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.