Saturday, November 24, 2012
The artist that I have been writing about throughout this quarter is the transgender performance artist Vaginal Davis. Needless to say, there are some crucial similarities between Vaginal and Visa – similarities beyond their hermaphroditic births. Both are educated, comedic writers who use their wit to address issues from immigration to the queer community, equality, and politics. Both also, which I find rather interesting, dress in flashy makeup, pumps, and risqué dresses during these performances- which are actually undercover lectures in a way. They perform a comedic routine meanwhile sneaking in critique-heavy dialogue on the issues of today. I honestly cannot make up my mind as to whether their tactical approaches are effective or just distracting- the contrast between their drag performances and the true content of their routine brings focus- but depending on how easily you are offended, the focus may be either on the drag or on the content. Having been exposed to drag and the transgender community before Visa, I was not so much distracted by the performance as I was the Spanglish! Next time I see Visa perform, I’ll be sure to brush up on my Spanish, but regardless of the language barrier, she was really funny and brought an interesting approach to raising awareness of certain issues.
Furthermore, addressing the two offended transgenders as the convention, though I feel quite out of my element commenting on it at all, I do think there is no cause for offense regarding Visa’s routine. If I put myself in their shoes and there was a white woman on stage spewing obscenities and talking/acting crudely I would not take offense as a woman nor as a member of the white community- for she is an individual acting independently of others. I believe Visa’s situation is similar and that it is a struggle, as a minority, to be viewed as an individual and not as a representative of your whole race, gender or culture. If Visa was viewed as her own person, separate from the communities with which she identifies, I believe a lot fewer people would be offended by her work.