Funny-peculiar/ Funny-ha-ha

“But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading
‘Cause you think that being a girl is degrading”
~Madonna, What It Feels Like For A Girl

One of my female friends once told me that seeing me cross-dressed made her feel better about being a woman.

I was quite taken aback by this; baffled even. She grew up in a conservative, religious family in the USA and spent her formative years surrounded by a sexist culture. From what I gather, masculine things were coveted; feminine things were seen as inferior. So, seeing me coveting feminine things – even if it was just clothes and makeup – and not feeling that it was anything to be embarrassed about, was a bit of an eye-opener.

I never felt that cross-dressing was a matter of comedy. It can be great fun, in all sorts of ways, but I’ve never felt that the mere act of a man putting on a skirt should raise a chuckle. The man has to do a helluva lot more than that if he wants to be funny. But why should cross-dressing be funny?

Men and women are treated differently. This is especially apparent in the workplace, especially to trans employees who have experienced life as both male and female. And it’s no great surprise that women come off worse. I mentioned at the end of my last blog post that if you want to cross-dress and present yourself in a feminine way, then women’s issues should be of interest to you. I should probably qualify this: it depends on your motivation (something for another blog – I promise!), but if you’re coming out, going out in public, it’s something to consider.

via Cyanide and Happiness: http://explosm.net/comics/3722/

via Cyanide and Happiness: http://explosm.net/comics/3722/

Cross-dressing is often popularly viewed as either a mental problem (such as Norman Bates in Psycho) or comedy fodder. Sometimes, it’s because the perceived ‘weirdness’ of cross-dressing is seen as humourous in itself. Sometimes it’s because male comedians want to portray female stereotypes (or defy them), or for female comedians to play up male stereotypes (I’m sure someone, somewhere, found these funny?).

Presumably, it’s all to do with status-based comedy (something I’m very familiar with from my improv days), in which (high-status) men ‘degrade’ themselves by becoming (low-status) women. What man in his right mind would want to do a thing like that? See – weirdo, right?

I can’t say I’ve ever really subscribed to the idea that women are ‘low-status’; I grew up in Britain in the 1980s when the head of state and head of government -the two most powerful people in the land – were both women. All but one of my bosses at various workplaces have been women.

It’s a matter of personal taste, of course. I enjoy cross-dressing in films or other shows when it creates humorous (or dramatic) situations – for me, Some Like It Hot will always be entertaining – but not when I’m expected to shriek with delight simply because [famous actor] is wearing a skirt [insert multiple exclamation marks]. Pantomime dames never entertained me, even when I was a kid.

When I cross-dress, I don’t do it to be sexy, or for comic effect (I’ll crack jokes whilst cross-dressed for comic effect, though). I don’t see cross-dressing as degrading or humiliating (and if anyone does, that’s their problem, not mine). I’m aware that it’s very much an activity for a minority, but I don’t think it’s weird. I just do it because I think I might look good and I’ll feel good; that’s all.

I think my favourite cross-dressing character is Lord Flashheart in Blackadder. I first saw him when I was nine years old, staying up late to watch a piss-funny comedy show that my parents were wondering if they should be allowing me to see at such a young age. In Rik Mayall’s show-stealing portrayal, Flashheart is a sexy, red-blooded, bride-stealing buccaneer; the centre of attention and greeted by loud cheers wherever he goes. And he also feels more comfy in a dress. But that’s just something he adds at the end:

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Funny-peculiar/ Funny-ha-ha

  1. jenniroberts says:

    Miss Twist, I love your website! And I love you!

    I’ve always seen myself as female my whole life but you would never guess seeing me. For years I’ve kept it utterly hidden from everyone and never acted on my feelings, except in video games. I’ve dabbled in crossdressing in private in the past but now do it all the time. Your words and actions (and photos!) inspired me to start being a little more open. I still keep it a secret, I could never do what you do on stage and out in the open. I’m not making any of this public. But I HAVE started leaving the house dressing in what I’m comfortable wearing. The winter is amazing for me. I don’t stand out as a crossdresser because I dress well, but my face and some other features aren’t so feminine so winter clothes gives me an excuse to cover up a bit and go outside! It’s been exhilarating walking down the street and nobody reacting strangely. I only do it when it’s getting dark, and it’s probably always going to be a winter-specific thing for me, but going outside of the house dressing the way I want to is so special and I have to thank you for that.

    You are the first human being I’ve ever told that I enjoy crossdressing and that I’ve always felt in the wrong body. Even though I’m doing it secretly, it still feels amazing to say it out loud to someone. Or type it out loud 😉

    Thanks xx

  2. Miss Twist says:

    Hi Jenni!

    Thank you for your words! I’m really glad to hear you’ve got something out of the blog! 😀

    It’s a brave thing to do, admitting first to yourself that a secret like this is what makes you happy. It’s braver still acting upon it, and then admitting it to others.

    Like you, I started out as a winter/night-time cross-dresser when I went out. It was only after a lot more practice and confidence that I went out during the day!

    I’m also glad you’ve found a way to express yourself that you’re comfortable with – it’s probably far healthier to give yourself some sort of outlet, even if you don’t tell anyone else about it. Something so fundamental to your identity can’t remain bottled up forever.

    All the best,

    ~Twist 🙂

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