Sunday, August 9, 2009


I love Eddie Izzard. He's funny as hell and attractive to boot. (There's something alluring about a guy in heels and lipstick.) However, in terms of the concept of "performing gender," I'm a wee bit confused.

See, despite wearing traditionally feminine clothes, I'm not sure that Izzard is actually "performing femininity" when he cross-dresses. When I watch him perform while cross dressing it doesn't seem like he's trying to act feminine. He maintains his masculine voice and speech patterns and uses traditionally masculine gestures. He's not trying to hide the fact that he's a man, you know?

During one of his routines, Izzard talks about wearing false breasts. Occasionally he'll go to the store or wherever while wearing them, and he's invariably called, "sir," which he finds bemusing because guys usually don't have breasts. Of course, I haven't seen him during these trips, but I wonder if it isn't because, like during his stand-up, he isn't adopting any traditionally feminine behavior.

So is Izzard performing femininity? For me, I make the association of "performance" with "acting," but is that a valid connection in this case? Performing femininity seems to be two-part: one behavioral and one visual. Can/should we separate the two? It could be valid in some cases, perhaps.

I don't have an answer to any of these questions. I do know that Izzard is amazing, though.

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