sometimes i just want to get a fake orange spray tan and bleach my hair blonde and wear hollister and a&f and american eagle and uggs exclusively and wear frosted lipglosses and make ducklips faces and care about jersey shore and gossip girl. because apparently “nice” dudes hate when girls that because it’s “fake”, it’s “slutty”, it’s overdone/tasteless/”dumb” but fuck you. everything is fake. all persona is persona including what you’ve been conditioned to perceive as a “neutral”/”inoffensive” appearance.
because i don’t want your “respect”, and i certainly don’t need your advice on how to “respect” a body. i don’t need your fake concern about skin cancer and burns on my scalp when my body doesn’t even feel like mine sometimes. when breast cancer becomes selling sex to teenage boys who wouldn’t tell you about the lump in your breast they felt while they were feeling you up. your concern for my body will always be mediocre until it is mine to create/destroy/create, and even then it wouldn’t even matter because you do not inhabit this flesh, or these organs, or this mucus/snot/bile/blood/spit/fluid/fluid/fluid. so stop trying to crawl into my bed of skin, asshole. stop trying to own my ugliness. you can’t have it. too bad, so sad.
i don’t want you to wait before i leave the room to talk about how gross i am. i want my skin to be greasy and leave big orange stains on every man who touches me and who i choose to touch. i want my hair to make you puke. i want my clothes to remind you of how capitalism lives in tube tops and booty shorts just as well as it does in jeans and a t-shirt or whatever the fuck makes you feel like the girl you wanna fuck is real “authentic”, real “down-to-earth” or whatever. i want to remind you that every picture is posed. no expression can be pure when you can see the camera and the camera can see you. i want you to know that i spent three goddamn hours straightening my hair and putting on my eyeliner over and over again and removing it over and over again so there’s light grey rings under my eyes and when i reapplied my lipgloss for the 20th time tonight in the backseat of my best friend’s car it hit a pothole so it’s smudging against my lipliner and i’m still not “sexy” to your pretentious jonh lennon art school ass. my labor is MINE, and it’s ugly because god loves ugly. i wasn’t put on this earth to give you a hard on. i want to scream and drink and grind to shitty club music because i want to scare the living shit out of you. i want you to go home and post a facebook update about how “our generation is doomed” and get twenty likes from all your pretentious john lennon art school friends and all your fedora-wearing self-entitled pasty sarcastic bros and all your edgewatch xvx police officers and all your “nice guy” indie rock microbrew date rapists who all secretly wish they could make a man want to remove himself from this earth just by getting a spraytan.
i don’t want you to want to fuck me, BRO. i want you to have to look at me. i want to be the bright orange flesh you don’t want to fuck but you also can’t ignore. i want you to be very, very scared of what is going to come out of my mouth. i want you to cringe at the sound of my voice because it is both too feminine and too loud. your disgust makes me even louder, even more powerful. and it’s so funny to me, so funny to me, because you know and i know we are both just pretending we aren’t aware that deep down you so badly wish you could be a monster, too.
It’s been a while since I first read this. The original author has taken their tumblr down, so I’ve removed the reference to their name in case they don’t want to be associated with this post. I’ll restore the reference on request.
So anyway I wanted to talk to fellow trans women about this. I love this post. But I’m interested in how and whether it works because it works off cissexuality. The obvious fakeness that the writer’s going for; does it only work because it’s juxtaposed with a flesh that’s originally invested with some kind of metaphysical “authenticity”, and work because of that contradiction?
Because I’m thinking of what would happen if a trans woman did that. Would it still be a revelation, interesting, that our presentation is “fake”? Or would everyone just nod and go, “Well, sure. I always thought as much.” Or not even that!
And it’s got me thinking about the whole drag-as-unmasking-performativity thing (which by the way Judith Butler has made very clear is a misreading, albeit one she pretty much invited via her play on “performance”) and whether, in fact, everyone already knows at some level this shit is fake. Or, as Eve Sedgwick (I spelled it right this time ;)) puts it, “Where are all these supposed modern liberal subjects?”.
The thesis I’m feeling my way towards is that femininity satisfies compulsory heterosexuality precisely because it’s “fake”, in the sense that we didn’t woke up like this (no sideswipe at Beyoncé intended here - I know and like what she’s doing). I’m sketching the shape of a sadistic aesthetic which enjoys that a woman:
a) has had to work to change her appearance and possibly subjectivity
b) isn’t allowed to speak about this and has to act as if it’s “natural”
To me, this aesthetic explains a lot of how beauty misogyny works, including beauty transmisogyny. And if so, this suggests there is a very deep problem with the politics of revelation around femininity. What if they know, have always known, deep-down if not explicitly, that it’s drag? What if that’s not the problem?