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Depictions Of Self Image: A Comparison Of Gender And Persona In Butch Mystique And Rehearsing A Dream.

1048 words - 4 pages

Being someone or defining who to be can be a tremendous task that can take years to accomplish. Some of us are lucky enough to be born into what we want to be and fit it correctly; others have a hard time searching and adapting to an ever changing definition of what the world would like them to be. This is the main themes of Butch Mystique by Debra A. Wilson and Rehearsing a Dream by Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon. Through this essay I will show how gender representation is a significant issue often negated in the African-American lesbian community and how being artsy can be a difficult task for young people. I will compare and contrast both documentaries based on their main themes and their ability to present the issue.Firstly, Butch Mystique by Debra A. Wilson is a documentary targeting the ethnic butch lesbian community, their history and their struggle, by chronicling the life experiences of different women who identify themselves as butch in the GLBT movement. By the same token, Rehearsing a Dream by Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon chronicle the lives of several talented high school students who spend a week immersed in the world of art trying to define who they are and trying to perfect their craft. Both documentary center heavily in finding the real definition of people: the persons portrayed challenge the definition that society has given them and instead the documentaries show their understanding of who they want to be to the world.More to the point, this idea is exemplified in Butch Mystique in where the camera asks each one of the interviewees what it means for them to be butch. The responses are varied, many are contradictory but they do all coincide in the fact that being butch is something that is not widely accepted and not well defined neither in society nor within the GLBT community. Although their definitions vary, all the women depicted look the same: very masculine attire and demeanor; some even resemble real men by sporting shaved heads and displaying natural facial hair. To society it may seem like "women have taken the behavior and dress of those who hate them" but to them it's not about being someone else but themselves (Mickelbury 22). Even though the title is so broad and general, this documentary included African-American women and one Latina. This adds to the strain of completely representing the identity as a whole and it makes you wonder "why is this world so unfamiliar within the larger queer community" (Mickelbury 22). The lives of these women shaped who they are: one discussed how she was the last hope for his father to have a boy after a having several daughters and how that influenced in wanting to always be close to her father and be like him. In this documentary there are different women with different backgrounds; some are adopted, others are the pastor's kids, and some are mothers. As diverse as their stories are, they are limited to by their ethnicities in completely representing what it means to be butch in...

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