Part of Winter 1997
Maybe gender is the ‘fluid’ of contemporary sexuality. Gender politics, gender-fuck, gender confusion, genderless models…maximum gender. Gender play has moved into the the cultural mainstream again, but many of the emerging labels don’t adhere to a flexible concept of the self.
When a boy plays with a Barbie doll, and pretends to be a princess, most parents keep the video camera turned off. Susan Young didn’t. In Go-Go Boy (1993, 28 min.) she asks her son to explain what is going on. It’s a brave home video that encourages us to listen and watch while we discover that gender-bending is partly rooted in play without rules.
Tanya Murdoch tackles post-pubescent sexuality by confronting us with gender lies, and her own fantastic gender mythology.
I Have Something to Tell You (1993, 3 min.) is a sharp riff on bisexual bravado.
Susan Long’s Men Like Me (1994, 25 min.) adopts an earnest strategy to interrupt gender shifts for a mainstream television audience. The shock of watching a woman join the macho Australian patriarchy makes this TV special culturally subversive.
The ability to define your own gender from moment to moment is at the heart of Ira Sach’s film Lady (1994, 28 min.). Gender is most radical when it is in continual flux. Trying to figure out just who this lady is, and her unwillingness to let us pin her down with a label, brings us back to Go-Go Boy. Maybe everyone wants to dream that they can be a fairy princess and a knight in shining armour at the same time. Rescue yourself with these new gender fables!