2016 is an Election Year and with this catastrophic, surreal, overlong, spectacle of doom and dread known as our American Presidential election, that possibly endangers the American Experiment itself, it has brought out a part of me that I have rarely put forth: My identity politics. Identity politics are something that I rarely engage with publicly, in fact, it was just recently did I come out as a transgender man. But there was something I had to finally say to the world, to contextualize my state of unease, my incredible depression stemming from the Pulse Night Club shooting, my volatile temper during political discussions, and why exactly did I seem to place an inordinate amount of weight into one candidate’s positions on LGBT protections when it so happens that those discussions of such protections never made it onto the floors of the presidential debates. It is not that I went into identity politics willingly, but that I was starting to feel caved in from what surrounded me. Expression and living just as I am along with millions of others becomes a political statement to the very people who want to cut us down to size, push us back in the closet, or either pretend we do not exist or turn us into threatening monsters of society seeking to disrupt, harm, and pervert the norms. That last part always makes me chuckle, as though I and the rest of the trans community are made out to be like the exiles of Mortville in John Waters’ Desperate Living, who willfully achieve all of those things. But that was a beautiful, dark, twisted fantasy of the queer cinema and the current reality that I am living is making me want to stay indoors.
Staying indoors or at least concentrating on indoor activities is relatively easy for me to do my favorite activity: watch movies. Now if there is something where I was even less willing to engage in identity politics in electoral and legislative politics, it would be that I have been less willing to engage with identity politics in art. I like to think of myself open-minded enough that to see other perspectives that are not my own or cannot relate to can be the great discovery and pleasure of it all. Admittedly, this could date back to the fact that one time that I did see a transgender man played in a film, it was when I was about ten or eleven years old, late at night, channel-surfing and seeing the scene of Boys Don’t Cry when Hillary Swank’s Brandon Teena is outed, after previously ‘passing’. Swank’s Teena is stripped down to reveal not having cisgender male sexual organs and is subsequently raped as punishment by those men. It was a rough scene when I revisited that in college after coming to terms with my gender identity but my memory of it goes back to that striking, uneasy first viewing. This was how people like me were shown. I may never really hold Boys Don’t Cry the film with great regard, because it always felt like being shown my worst nightmare. Nonetheless, looking back, I got why people can be hung up on audience identification and relating to characters. It can be a hunger to want it but also a cross to bear when it can feel foisted upon you. Whether I liked it or not, relating and knowing who Brandon Teena was made me have a type of connection that was unshakable.
Barry Jenkins’ 2016 film Moonlight, a three-part story on a young black man slowly coming to terms with his queer identity, while being confronted with homophobia, toxic masculinity, and machismo was something I anticipated a good deal. I was expecting something of a coming of age meets coming out story film in the mold of Blue is The Warmest Color or Carol, but with the caveat of it being a black male, something I have to admit I do not see the perspective of in a queer lens enough (I am copping to have not seen a lot beyond Tongues Untied and Portrait of Jason in this regard, but I am sure there are more films out there than I considered as there will always be films out there). The film is like those two other films in addition to a few others queer stories but also offering something that feels completely fresh and thoughtful.
When seeing Moonlight at the Toronto International Film Festival this past September, I have to admit it took some time to get drawn in, and not that there was anything wrong with the first section. This film, a film that is so empathetic and open toward its protagonist of Chiron, naturally builds from his adolescence to adulthood. It is the bridge between that in the middle-section that, frankly, shattered me when viewing it and has haunted me ever since watching it.
Find someone who pays attention. Who runs their fingers over your every scar; and asks where each one came from. Find someone who knows how you like your coffee; what song makes you want to roll the windows down and slam on the gas pedal. Find someone who takes in your smallest details; who notices the things you thought no one ever would.
And then…when you find them…
Be their someone, too.
I think relationships in general are over romanticized like at the end of the day I’m pretty sure a good relationship is just two people who know how to hang out and talk to each other not whether or not they can right all your wrongs or paint a picture of a thousand suns with the breath from your lungs or some shit
also I find it interesting how much Angelica’s and Eliza’s “catchphrases” juxtapose. Angelica’s is “I/you will never be satisfied” and Eliza’s is “that would be enough” which I think says a lot about their characters. Eliza always settles, Angelica is always yearning for more. the tragedy of their characters is that Angelica is forced to settle with a rich husband and Hamilton never really meets Eliza’s low expectations.
i don’t know how anyone could possibly risk plagiarising on purpose like i am so god damn terrified of accidental plagiarism that every time i submit something on turnitin i can literally feel my individual arm hairs standing on end as i wait for the police to show up at my door and arrest me for writing a string of words too similar to some paper about the mating habits of hoot owls from 1965
And then there is Melania Trump
Having a strong female character be confident and in control of her sexuality by wearing revealing outfits and not being ashamed to strut her stuff is fine.
But when 99.9% of all “strong female characters” somehow all express their “confidence in their sexuality” in the exact same way of revealing outfits and strutting their stuff…
That’s when you realize this is fake strength and confidence. It’s a thin veneer for bad writers to hide their obvious sexualization of the character which has nothing to do with a woman’s own confidence.
I can't shave my vagina without it being extremely itchy the next day. I've tried changing razors/ shaving methods but nothing works. Help?