Friday, July 31, 2009

Performing gender

It's hot during the summer. (Duh.) Since I spend a good portion of the day in a "professional" office environment and shorts are considered too casual (so far), that means I wear a lot of skirts. I don't mind this at all - skirts can be very comfortable, and a nice breeze in the crotch region can be very refreshing!

Anyway, one thing I've noticed is that, in conjunction with wearing traditionally feminine clothes more, I also perform other aspects of femininity more - specifically wearing makeup - when I'm dressed for my internship. (When I'm just doing whatever, I don't bother.) Normally I don't wear any makeup at all, save for a couple dots of concealer if I've got blemishes. However, over the summer I've fallen in love with eyeshadow. I've got several different palettes now in varying colors - some subdued, others more outré - and one of my most enjoyable parts of my morning routine is picking my eyeshadow for the day and applying it.

I think some of it has to do with the fact that I bought actual brushes for applying it - instead of just the little sponge wand that comes with the compact. Something about using brushes makes it all seem more theatrical, which I think is a lot of the appeal. I love acting and performing, taking on different roles, and makeup can be a part of that; when I put it on, I'm playing the role of Young Professional - or perhaps Funky Clubber, if I'm going out to the bar. These are characters written by society, but I can take these roles, examine them, adopt them, and play with my own interpretation of them.

No doubt this also has to do with why I love drag - again, I'm playing with gender performance, just with the gender I usually don't identify with. I get a thrill out of adopting an appearance and mannerisms that are relatively foreign to me and seeing if I can perform them to others' satisfaction. Do I make a convincing guy? (I've been told I make an attractive guy, which is a start.) Do I want to pass completely, or do I want to just confuse people because it's fun? It depends on my mood, really; again, I adopt the masculine roles to suit my fancy in that particular instance.

Later I'll make a post about drag kings vs. drag queens vs. cross-dressers, if I remember.

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