Al Jolson, who was famous for his Blackface performances, apologies

To Drag:

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What say you my Queens?

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Mary Cheney posted her queries on her private Facebook page, a page which, of course, is meant to be just that – private. The first order of business, Ms. Cheney, would be, in TFP‘s opinion, is shut down your Facebook page – cuz you do NOT have a private Facebook page, or indeed any ‘safe’ place to write this:

“Why is it socially acceptable – as a form of entertainment – for men to put on dresses, makeup and high heels and act out every offensive stereotype of women (bitchy, catty, dumb, slutty, etc) – but it is not socially acceptable – as a form of entertainment  – for a white person to put on blackface and act out offensive stereotypes of African Americans” – Mary Cheney

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Usually, TFP stays out of politics, per se. She blogs about representation and visibility – however, she also blogs about LGBT issues as a huge supporter of the LGBT community, and she, in point of fact, was ‘raised’ as an adult by the LGBT community and so she is going to respond to this, and hope that Ms. Cheney, (who lives a life of exceeding white privilege while also being an “Out” Lesbian who has given birth to two children), was perhaps, just perhaps, was really asking.

It is totally possible.

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Yes, really.

She could ‘really’ not know, because perhaps, in the circle she runs with, there is a decided lack of empathy and knowledge about what Drag Queens mean to the LGBT community, and about the LGBT community in general – take a look:

GAY MARRIAGE OPPONENT HOLDS SIGN IN PROTEST OUTSIDE STATEHOUSE

Mary Cheney is a Republican, after all.

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Ms. Cheney could have equally less knowledge about what constitutes “Blackface’ because, as a practice, it was generally ended in this country two decades ago, and to TFP’s knowledge, has only been used again once in a main stage, Broadway production, and that was The Scottsboro Boys.

 

A show, Ms. Cheney, which was about racism. In 1931.  A show about racism towards black teenagers who are unjustly accused of a crime and most of them wound up dead.

Image by Banksy

Image by Banksy

But anyway, that show takes place in 1931. Ms. Cheney probably did not go see it.

So now, Ms. Cheney, TFP is going to ‘school’ you in what makes “Blackface” different from “Drag” and in one sentence it is this:

Blackface was used to denigrate, and Drag is used to celebrate.

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Blackface, Ms. Cheney, was a socio-political tool wrapped in popular songs and comedy sketches that was used to justify white supremacy – it implied that Black Americans were slow, dull witted, unable in some sketches to read, and all in all, they were ‘creatures’ (not humans) to be laughed at.

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If you never see someone as an actual person, it is much easier to dismiss their contributions, their humanity, and their worth as people, and as an Entertainer, TFP is horrified that performers had anything to do with it, let alone made money off of it, but they did.

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And it was wrong.

Because those sketches and songs, and pseudo-co-ooption of Black American songs and imitations of Black Americans justified Jim Crow laws and people putting up signs like this:

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It began in the early 1800’s in this country and it lasted, in popular performance until – wait for it – 1981. Yes, people, Blackface was ON TELEVISION in the UK until 1978 in The Black and White Minstrel Show.

Eventually it (mostly) died away in America with the Civil Rights Movement, as white performers began refusing to do it, both as a means to survive as a performer and because of personal ethics. Better late than never.

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So that, Ms. Cheney, is “Blackface” – a degrading mockery of a proud people, whose long history with this Country has certainly had much sorrow and violence, in part because “blackface‘ performers allowed African Americans to be viewed as ‘less than’.

Let’s go on to Drag….

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Drag is not just what you see on RuPaul’s Drag Race, there are varying forms.

 

What TFP likes about Drag and Drag Queens, is that Drag celebrates the many amazing facets about being a woman – the vulnerability to express feelings in public, the use of makeup to enhance nice features or hide self-perceived flaws, the art of sequins, the glamor of good fake hair, and of course, the fabulousness of a curvy body.

Drag says ‘be proud of who you are, no matter who you are’.

And of course:

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The TFP has learned many things from Drag Queens over the years, and she is grateful for those lessons.

In general, Drag pays tribute to the women most women would like to be – beautiful and outrageous with an ability to charm and enthrall a crowd while delivering a message.

 

Not every Queen is ‘traditionally’ beautiful,

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but they deliver ‘realness’,

Jackie Beat - sometimes her 'realness' is intimidating and TURN OFF YOUR PHONE OR SHE WILL HURT YOU

Jackie Beat – sometimes her ‘realness’ is intimidating and TURN OFF YOUR PHONE OR SHE WILL HURT YOU

the vulnerability of being a woman,

The Lady Bunny, the filthiest Lady around

The Lady Bunny, the filthiest Lady around

even if their drag is not “Pageant”.

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Not every Drag happens on the stage in a nightclub, or on your television set, America has lived with Drag as a tradition for as long as Entertainment has been around.

 

There have been some amazing Actors who have given performances in Drag.

