I Found it at the Movies

I just watched the Academy Awards with my life partner.

Because we rarely go to movies at theaters anymore, although we did go to see “Milk” we have yet to see several of the films.  We are spoiled by having a huge DLP television, a good sound system and DVD player.

It makes it easier than coming home from work and trying to pull together the energy to go to the movies.

But I digress. The famous film critic Pauline Kael wrote a book titled “I Lost it at the Movies”.

When I was a feminine little transkid I was both a bookworm and an avid movie goer. Movies filled in many gaps in my socialization.  They fed  my imagination.

There is a difference between the male gaze when it is directed towards women and the female gaze.  It is a difference between objectification and lust for vs. identification and envy of.

I dealt with thinking my feelings were strange until I heard other women saying the same sort of things in consciousness raising groups.  Then I started to realize that women learn/become women through other women whom they admire.

This isn’t mimicry.  Nor is it an impersonation but it is rather a way of seeing how other women handle a situation and then adopting similar coping strategies.

Now film is an artificial enviroment, at once a dramatization of real life and an idealization or the human performers but nonetheless while coping with the alienation of being a transkid one takes ones nurturing where one can.

I learned femininity from some of the grandest actresses of 1950s cinema.  I adapted the lessons and integrated the elements into  who I am.  I found it at the movies because learning femininity was taboo in my daily life where people regularly beat me up for being a sissy.

So tonight when I listened to different actress speak of the women who were nominated for best actress in terms of respect and awe I was touched because it felt good to hear women speak of each other in that way.

I thought it was a very pro woman thing to do.

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Some Numbers

Way back when I was in High School.. .  I think it was 1964 and I was already becoming a radical leftie when my mother sat me down for one of those mother transkid/daughter talks.

By the time I was in high school I had been busted so many times for so many transkid infractions that I was getting treated like a girl when it came to matters involving having boys around me.

Any how it was about that time that Betty Friedan’s book “The Feminine Mystique” became a huge best seller.  My mother bought the paperback as soon as it came out because it was about her and many if not most of the mothers of baby boomers like me.  As soon as she finished it she gave it to me and told me to read it.  After I read it she told me that it reflected the real lives of women far more than the romantic ideal I had absorbed some what second hand.

I heard her.  We were working class people our lives were hard but I was part of a generation raised to believe we could do anything.

Besides I was going to run off to Greenwich Village or Paris, some where and live an artistic life of poverty chic complete with lots of black clothes, short skirts.  I was going to be cool.

Further being an obvious transkid pretty much sucked and it was easy to see that even if women were second class citizens they still had it better than we did.

But there was something else.  Even before I was conscious of it, a sort of pre-feminism.  There was a movie character, a surfer girl named Gidget.  The novel by her father was better than the movie.  It was girls can do things like surf that are stereotypically thought of as guy things.

By 1964 movements for justice and equality were all over the place.  I remember us saying “Come the Revolution.”

Any way here’s some numbers.  These come from the March 2009 edition of “In These Times”

59 Number of cents women made to each dollar men made in 1963 when President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act

78 Number of cents women made to each dollar men made 2009 when President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

4,000 Number of dollars that a family income would increase by if women were paid the same as men of similar education, age, union status and geographical region.

0 Number of states in which women have achieved economic parity with men.

SRS removed all the transsexual baggage and excuses as well as handing me a whole new reality.  Simone de Beauvoir has that famous quote about one is  not being born a woman but one becomes one.  After SRS all the expectations, discrimination and cultural baggage that is the burden of people with vaginas between their legs instead of penises becomes a reality.  If you cut loose of the excuse of transgender then you have only the shared reality that is common to all women