Dina’s Diner 7/2/18

| Jul 2, 2018
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USING HER BEAUTY FOR GOOD

Hunter Schafer

The New York Times Styles section had a brief feature on trans model Hunter Schafer in the May 30, 2018 edition. Hunter (she prefers the gender neutral pronoun Mx) is the young trans person who challenged the “bathroom bill” in 2016 in North Carolina that ironically helped galvanize the trans rights movement.

Since then, Hunter has become a runway model and designer. She told The Times, “Walking runway has been something I didn’t even think would be a possibility in my lifetime with my circumstances and my origins.” The Times wrote further: “Mx. Schafer was assigned male at birth, but she always found herself searching for and expressing femininity through art and fashion. She started transitioning during high school. “What I’m trying to do in all senses is deconstruct our idea of gender, and use the privileges that come with looking like a model to bring attention to that,” she said.”

It’s that last part of her thought that caught my attention. Not everyone — whether trans or not — can become a model and get the attention of the sympathetic media. I liked the idea that Hunter acknowledged that in her statement. Having made her small spot in the fashion world it would have been easier to embrace her success for herself alone. “I don’t know if I would call myself an activist, as much as someone who’s just vocal about being trans, which sometimes can feel like activism, because just existing as a trans person can often be hard enough, particularly for people of color or people who don’t pass,” she said to The Times.

THE POINTE IS THIS

Chase Johnsey

The New York Times had an article about ballet dancer Chase Johnsey in the June 8, 2018 edition. The article was headlined as “He Wants to Be a Ballerina. He Has Taken the First Steps.” The Times opened their article this way: “For the first time in modern ballet history, a male dancer is performing as part of the female ensemble at an international ballet company, signaling an important moment in an art form that often celebrates a particular ideal of femininity.” TGForum’s “The Week in Trans” column noted The Times article in our June 11 edition.

Mr. Johnsey has been a working ballet dancer with the all-male comic troupe, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. The Trock group is famous for male dancers doing female parts in full ballerina cosmetics, tutus and pointe shoes. So performing as a professional ballerina is somewhat familiar ground for Chase.

As he says in The Times article, however, being in a comic troupe and being part of the English National Ballet is very different, “With the Trocks, if you messed up, you could make a joke about it. [I had] completely the wrong idea about what makes a ballerina beautiful and graceful. It is actually strength, hidden within softness and grace, and I have had to figure out in my genetically male composition, how to find that.” He is performing with the female corps at the ENB so his parts thus far have been in the ensemble group dances rather than lead or en pointe performances.

An interesting part of the article came when Chase Johnsey discussed the physical differences between himself and a female dancer. Ballet — as The Times article points out — has demanding physical standards for female dancers. “His path even to these appearances has been arduous. Since beginning work at English National Ballet, he has lost 20 pounds, with the help of a nutritionist, and worked with both a physical trainer and a company ballet mistress to retrain and reshape his body. “I am a small, petite guy, but I am a man,” Mr. Johnsey, who is 5 feet 5, said. “My shoulders are wider, my calves are bigger, the textures of my muscles are different.” He added, “I had to cannibalize my body, make it run on energy from muscles and figure out how to lose muscle mass without losing strength.”

Crossdressed Ballerina

I don’t know anything about ballet. I wrote an item about the Trockadero troupe a few years ago and noted how some of the guys made more convincing females than some of their mates. Perhaps Chase Johnsey was one of those guys but I couldn’t say for sure. The most interesting ballet performance I can easily remember was the company of ballerinas that performed in the video for Kanye West’s Runaway song several years ago. But that’s just me. Some fellas have their own ballerina dreams. Like the demure sweetheart shown here. Too-too, tutu, lovely.

THE FRESH PRINTS OF DASHIKI

One of the Pinterest items that recently hit my eye was a photo of a “dashiki dress.” Dashikis, as you might know, are African garments that are also seen in domestic settings occasionally. They were popular in the U.S. in the late 1960s and early ‘70s as symbols of black empowerment and pride.

This is from a Wikipedia entry: “The Dashiki is a colorful garment for both men and women widely worn in Africa that covers the top half of the body. A common form is a loose-fitting pullover garment, with an ornate V-shaped collar, and tailored and embroidered neck and sleeve lines.” The dashiki dresses I saw online were not usually “loose-fitting.” In fact, some of them were downright sexy.

Dashiki Dress

These modern takes on dashikis retain the distinctive prints and material sheen of traditional dashikis but are fitted to hug every curve for the feminine frame. And this is another thing I liked about the dashiki dresses I saw online. The African models (or of African heritage) shown wearing the dresses usually had more booty than the typical fashion model. Hooray for dashiki models on that score alone.

The dresses themselves are arresting because of the bright colors and the intricate prints of the fabric. My daily and Sunday New York Times are filled with scores of fashions and none of them have as much pizzazz as even the simplest dashiki frock. Compared to the bright yellows, reds, and blues of the dashiki fashions with their exotic print work, haute couture looks kind of dull and lifeless. Although I’m partial to the form-fitting dashiki dresses I saw, even the looser fitting, more casual versions have a unique look that I find appealing.

I don’t know if the dashiki dress’s appeal would translate to crossdressers (give it a try?) but I would love to see it on someone who might be able to do it justice.

MRS. INCREDIBLE HAS GOT IT GOIN’ ON

Mrs. Incredible

I guess I’m not the only guy who had the hots for Mrs. Incredible aka Helen Parr aka Elasticgirl when the original The Incredibles movie came out fourteen years ago. (Fourteen years? Really? Yeah.) This time around with The Incredibles 2 out now, the milf-y hotness of Elasticgirl is being acknowledged openly.

A review of the new movie in The New Yorker magazine was itself criticized for its commentary on Elasticgirl that some found sexist. Here is a sample describing the empowered bread-winning Mom: “the sight of Helen, accelerating off to work, away from her justly abandoned man, in her black mask, her long tall boots, and her empowering outfit, as tight as a second skin.” The reviewer (Anthony Lane) imagines a sotto voce comment from parents watching the film with their young kids: “Is it just me, or does Mrs. Incredible kind of look like Anastasia in Fifty Shades of Grey? You know, the girl in the Red Room, with the whips and all?” Mr. Lane also implies there is a sexy lesbian subtext to a scene with a “husky-voiced Evelyn” character.

A more lighthearted article about the appeal of Mrs. Incredible appeared in USA Today on June 21, 2018. The headline read: “Incredibles 2 Star Elasticgirl is ‘thicc.’” Thicc is slang for “thick” as in having a ba-donk-a-donk. A female producer for both Incredibles films explained to USA Today that the famous scene from the first movie where Elasticgirl frets about how her butt looks in the costume “makes Helen a better, more interesting character if she is a flawed character and I think her self-consciousness is really relatable.” USA Today reports that technological advances since the last film allows “secondary motion in bodies that makes her feel softer.” Translation: Elasticgirl’s butt and thighs appear fleshier and bouncier in the second film.”

They had me from the first movie with Elasticgirl’s Spandex® and thigh high boots. If she appears fleshier and bouncier now. . .well, that’s Incredible!

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Category: Transgender Fun & Entertainment, Transgender Opinion

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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