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Take a look:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have those performances compelled you, Ms. Cheney, to take to your Social Media page in outrage?

No.

So, it’s not really Drag that upsets you, is it?

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TFP thinks what you are ‘suffering’ from is something else entirely, she thinks it is Sissyphobia”.

TFP believes that when you see Drag Queens ‘camp it up” on television, and call one another “Bitch” or “Girl”, you are not really seeing them ‘degrade women’ –  there are no women there to degrade, in point of fact.

(Let’s be honest, if you have never used the terms ‘bitch, dumb, catty, and slutty‘ to describe ANYONE, you are better person than TFP.)

(TFP can also ‘vouch’ for that intense eye makeup appearing on ‘real’ women, she grew up, in part, on Lawn Guyland, also, she watches MOB WIVES)

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What you seem to be having a reaction to is men who are acting effeminate both in and out of Drag, and  you have a problem with it.

Or at least that is how TFP sees it. You do not seem to be a woman with a lot of humor.

 

Ms. Cheney,  though our Society uses the label ‘sissy’ as a weakness, in the Drag Community it is a sought after illusion.

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As someone who is a ‘Proud, Out, Lesbian with a married spouse and two children’, who enjoys remarkable privilege given by birthright, skin color, and education, as well as limitless capitol, you may feel that you do not want anyone to ‘confuse’ your kind of LGBT with a Drag Queen persona. You do not want to be seen as a ‘sissy’, aka ‘weak’ and so you are wary of effeminate performers. You think RuPaul’s Drag Race is ‘holding you down’ as a woman.

You think Drag Queens are weak. Drag Queens are the strongest there are.

IF IT WERE NOT FOR DRAG QUEENS THERE WOULD BE NO LGBT “MOVEMENT” WHICH EVENTUALLY LED TO MARRIAGE EQUALITY, AND IN POINT OF FACT YOU HAVE BENEFITED FROM THAT, AS YOU ARE LEGALLY MARRIED TO A WOMAN.

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Or maybe you should just do an Internet search on the word, STONEWALL

Image from Stonewall Riots

Image from Stonewall

Some people, even LGBT people, even Cis-gendered people, would prefer that LGBT people act ONE way only – and that is ‘straight’.

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But, Ms. Cheney, there is no such thing as ‘straight acting’.

There is only ‘being’.

There are ‘only’ humans.

People of all shapes, colors, sizes, (as long as they do not hurt children or animals) have the right to live as out and as proud as possible – even if they are not Republicans.

Does TFP think that Drag is degrading to women?

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NO!

(Though she does wish they would stop using the word “Fish”  – which means, for those non Drag afficianados, aka “My Drag is so much like a woman that I smell like female parts” – shudder)

TFP thinks that Drag lifts you up, makes you laugh, makes you think, makes you feel ‘all the feelings‘, and allows people to be human, with all the flaws and missteps that we have. You can be any shape, any color, any ethnicity, any religion…

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…and you would be welcome at a Drag Show.

Look, Ms. Cheney, we know your world is a bit…

 

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But you should know the difference between Blackface and Drag – because NOT to know the difference is ignorant.

However, ignorance can be fixed – so now…..YOU ARE HEALED!

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Mary Cheney – for confusing debilitating racism  aka “Blackface” – which btw helped bestow upon you the privilege that your family continues to live with,

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with men in glittery dresses who lip synch show tunes and embrace everyone,

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TFP fines you 10 smacks of the wand and a month long education session with your local LGBT center, and honestly, volunteering at a Homeless Gay Youth Center would not hurt you either.

Audra McDonald….drop that mic and take us home…

 

 

I said, on my initial post, that I might write, upon occasion, about people who cannot parent in public. If I had a dollar for every parenting theory out there…I would probably have about $10,000, but I’m not debating Tiger Mom-ness over breast feeding an eighteen year old. I will leave that to the experts.

Forget “Parenting” this kid is going to be attached to his Therapist

I am writing this post as an Aunt. I am the Auntie to one of the most adorable kids on the planet and I take her, very often, to the library. Why?  I like to read, and  I wanted to share that with her. Since she was about five months old, I have taken her to the library and read her a few books – in fact, she’s been there so often, that all the librarians greet her by name – she’s the Mayor of the Children’s Section.

She is also only 15 months. She’s little.

Recently I took her to the library, and there were other kids in the section – not unusual, it’s the library. There were two children there whose ages I would put at about four years old, and they both had adult supervision, well, kinda.

The little four year old girl had a Nanny, who was doing her best to remind her how to behave – and that little girl was fine, until she met…oh let’s call him…..Zeke. (I don’t know anyone with a kid named Zeke so that’s why I’m picking it)

This is what I imagine Zeke was channeling

Dear old Zeke had a Mom, she was right there, sitting on the couch next to him, not paying any attention to him. She was thumbing through TIME Magazine, texting, and in general, letting the world know how annoyed she was at being heavily pregnant. A condition which I was sympathetic to, having given birth myself about a week prior.

