Double-standard Face

facemask

When are things that are exactly the same, completely different? Well, when some dude mansplains that it is, that’s when!

Recently Mary Cheney, lesbian, and daughter of former US Vice President Dick Cheney, asked in a Facebutt post:

“Why is it socially acceptable — as a form of entertainment — for men to put on dresses, make up 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?”

Seems like a fair question, and one that feminists have been asking for the last 40-odd years.

Enter the Dragsplainers, Ru Paul et al, to very carefully dragsplain:

On Friday evening, World of Wonder posted a video entitled “Drag Herstory 101,” in which RuPaul explained that while blackface and racist “entertainment” drive people apart, “drag brings people together” by letting them imagine and embody whatever or whoever they want to be.

Drag Queens, wrote World of Wonder, “have used the art form as self-expression, as a tool of cultural and political change, and, yes, as a celebration of womanhood.”

“So reach out and touch a drag queen’s hand,” said RuPaul in the video, “and make the world a better place if you can.”

So glad he cleared that up! I guess if all dudes donned teh drag, we’d have World Peace in no time! Yeah, brilliant!

Womanface looks the same as blackface, but it’s not, because some dude just dragsplained it to us ‘silly women’.

You would think, that of all people to understand the parallel of blackface and womanface, it would be a black male. But apparently not, if you have made your entire career out of it. Misogyny, the game that males of any colour can play.

Let us examine the ‘differences’ between blackface and womanface, particularly the latter in the case of drag:

Blackface: A member of the dominating class (white), stereotyping and mocking a subordinate class (black), for the purposes of entertainment (majority audience demographic, the dominating class)

Womanface: A member of the dominating class (male), stereotyping and mocking a subordinate class (female), for the purposes of entertainment (majority audience demographic, the dominating class)

Blackface: The performer, from the dominating class (white), usually resumes life during non-performing times, as member of the dominating class (white). No such luxury for those of the oppressed class (black) who were mocked by the ‘performance’

Womanface: The performer, from the dominating class (male), usually resumes life during non-performing times, as member of the dominating class (male). No such luxury for those of the oppressed class (female) who were mocked by the ‘performance’

Blackface: Many of the stereotypes of the oppressed class (black) being mocked were manufactured/enforced upon the oppressed class (black) by the dominating class (white)

Womanface: Many of the stereotypes of the oppressed class (female) being mocked were manufactured/enforced upon the oppressed class (female) by the dominating class (male)

Blackface: “It’s just entertainment, don’t take it so seriously”

Womanface: “It’s just entertainment, can’t you take a joke you humourless feminazi?”. Or, as our most recent dragsplainers say: “…a tool of cultural and political change, and, yes, as a celebration of womanhood.”

Ah yes Mr Paul, so completely different. Thanks for the dragsplaining.

At this point I scratch my head and wonder why the black civil rights groups of America didn’t ’embrace blackface’ as a ‘tool of cultural and political change’, and see it for the ‘celebration of blackness’ that it was said to truly be.

From the inception of the Lesbian & Gay Liberation Movement, we lesbians have had to put up with a segment of our ‘brother allies’, mocking us, making money off the tools of our subordination as females (compulsory femininity), and frequently other misogyny (like using slurs like ‘fish’).

In defence of drag, we are again told by ‘our brother allies’ to stfu about the insult to us as females, particularly those of us who actually reject femininity. It’s not funny. It’s not entertainment. It’s not a joke. And just because you make money by mocking our subordination, is still no fucking excuse, particularly from a so-called ally.

Older posts on womanface, and the supposed difference in appropriation (clue: it’s only ever different if males are affected):

Transface, ironyface
Blackface

A visual summary, originally from Rancom (but I cannot locate the post):

blackfacewomanface

* * * * *

ETA: Quite an excellent post exploring the intrinsic relationship between Blackface and Womanface (drag). Essential reading: “Blackface & Drag“.

12 thoughts on “Double-standard Face

  1. DaveSquirrel Post author

    In order to discredit Cheney, some articles try to infer that she is actually calling for blackface to be acceptable. Her comment at the end was rhetorical, for those who are literally stupid.

    http://www.newnownext.com/mary-cheney-if-men-can-do-drag-why-cant-white-people-do-blackface/01/2015/

    http://edition.cnn.com/2015/01/30/politics/mary-cheney-facebook-post/index.html

    Having females make sense and speak truth as to sexism and female oppression, will never do—she must, at all costs, be discredited.

    Yawn. Another fucking day in patriarchy.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. DaveSquirrel Post author

      Well actually there are, sort of. Places like India have a ‘third sex’ type category, and homophobic places like Iran, assign them ‘female’. So the West really follows with Iran, very progressive of us. Some places like Thailand, the ‘she-male’ thing is a thing (and quite a fetish for a lot of dudes, yes, there are chatgroups for these hook-ups).

      I guess though, Drag Queens are rarer outside the west. They would certainly be executed in Iran (because homophobia).

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    1. DaveSquirrel Post author

      Interesting, sort of. Because, yawn, heard exactly the same backlash bullshit in the 1970s. It is about the conservatives, lamenting those who would defy gender roles, and shame them back in place.

      This song was released in 1926, and if you recall, that was again an era whereby women of the 1920s were rebelling and asserting independence.

      After feminism and other social justice movements that started in the 60s—same old backlash crap aimed at those who were challenging gender roles.

      Fast forward to the beginning of the 21st century, and we are supposed to embrace ‘pink brains’ and ‘blue brains’—gender role conformity by any other name. Sadly, many young women, who have not bothered to study Herstory, are falling for it. Those who do not learn from ‘history’ are doomed to repeat it. I am just sitting here in a holding pattern hoping that they will eventually wake-up, en masse, so we can have an actual feminist movement again.

      Liked by 4 people

      Reply
  2. Black Metal Valkyrie

    I don’t understand radical feminists who completely reject the scientific fact that there is difference between male and female brains. Why would that lead to gender bullshit being true?

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  3. magicpoppy

    ““drag brings people together” by letting them imagine and embody whatever or whoever they want to be.”

    This is only true of drag, as it is clearly not of blackface, if women aren’t really people. Our feelings and experiences need not be taken into consideration because we do not have human status, even on the left. There continues to be much conversation about cultural appropriation on the cultural left. Most of the people who complain about it are 100% down with transgender identity politics. To them it’s impossible to appropriate from women because we are just a source for men to take from as they wish. They don’t come right out and say this, partly because they don’t care and partly because gaslighting women is fun to them.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  4. pasunhomme

    On the one hand, I think this is a great post and you’re absolutely right that drag is disrespectful. Furthermore, imagine if blackface performers went full-time like trans women and said “I’m a real African!”

    On the other hand, I do think that “males” who do not imitate the female body but do mark themselves with feminine gender iconography will be an important step in the attainment of gender abolition. Currently there is no unmarked woman. A woman can reject femininity all she wants but she will still be scrutinized and oppressed, perhaps even more, as a female. Markedness will have to be distributed between both males and females, *from birth*, before gendered socialization is relaxed and people are free to be themselves as equals with each other. Forcing people not to put their vagina-children in “pretty” outfits or to do the same with their penis-children is not gonna happen for a while. Until then I think adult male lipstick does actually have a place in overturning collective patriarchal beliefs.

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