Confession time: I like watching people dance. Well, not just any people, but professionals. And not just any dancing, but eclectic, hypnotic, eccentric and/or athletic dancing. Yes, I stayed home on New Year’s Eve and watched Gene Kelly in An American in Paris.
In that light, I give you the video for Le Tigre’s single, “Deceptacon.” It’s doubly attractive for its allusion to one of my favourite cartoon franchises, The Transformers. By the way, the dance is supposedly called “aerobicon.”
Compare and contrast with another favourite dance video, Skinny Puppy’s “Pro-Test.”
While reading about Le Tigre, I stumbled upon the fact that they elicited some criticism for having played at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. Apparently, there are over 90 women-only music festivals in the USA (!!) and this one is the sole festival that only permits participation and entrance to “women-born-women”; in other words, it actively discriminates against women who were born as men. Similarly, there is a Canadian case (discussed in this thread on rabble.ca) of a male-to-female post-operative transsexual being denied the job of rape counsellor because she was not born female.
The rationale for both the music festival and the denial of employment is that there is a unique experience in being born a female and raised a female, one which MTF transgendered individuals cannot simulate. This is possibly true, but why hasn’t anyone asked whether female-to-male transsexuals qualify? After all, those individuals, while presently male, certainly have the experience of having been born and raised female.
It’s all rather a shallow display of pointless exclusionary politics, in my opinion. But what do I know?
I will say this, however. Imagine going back in time to, say, the 1920s or 30s and snatching a typical North American citizen from that era and bringing him or her back to the present. Imagine showing this person the fashion of the day (“all the cool kids wear their pants around their ankles”), the government of the day (“oh yes, the American government is free to read citizens’ mail, torture suspects and listen in on citizens’ phone conversations”) and the sexual politics of the day (“men can marry men, women can marry women, everybody accepts all the various possible permutations of coupling…. but the women-only music festivals don’t allow women who used to be men). I think our time visitor would die of an aneurysm right there in front of us.