Zeke’s Mom was uninterested in Zeke – she was letting a Nanny, who Zeke did not know, who was there with other kids, try to get him to sit down. Nanny had an infant in a carriage, so she was distracted and it was hard for her to keep both four year olds contained.

Zeke decided to start hurling the books across the table, because that seemed fun. It seemed fun to him, and to the other little peanut he met there, let’s call her Apple. (I’m choosing Apple because I don’t know Gywneth Paltrow). So there are Zeke and Apple, playing caber toss with children’s books, and on the other end of the table is me, and my little Niece who has two working eyes, which I was hoping she would not lose at the library.

I was keeping a keen eye on Zeke’s physical prowess, which drew the ire of his Mom. Now, it’s interesting to note, she didn’t give a rat’s ass about the fact that her son was behaving in a way that could possibly hurt other kids, nope. What she was concerned about was ME. My eyes specifically. The fact that she looked Caucasian and I do not, may have played into it. She had quite a few things to say about my eyes.

I have been asked if I am Anime

“Why do you keep looking at him!” she said. And, actually, I didn’t know she was talking to me, because I was involved with my niece, and reading to her – only looking up when a book came too close or when the screaming reached higher decibels.

Me: “I’m sorry, are you talking to me?”

Her: “WHY do you keep looking at him? Like, you keep looking at him, rolling your eyes. You should keep those eyes away from him. Don’t you dare roll your eyes at him”.

Me: “I was not rolling my eyes. He’s throwing books, I don’t want her to get hurt, some of them were pretty close”

What she was implying was, that I was rolling my eyes because of her lack of parenting. (And let’s face it, I was – but on the INSIDE because I was way more concerned with ducking that flying copy of  the latest Newberry Award Winner.)

Her: “Oh. That wasn’t what I thought you were going to say.”

Me: “And what did you think I was going to say?”

Her: “Nevermind”

I suppose she thought I was going to yell at her about her lack of parenting in public.  Or perhaps because my niece looks Caucasian and I do not, she assumed that I was the Nanny, and would not dare to speak to one of the Moms. Which happens quite a bit, because my Niece and I have completely different coloring – she is blond and blue eyed, and I…am not. Mom was ready to tell me off, she was gearing up to be confrontational, and honestly, she picked the wrong person.

I frequently joke that I was ‘raised by Gay Wolves’ and if someone sasses me, I am not above a ‘shade throw’ to put them in their place.

Excuse me, Detox, someone would like a word….?

However, I had a 15 month old with me, and my first job was to make sure she made it out of the library in the same condition I brought her in. With both eyes and no bruises. So I just stared her down. Like I thought she was crazier than a rat trapped in a coffee can. I stared so hard I thought I was in a movie about people with extraordinary abilities that are metaphors for being Gay. I was “Storm”.

Hell to the No! Put that book back on the shelf!

She finally moved herself to call Zeke to her side, ostensibly to ‘help’, which it did not – because Zeke began screaming at the top of his lungs. He broke from his mother, grabbed a book, screamed, and then threw it in our general direction. I grabbed my Niece, and a few books, and started to take her to another section.

At which point, that Mom started screaming at me, asking me why I was leaving, when she was trying to ‘help’ by corralling her son.

Soooo many answers ran through my head, and I have watched enough Reality TV to know the ins and outs of table flipping. I had a choice to make, as an Auntie and as a human being – do I take the high road, or do I let his very, very rude woman have it? I wrapped myself in my inner sequined dress, boa, and five inch heels, I levitated with umbrage.

I replied, “I am leaving, because your son is misbehaving. I do not want her to learn that his behavior is acceptable in the library, because it is not. He is throwing books, and you are letting him – which is dangerous. You are texting and reading a magazine. You are not parenting right now, when now is the time to do it. Ostensibly before you have to send him to military school for bad behavior. I am moving her to a safe distance now, Good day.”

I was Dustin Hoffman, dressed as a woman, bidding good day to Dr. Brewster on a mythical soap opera.

I grabbed my Niece and we went to a quieter section and successfully read several stories. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched the woman quickly gather her son and loudly take her leave. Yelling the whole time that she was leaving. My Niece and I watched her go.

In retrospect, I think I was more Julia Sugarbaker.

The other lady there, who had been largely silent – the actual Nanny, also gathered up her charges. As she took her kids out, she stopped and looked at me, and gave me a thumbs up.

I pretended that I was Mary Poppins and that while neither of us were ever to speak of this most infamous of days – a day of raised voices in the library, I understood her thumbs up. Spit spot.

Parenting is a job. I know, because I have it. On that day in the library, at least one of the Moms was ‘unemployed’.

On a final note – my 15 month old niece can spell. Because I read to her, and spell things when I take her places. She knows what the P-A-R-K is. Also that she likes to S-W-I-M in the P-O-O-L.  I like to think that I teach her something new every time I see her.

On that day, she learned that you do not have to curse to be a B-A-D  A-S-S.