Being in a social scene that is as given to performance and costuming and general, unadulterated dumb as mine sometimes provides reminders of just how limiting being black and female can be when it comes to performance. When certain mainstream or classical tropes are revisited, even within subcultural performance and even as parody, they’re often still reaffirmed as an immovable standard against which all else is cast. I think of the return of the blonde bombshell as the ultimate feminine ideal and how the Vargas girls have been experiencing a renaissance in everything from tattoos to fashion spreads in the last few years. In some ways, I will always feel estranged from and barred access to this iconography. And unless it’s done delicately, the irony of my attempting to subvert these tropes ends up looking less like parody than farce. And I don’t want to be a punchline.
As for what’s inspiring this train of thought (which is a lot less frustrated than it may seem–my brain is doing that teasing-out thing that it does quite often when I get a little whiff of something interesting and abstract and contradictory within my world) is an opening act that I’m participating in next Friday at Hubba Hubba Revue. Now, this is an act that I may have simultaneously thought up alongside those who put it in motion, but for me to participate will require… effort. What effort? Slicking back my hair.
This should be interesting.