Dina’s Diner — April 8, 2019

| Apr 8, 2019
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K-POP IS KOREAN FOR CUTE

The members of Monsta X.

The HuffingtonPost.com website had an article headlined “K-Pop Bands Show Masculinity is a Fluid Concept.” It appeared on the site March 22, 2019. K-Pop is shorthand for South Korean pop music singing groups.

The article covered American-born music producer and DJ Steve Aoki’s work with K-Pop band Monsta X. Aoki is well-known in the music biz and has worked with a lot of different artists. His work with Monsta X was his fourth K-pop collaboration according to HuffPost. The article said, “Known for exuberant, dance-y, upbeat tracks paired with oftentimes perfectly synchronized dance moves, and, in the case of male K-pop groups, frequent use of makeup and jewelry, the K-pop genre has the unique ability to redefine our notions of masculinity, Aoki believes. “K-pop challenges the stereotypical Western idea of masculinity without being political about it.”

The article mentioned that the androgynous aspect of K-Pop bands carries baggage both positive and negative. “The genre’s ability to traverse cultures and hemispheres while continuing to gain momentum has been a pleasant surprise, considering how Asians, particularly Asian men, have been traditionally branded as sexless, undesirable, and effeminate in Western entertainment spaces. Perhaps the androgynous look found in K-pop male bands could chip away at traditional ideas. As the producer succinctly sums it up, “masculinity can mean many different things,” and K-pop proves “masculinity is fluid. It’s something that I absolutely support.”

UP10TION’s WooShin.

Researching the K-Pop phenomenon, I came across an interesting article on the CNN.com website from February 20, 2019. According to CNN, the South Korean government regulates certain aspects of entertainment and wrote a guideline focused on K-Pop groups. “The guidelines, issued to Korean broadcasters last week by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, warned that the interchangeable appearance of K-Pop groups could lead viewers to develop unhealthy standards of beauty. The beauty standard of music shows is a serious problem. Most of them are idol band members but they don’t represent various appearances of society. Most members of idol bands have similar appearance, such as skinny body figure, light skin color, similar hairstyle, body conscious clothes and similar make-up.” Talk about government regulation!

I’ve always been fascinated by the appeal of androgyny in music acts from the Spandex® and makeup of the ‘80s hair bands to the pretty boy looks of American and Asian boy bands. What’s the appeal of a male utilizing traditionally “feminine” style (tights, makeup, teased hair, choreographed dance moves) in attracting females — not to mention other guys? There’s gotta be some deep psychological stuff going on there and I’ve never seen it adequately explained. Quite a few of the K-Pop performers have been photographed or appeared completely crossdressed. It’s almost a part of the genre.

I may not understand all the factors at work here. But I like it.

NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE

The Huffington Post had a headline that caught my eye on March 18, 2019: “Why Miss Toto Says Bodybuilding is Drag for Straight People.” The lead paragraph starts off, “At night, Miss Toto is a fierce, femme, muscular drag queen that performs in shows across Miami. During the day he’s known as Rock Evans, a masculine personal trainer and bodybuilder who competes in National Physique Committee competitions. Both have their own followings online, so rather than choose one or the other, he decided to use his influence to challenge stereotypes in both worlds.”

If the old saying that “opposites attract” is true, then Rock Evans/Miss Toto must really love himself, or herself, whichever the case may be. The article continues, “At first, these two roles might seem starkly different. But what he soon realized was that bodybuilding and drag have a huge overlap. “Bodybuilding is literally drag for straight people ’cause it’s all about the show,” he said.”

Rock told the reporter he came from a family that was supportive when he came out as gay. After moving to Miami and frequenting the gay nightlife there, he tried drag and created the Miss Toto character. The bodybuilding came later and he found he enjoyed hitting the gym even after late nights in the bars.

Miss Toto points out that there are all kinds of queens, “bearded queens and hairy queens” to go along with the plus-size queens and the newly minted grade school-age queens. Miss Toto sees herself as a “femme, strong being” and identifies as gender nonconforming because she still wants her masculine muscular development.

A muscular drag queen may not be everyone’s cup of tea but as Toto said, whether drag queening or bodybuilding, “it’s all about the show.”

CALL A NURSE!

Oh, nurse. . .

