Lea Delaria, OITNB season 3, queer masculinity

A rambly post about a couple things.


I don’t know if I mentioned a few weeks ago that at a social-justice-y burlesque show I saw with GF, Lea Delaria performed a powerful rendition of this song, and it was effing amazing. Also she’s basically my height!!! I got really excited about that. But more importantly she’s an incredibly talented singer! Ayways, she recently appeared on Conan to sing a snippet of Bowie:

Big Boo + Bowie… amazing. I just wanted to share.


Speaking of OITNB, I’m not a huge fan of this season. I’m only halfway, but I’m having a hard time finishing; I really wish there was a little more. I hate what happened to Daya and to Nichols, but I feel like those were good plots; they moved forward, they had purpose. Red’s plot line was great as well. Other plot lines, I really don’t get:

  • I know that Piper wasn’t the main character, but I wish she’d shown some development. She’s bratty and snooty as ever.
  • Chang’s plot gives me a lot of feels, but I don’t totally understand it. She seems to have been totally abandoned in prison; does she not have any money in commissary? She doesn’t even have toothpaste. But where did she get the phone? I also wish her character was more empowered; she says snarky comments in response to racist/judgmental comments, to show that she is a person (calling people “lesbian”… maybe in response to being called Chang; letting people know she can hear them: “eyes squinty but ears work fine”). But she seems to have no relationships within the prison or without. And also the final flashback scene when she was in the warehouse and the man who refused to marry her because she was ugly called her undesirable one last time; instead of devaluing his opinion, she continues to take the comment to heart, crying as she orders the men to… well. I guess that’s more realistic than her rising above beauty standards.
  • Poussey was drinking because she didn’t have a girlfriend? really?!
  • Will I ever get through an Alex/Piper scene without gagging?
  • Why does Alex like Piper?
  • Why does Stella like Piper?
  • Why was the reveal of Ruby Roses’s character so awkward? Like she’s suddenly there smirking across the warehouse? Why?

This season is interesting, but a little bit weird.


Also, on the topic of queer masculinity, Buzzfeed had this interesting discussion on the topic. There are things that I do very girly and things that I do very boyish, but if I measure my success at being either one, I fail. The people in this roundtable have an interesting take on gender, moving the discussion beyond “masculine vs feminine”, and why people are afraid of deconstructing gender. There are many good excerpts, such as this:

Thomas: I’ve written about gender and masculinity specifically for a lot of different audiences for many years, and I’ve never sugarcoated my truth nor have I presumed that readers won’t understand it. I’ve approached people with the expectation that they can do better than “born in the wrong body” and I’ve challenged everyone I’ve interacted with to think of their own gender, and its intentional construction, as a spiritual and potentially revolutionary act. I don’t know why I’m trans. Gender is not a performance for me, in the simplistic way I viewed identity as a young person. It’s also not the construction projected on me. It’s something messy and beyond. There’s a freedom in that, and also a kind of terror for most people. Because if we can’t signify with our bodies in legible ways that are easily and entirely translated, in what other ways is our universe not what it seems?

Van: I think the more we understand gender and its connections to other identities, the more we can generate love and empathy in the world. We would place more value on the lives in the margins and do what we can to ensure their survival. I say, let’s continue to expand these conversations, let’s discuss ways to create healthy masculinity that upholds accountability and uplifts femme-of-center folks and trans women of color, but also illuminates and recenters self-love for masculine-of-center folks.

Gabby: The closer any of us get to the ideal standard of beauty for men or women, the more praise we receive from the public at large. If you’re a dyke, be a dyke, but don’t be a “manly one.” If you’re a trans woman, they want you to look as much like what’s considered a “real woman” as possible. Universe save you if you fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum and don’t rush to make a choice they consider appropriate — they don’t want us. And as a brown person of color without considerable means, reaching those standards in either direction is challenging.

Ari: That’s the important piece here. The range is wide and far. There are many of us who do not pass — and frankly don’t want to! — and those are the narratives we don’t see. I present masculine on a Tuesday and sometimes might present feminine on a Thursday. This freaks both queer and larger communities out. The world loves to be “progressive” and stand by you, as long as they understand where you fit.

Read the whole transcript on Buzzfeed.

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2 thoughts on “Lea Delaria, OITNB season 3, queer masculinity

  1. I wasn’t a big fan of OITNB this season either. Sophia feels for days, though. Don’t know if you’ve gotten to her little arc, but bring tissues. I hated Stella’s introduction, too. I think they were supposed to have brought her up from max, maybe? IDK. Piper, IMO, does get development this season. I hate Piper as a person, but as a character she’s fantastic.

    This season was a lot lighter than previous seasons, since there’s no clear-cut villain. I think that’s both good and bad. Good in the respect that we see more of the characters as themselves, but bad in that it all seemed so… blah. It was like each episode was a little bullet list. “Okay, here’s this person’s story. Here’s that person’s story.” I love the backstories, but I wish they had added more to the over all current plot.

    Also, Red had nothing to do with the food.

    Like

    • Thus far Sophia hasn’t even really left the hair salon, sadly… I guess Piper has potential, last episode she just got really snarky with her parents. Who makes sex noises in front of their mom?! I agree with you that backstories in the first two seasons added a lot to the characters; now they’re the most boring parts of the show. At least we saw a little more of Nichols’ backstory, but even Big Boo’s was underwhelming and trope-y… on the other hand seeing more queer storylines is part of the reason the show is so important.

      Like

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