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Tag Archives: How to be a Woman

Start Your Engines…

25 Feb

RuPaul”s Drag Race Season 6 – Trailer from Eduardo Roza on Vimeo.

A couple of years ago, I was spending a lazy Friday night at my friend Brian’s apartment on the Upper West Side. We were drinking Gin and Tonics and catching up on “30 Rock” on Netflix. Once we were Liz Lemoned out, he suggested we watch old episodes of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

“It’s so campy and cheap and ridiculous, you’re going to love it!”

I was reluctant. I was skeptical. Brian is gay. I’m not. It wasn’t my culture, and drag queens had never interested me. Two episodes in, the show was growing on me. First, it’s hilarious. Queens insult (“read”) each other with quick-witted, smart one-liners. The competitions they were put in were over-the-top camp. Photo shoots in a wind tunnel that pulled their wigs off, getting thrown in a dunk tank. The tongue in cheek humor is unparalleled. The winner is whoever displays the most “cunning, uniqueness, nerve, and talent.” Think about that acronym.

So I became hooked. To this day, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is the only show that I look forward to, make sure to watch on a weekly basis. I’ve even gone to events in the city that feature some of the past and present queens. Over the years, I’ve begun to see the show as more than outrageous fashion and campy attitudes. Beneath all the glitter, the show has a distinct message about being yourself, and to me, it’s taught me a lot about being a woman.

Despite our equality strides, women are still not portrayed as powerful as often as they should be. When they are, it’s with a frumpy bitch overtone (see Hillary Clinton). Men dressing as women has traditionally been seen as humiliating, weak. What the drag queens do is elevate the ideals of womanhood. They are smart, creative, and tough. They are beautiful and commanding. The queens that win are the ones with the strongest personalities. Last year was Jinkx Monsoon with her vaudeville humor and flapper glamor. The year before that was Sharon Needles who has a gothic appearance and a penchant for using fake blood in her outfits. But these lady boys aren’t laughed at for dressing up as women, they are respected and admired.

We should all be that proud to be ourselves.

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Book Roundup

15 Jan

Oh heavens. 2013 has not been kind to me so far. We are two weeks in, and I spent the first week bed-ridden with a nasty cold (albeit not the super-flu that’s going around) and a couple of days ago I sprained my ankle walking down stairs (no one has ever accused me of being graceful.) Hopefully this just means I’m getting disasters out of the way now in preparation for an amazing 50 remaining weeks. But despite a brief respite in California with my family when both legs were functional, and I was only suffering from a lingering cough, I have spent most of my time in bed watching “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and reading. Thanks to my new addiction to Good Reads (Join and be my friend!) I’ve been reading a lot of amazing books lately. I only like to recommend books that I absolutely loved, and I’m amazed that I have three to write about. In that sense, 2013 has been awesome.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Boot_jkt-330I’ve written about Cheryl Strayed before. She is one of the most honest, intuitive writers I’ve encountered in a long time. “Wild” is a memoir of her time hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. She was 26, lost, confused, and simply out of ideas. So, quite ill-prepared, she decided to take a summer to hike the trail and figure her shit out.

As someone who is also 26 and likewise lost and confused, I found her hell-bent journey fascinating. She doesn’t hide or sugar-coat any of the bad decisions she made in her life, and like a lot of 20-somethings she embarked on a somewhat foolish journey. The wisdom of what she learns about herself and how she reconciles her past with her blurry future was fascinating to me. I couldn’t put it down.

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick

Nothing_to_EnvyWow, man. North Korea is an insane place. I’m sure you already know that. We all laugh about the antics of Kim Jong-Il, but this is one of the most isolated places on Earth. We really have no way to know what’s going on in there, and they don’t know what’s going on out here!

Demick interviewed six escapees from North Korea about their lives inside. It’s mind-blowing. I read this in a day. My jaw was on the ground. It’s heart-breaking to know the immense amount of suffering going on, and the fact that the people there are so brainwashed that they think they are the lucky ones in the world. When I lived in the Czech Republic, we studied the failures of communism, but this takes it to a whole new level of failure.

How to be a Woman by Cailtlyn Moran

how-to-be-a-womanI have decided that this book should be recommended reading for most everyone. First of all, it’s a hilarious memoir of her life. Second, she makes some damn fine points about feminism and the state of women in the world today. Third, it’s not an intimidating book at all. People are TERRIFIED of the term feminism, but they really shouldn’t be. It’s quite simple, wanting women to have equal standing in the world. I read this book while I was lying in the sun in California, quietly nodding to myself and occasionally letting out a “Mmmmhmmmm” or an “Aymen!”

“What is feminism? Simply the belief that women should be as free as men, however nuts, dim, deluded, badly dressed, fat, receding, lazy, and smug they might be.

Are you a feminist? Hahaha. Of course you are.”