Thursday, September 12, 2013

where were the bull dykes?

Continuing from yesterday... So, the male pansy/effeminate male was a regular feature in turn of the century entertainment but where was the butch lesbian with her short hair and masculine clothes? Well, except for a few cameo appearances here and there, she was pretty much absent from popular culture, but why? Well, in A Queer History... Bronski suggest that that was because she was associated with progressive causes like suffrage and was therefore associated with subversion. The pansy, on the other hand, was rarely connected to any progressive political movement or figures. Also, the ''butch'' was less familiar while the pansy had been around since the middle ages. I feel that the pansy, with his limp wrist, feminine gate and fluttering eyelashes is simply ''funnier'' and easier to parody.
    Another theory, that is not suggested in the book but that I would like to suggest, is that parodying masculinity is not perceived as ''funny'' but parodying femininity is because womanhood is seen as less respectable and desirable and therefore something to belittle. So, the pop culture pansy was not just about lampooning the effeminate male but femininity itself!  Now, this not to say that men in drag are making fun of Women because it's actually more of a homage to them, and that's why most heterosexual men don't understand and or are uncomfortable with men in drag. Julian Eltinge, who I discuss in my September 5th and 6th post, had an overwhelmingly female fan base/audience while most men hated him.

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