THE NAME IS GORGEOUS, GREGORY GORGEOUS
The DailyBeast.com is a news and cultural website and on January 23, 2013, they ran a profile of Gregory Gorgeous. Mr. Gorgeous is a Toronto-based drag celebrity via You Tube videos and a You Tube produced reality show called The Avenue.
The Daily Beast’s reporter, Adam Auriemma, opened his article with this: “The androgynous 20-year-old Canadian, who really is quite pretty, has racked up 47 million YouTube views and 345,000 followers with kitschy makeup and fashion tutorials, product reviews, and stream-of-consciousness rants.”
The You Tube show The Avenue was compared to the MTV show of a few years ago, The Hills (neither of which I’ve ever watched) and follows a small group of fashion industry wannabe’s, one of whom is Gregory. In real-life, Gregory wants to one day have his own skin care and cosmetics line.
The Daily Beast article also makes this point: “On one hand, the show deals with Gorgeous’s androgyny in a refreshingly matter-of-fact way, which is to say hardly at all. Scott Fisher, who recruited Gorgeous for The Avenue and now serves as both his manager and the CEO of Foreground, the show’s production company, says the decision was a conscious one.
“The way we address it is that we don’t address it. This is 2013.”
The article mentions that Gregory has his share of detractors. He’s been flamed on social media — which almost serves as a mark of having “made it” nowadays. And there was the over-dramatized “trans-bashing” that Gregory suffered and was exploited by the show in what Gregory and the production now admit was mishandled. Imagine a reality show exaggerating the drama of a minor personal event. Shocking.
I still haven’t watched any of Gregory Gorgeous’ You Tube videos and may never but he is an attractive androgynous personality and maybe we’ll be hearing more of him in the future.
DO YOU CREAK WHEN YOU SPEAK?
Angela Gardner forwarded an article that appeared in the online magazine Slate.com on January 6, 2013. It was a commentary on a new vocal characteristic called “vocal fry” or “creaking.”
Apparently, linguists have noticed the trend. The Slate article said: “Learn to love it, people. Researchers at Long Island University found that two thirds of college-aged women were likely to make creaky vocal sounds when they spoke. It’s specifically attributed to upwardly mobile, educated, urban-dwelling young American women. The “fry” itself is a “prestigious characteristic of contemporary female speech,” according to findings by sociolinguist Barry Pennock-Speck in a 2005 study.”
But what is it, exactly? I had a hard time imagining what they were talking about. Fortunately, Slate also hosts a radio broadcast that includes two linguists who discuss language trends like the “creak.” One of the hosts’ 11 year old daughter demonstrated the voice of a woman “creaking.” It’s that low growl that women sometimes use to emphasize and elongate certain words. The demo used the word “self-centered” to show how it works as the girl stretched the “-tered” root and lowered her voice a bit, growling the syllable. One researcher surmised that perhaps women are lowering their voices for emphasis as a way to imitate men, especially in the workplace where power is still wielded mostly by males.
It seems that young women are always on the receiving end of criticism for annoying vocal patterns. Remember the “Valley Girl” phenomenon, or raising the voice at the end of an answer as though it was really a question, or using baby voices when asking a favor? The Slate article had this reaction from a linguist: “If women do something like uptalk or vocal fry, it’s immediately interpreted as insecure, emotional or even stupid,” Carmen Fought, a professor of linguistics at Pitzer College in Claremont, California told the New York Times. “The truth is this: Young women take linguistic features and use them as power tools for building relationships.”
So although professional linguists are decrying this new vocal trend among women, perhaps we might want to begin adopting it as a way to sound more genuinely feminine. Growwwwl.
50 SHADES OF LINGERIE
The New York Times Thursday Styles section on Valentine’s Day February 14, 2013 had an article about some new lingerie offerings. The items were no doubt inspired by the popular “50 Shades…” novels that include bondage games and romance.
The items are being sold in fashionable boutiques in New York City and are part of mainstream lingerie offerings by well-known companies. Some of the items mentioned in the article include silk restraints and bondage cuffs, spanking paddles, blindfolds, and a leather harness with a collar ring for leash attachment.
This being New York, the items are not cheap. A thong with attached lengths of bondage ribbons sells for $79. A Fleur du Mal blindfold is $75. The Lelo company’s “pleasure sets” start at $119. The Times notes that the priciness and the boutique marketing of the items is intentional. Donna Faro, Lelo’s sales and marketing director is quoted: “We purposely came to market with a high quality look for our accessories because we wanted to ally with high end lingerie. One of the main goals was to make consumers feel comfortable purchasing items that can be intimidating.”
If you think purchasing the bondage items is intimidating . . . wait till your boyfriend starts tying you to the basement rafters and getting busy with your $90 leather paddle.
Recently, we heard about a line of lingerie for the transgendered woman. Now we have the mainstreaming of bondage accessories in upscale boutiques. It’s all good, in my opinion. The next development we might hear about is Delmonte introducing an industrial size can of cream corn for “sploshing” fetishists.
PICTURES PROVIDE PROOF POSITIVE
I recently visited the Transgender Forum’s photo galleries page for the first time in a while. I was surprised to see so many offerings by the TGF members.
I was surprised at the variety of the photos and the members posting them. They came from different age groups, body types, races, degrees of talent, some modest, some sexy.
I won’t call anyone out by name so as not to show preference for some over others. As with Gregory Gorgeous, or Chris Crocker, or some other Internet crossdressing “stars” it’s always amazing to see a male who can transform themselves with a high degree of talent and artistry to appear feminine.
It isn’t just a young man’s game. There are many crossdressers “of a certain age” who I count in that group. You Tube has some videos by high school age boys who are amazing and will make you envious of both their youth and beauty. Likewise, it isn’t only a slender man’s game. Some of the best transformations are by plus-size crossdressers. In fact, the more mature or the more soft the features, the easier in some respects to create a convincing and attractive female image.
I’m sure most TGF readers use the internet to search out crossdressers’ photos for all manner of reasons that we don’t want to list in this family publication. Self-taken photos have been a part of the crossdressing culture forever. To those who have posted some here on TGF or elsewhere, thanks for proving how diverse our community is. As broad (pun intended) as America itself.