People mistake me for a man all the time (I am an Asian woman with hair that is somewhere in the world of Jenny Shimizu’s, Rihanna’s and Justin Bieber’s hairstyles). It is amazing how often it happens and the wide spectrum of outfits I have worn when this mistake occurs. Sure, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt when I am wearing a large, thick sweatshirt, but when I’m wearing a v-neck tee with colorful printed storks on it and I’m not wearing a bra, can we take a damn moment to take a look before calling me a ‘sir’? Do I actually need to show you my bare breasts and vagina? Sorry, my hair is like Rihanna’s but I’m not Rihanna. Plus, it’s not that people ever even have to address gender-specifically. Someone even looked at me incredulously once after I presented my ID for club entry (my driver’s license photo has me with my long-gone tresses) and said without taking a breath, “You’re a liar!” After I stared him down, he quickly realized his mistake and proceeded to make excuses about it. Yes, bitch, I cut my hair and you are a moron for thinking I would give you a fake ID with somehow unflinching confidence and without a fistful of other cards proving my identity stashed in my jean pocket.
However, there are moments that I appreciate gender confusion. Genderfuck is a conscious effort to mess with traditionally held standards of gender identity (DO NOT [,crazy bouncer,] confuse that or use that as an excuse to fuck with me existing in my own skin/hairstyle. I am not genderfucking by BEING, I am just me, a woman!). There is an annual party at Stanford called Genderfuk (technically with an umlaut, pronounced gender fyook), and people dress up, cross-dress, don’t dress. It is wildly fun and sometimes shocking. There are also quite a few models like Elliott Sailors who are females working often as male models. Ah, good bone structure! Also, moments like this… MotoCorsa up in Portland, OR decided, after yet another typical boring Ducati motorbike photoshoot with yet another bikini model, decided to shake things up a bit. And I must say, they did an excellent job. If you are grossed out… I’m not sorry because you don’t have a sense of humor. To grow one, try moving to the Bay Area for a bit. Or apparently, Portland!
But I digress – I like these moments because they allow people to express themselves and remove conventions people hold, at least briefly. And with Elliott and the Manigale MotoCorsa photoshoot – it really highlights, to me, the ridiculous standards to which women are held in the modeling industry, and how it inevitably affects women in society. In addition to that great bone structure, one of the reasons Elliott began exploring modeling as a male was because she, at 31 (but clearly still with an exquisite face and figure), was no longer getting calls for conventional female shoots. And the hopefully at least somewhat satirical Manigale shoot reflects how ridiculous it is that we require these women to not only look perfect but to pose uncomfortably in the most ridiculous ways, to allure and please men (yes, I know, women buy motorcycles too. but still… main purpose of these shoots would be to attract men).
And sometimes, it’s just fun. Example: my best friend donned a wig yesterday for Halloween – he was Miss Bon Qui Qui.