I was reading a book that had a scene set in a hospital in the days when nurses still dressed like, well, nurses. Before the comfortable pastel scrub suits that took over in the 1990s (?), nurses still mostly wore the white uniform — preferably skirted rather than pant suited. The antiseptic look was accessorized with white opaque pantyhose (hot), the little nurse’s cap (a little kinky in the right fantasy) and comfortable rubber-soled shoes (oh, well, two out of three ain’t bad).

My mental trip down memory’s lane and nostalgia’s hospital corridors reminded me that nurses are one of the original icons of femininity. It’s understandable that nurses would figure into male fantasies. A crisply uniformed woman taking care of all the patient’s needs. A maternal figure but younger, ideally, than our real mothers. All that touching and hovering over us in a level of intimacy we would never experience with strangers. Too, there is always a dominant-submissive subtext with the nurse in the position of authority while the helpless male patient must obey.

No wonder, then, that popular culture has trotted out dozens of “sexy nurse” tropes through the years. I was always excited by the severe appearance and demeanor and complicated hairdo of Nurse Ratched in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” There is the scene in ”Spaceballs” where the President’s nurse comes in wearing a short, crisp uniform and towers over the nebbishy men on the spaceship’s bridge. I just saw a scene from an old British film “Carry On Nurse” where the nurses were being examined themselves wearing only their bras, panties, suspender belts and stockings. It’s enough to give you heart palpitations.

If you have a feminine activity that involves uniforms and white stockings, you will attract crossdressers, too. Here is a make-believe nurse ready to take your temperature. Don’t overheat.

SUPER WOMEN

Brie Larson as Captain Marvel.

I saw a report that said that the movie Captain Marvel with actress Brie Larson in the title role is now one of the largest grossing superhero movies of all time. I saw an article that said it had reached the $1 billion mark in global revenue and it is now the biggest female-lead movie of all time. All this success happened despite so many online trolls who trashed the movie and Ms. Larson even before it opened.

I don’t follow superhero movies so I have nothing to add about the worthiness of Captain Marvel’s success. The box office figures likewise go over my head because the numbers seem so big for something as fluffy as a movie (I mean, really, a billion dollar grossing movie?) But the fact that it stars a woman in the lead role and making big bucks is worth noting, I guess.

Nicole Maines as Dreamer.

As I read about Ms. Larson’s success, I wondered how Nicole Maines — the trans actress who plays a superhero on television’s “Supergirl” series — is making out. The answer appears to be quite well thank you very much. Her character came into the story-line during the current season. I read some reviews and watched a couple of clips on YouTube to see for myself. Nicole plays a young reporter, Nia Nal, who works with Supergirl’s human alter ego. She discovers she has the power to dream of future events. She christens her superheroine “Dreamer” and made a dramatic entrance in one episode to rescue Supergirl and kick some ass. It was pretty well done, too. The Nia Nal character is trans in the show, too and that will be a part of her story-line as episodes develop.

CYBER BREASTS?

The original Alita. Perhaps the breasts hold extra circuitry?

One of the first things I saw as material for the Diner this month was an article in The New York Times headlined “Do Female Cyborgs Dream of Bigger Breasts?” It appeared online February 12, 2019. So that caught my attention. The article was actually a review of another female superhero movie, “Alita: Battle Angel.” The headline was poking a little fun at the reason why a “female” non-human cyborg would want or need breasts at all. Interesting point. Of course, we all know why a female cyborg needs breasts — and it has nothing to do with the female cyborg itself or the female audience for that matter.

If you were designing and programming a female cyborg or, let’s just say, crossdressing to create a female alter ego, we know the answer to the headline’s question. Yes, we need breasts, and yeah, they ought to be as big as possible.

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Category: Transgender Community News, Transgender Fun & Entertainment

dina

About the Author ()

I started crossdressing and going out publicly in 1988. I joined the Renaissance group in the Philadelphia area that year and later became chapter leader for two years in the '90s. I always enjoyed writing and wrote for the Renaissance newsletter and magazine throughout my membership years. I've been writing for TGForum for several years now. I also contributed items to LadyLike magazine and other TG publications before the advent of the internet. My hobby-within-a-hobby is singing live as my alter-ego Dina Sinatra and I have had the opportunity to do that with several accommodating performers and in a number of venues over the years since the mid-1990s. In the Diner column items here, I try to relate crossdressing or transgender themes (and my own pet peeves and fetishes) to the larger world -- and vice versa.

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