Presentation: Donnie Brasco, the Other.

Gender is stereotype that we use to categorize and divide the world. There are some useful reasons for this, one being it’s beyond comprehension for humans to take in all of the information emitted and therefore necessary to comprise “summaries” to help sort information.
Stereotypes aren’t that bad, unless you use them to apply behavior to individuals, which is what gender does. It conditions an individual from its infancy to act a certain way, consciously and unconsciously. Who knows when they are trying to walk a certain way? What is your reasoning? It makes you more ___. Sexy? Masculine? Feminine? It defines you in a certain category. Walking in general can be seen as an unconscious gender role. Girls who walk like men are not as sexy, guys who walk like girls are considered homosexual. A less explicit example would be “feeling like a woman.” What they hell does that feel like? Where do we get this from? Gender is about sexuality. The reason why you act the way you do is so that you are attractive to your given sexuality.

(1) Sexuality = sexual ideal of attraction
(i) E.g. Normative Heterosexual men like ideal feminine females.
1. Does that mean that a lesbian is the ideal of a gay man and a straight female? No. Because a lesbian is a lesbian, not a Female pretending to be a man. But does the ideal “gender” stem from heterosexuality? Nope. We all know the history of origins. Ideologies make their own histories (see OVID).
a. In the movie, Joe Pistone the FBI agent takes on an “ideal” roles for a mafia member, one with no questions, no implications. As he does this, he also must do things that would render him legitimate, i.e. shave his mustache, dress like a mafia member, talk like one. “Fuggetaboutit.”

Anthropological studies show: Gender is cultural. Gender = Sex Role Playing
So now that we know that we are all trained to act like good boys and girls. Let’s start talking about the Butler essay.

1) Gender is Repetition
(a) We repeat the role-playing of male-female, therefore become it. We are subjected to performing roles when we are identified as man-woman. Naming and forcing through fear or obedience, rendering an action.
(1) This is Johnny Depp’s character, Joe Pistone, in Donnie Brasco. He is an FBI agent, but by the end of the film, having been submerged in the mafia culture so completely, the only difference between him and the other members is that he is a mafia member AND an FBI agent.
(b) “This ‘I’, which is produced through the accumulation and convergence of such ‘calls’ cannot extract itself from the historicity of that chain or raise itself up and confront that chain as if it were an object opposed to me, which is not me, but only what others have made of me.” Page 122
(1) Joe Pistone becomes Donnie Brasco because he is held accountable for the things that Donnie Brasco would do if he wanted to be in the mafia. Eventually, Joe Pistone does not exist anymore, as seen in the scene with his wife.
(c) “Occupied by such terms and yet occupying them oneself risks a complicity, a repetition, a relapse into injury” 123 “The compulsion to repeat an injury is not necessarily the compulsion to repeat the injury in the same way…the force of repetition is derived from the impossibility of choice.” page 124
(1) Raw example: http://www.newsweek.com/id/147790?tid=relatedcl
(2) Ever been shocked for no good reason at a girl use the men’s restroom?
(3) Impossibility of choice…Donnie must cut up the dead bodies or risk getting killed. Ok whatever, that does not necessarily mean that he is a bad guy. But in the scene following, Donnie is confronted with a hit job that he has to do in order to become “a made guy.” His must kill another man in order to become a “real” member. Donnie does not have to kill this guy (well, that’s arguable), he could run away and never look back. But if he doesn’t, he risks being called a snitch and therefore being murdered. This type of stuff happens all the time with homosexuals and homophobia. See link above.

ALL GENDER IS DRAG. All gender is drag because you are reaching for the ideal. The ideal heterosexual. These ideal men and women that we see in our minds are cast through social conditioning of what is the origin of our behavior. There is no origin to man and woman except penis and vagina, but that’s sex. So how does this relate to homosexuality and drag? Because if there is no origin then everyone is dragging. Everyone is trying to perform the ideal. “The body is an instrument of performance and a site of performitivity. Gender and sexuality are both performed and per formative--conscious and unconscious, intended and unintended, explicit and implicit.”(Joane Nagel) Men and women, who drag or are homosexuals are not placed in their “corresponding” gender roles, therefore are outcasts. But they are actually following the rules of society. They are trying to obtain the ideals. The only difference is they are doing so cross-gender. But if gender has no origin then they are not actually cross-gendering

(a) Therefore, homosexuality, transsexuality, and transvestitism are not centered on heterosexuality because heterosexuality is not the origin. Gender is defined by sexuality which is to say that a female is a “woman” if she performs in a way that attracts heterosexual males and homosexual females, and vice versa.

(1) Drag challenges originality because if a man can be a woman as well as a woman, that what is the origin? What is the difference? The sexual organs? Well, that is sex, not gender. Gender is the role types that attract partners.
(b) But, by dragging, one reinforces the norms by recognizing them and wishing to attain them. This also simultaneously breaks them down through a sort of gender espionage or double agency.
(1) If I can be what you are, how legitimate are you or what you represent?
(i) “When it is men in drag as women, what we have is the destabilization of gender itself, a destabilization that is denaturizing and that calls into question the claims of normatively and originality by which gender and sexual oppression sometimes operate.” page 128
(ii) “An impersonation of a [norm is] a figure of a body, which is no particular body, but a morphological ideal that remains the standard which regulates the performance, but which no performance fully approximates. “129

This has all been supposed by the structure of our society, which are heterosexual white males. Sorry guys, you get screwed double time. And also, what Freud says, the phallus. This metaphorical phallus is what validates us as individuals in society. The metaphorical phallus allows us to realize our image and what we actually are. In Paris is Burning, it is the camera. The camera has the power to show the men as women, and you really wouldn’t know the difference. It also shows when they are men, when they are white, rich, poor, black. Whatever.

No comments: