When: Sunday Jul 29, 2007 at 6:00 PM
Where: Milwaukee Gay Arts Center
703 S 2nd St.
Milwaukee, WI 53204
The cost for this event is $5, and there will be beverages available for purchase as well. Facilitated by Jenny Curtis, the conversation is sure to be engaging and thought provoking – come share your experiences!
The Gendercator is a short satirical take on female body modification and gender. The story uses the “Rip Van Winkle” model to extrapolate from the past into a possible future.
In 1973 a group of hippie women are celebrating Billie Jean King’s victory over Bobby Riggs. They are partying in the rural woods outside of Bloomington, Indiana. Our heroine Sally is a simple minded, sporty type who overindulges at the party and passes out under a tree. Sally wakes up 75 years later in 2048 to discover (amongst other social changes) that feminism has failed utterly and completely. Sex roles and gender expression are rigidly binary and enforced by law and social custom. When Sally rejects the feminine hairdo and short skirt she is given, the doctor at the emergency room calls in the “Gendercator”, a government official who informs Sally that butch women and sissy boys are no longer tolerated – gender variants are allowed to chose their gender, but they must chose one and follow its rigid constraints.
Sally is baffled by this brave new world. All she wants is to “do her own thing” – but her own thing is no more. Sally is a simple-minded stoner, indoctrinated into 70s feminism. She is no poster girl or freedom fighter, just a gentle tomboy dropped into the future with a tendency to respond in slogans such as “sisterhood is powerful”.
Nurse Nancy locates some of Sally’s former friends – they are 100 now, but because of advances in the medical profession (cloning spare parts), they are still healthy and thriving. The friends tell Sally they heard she moved to California and that’s why they never looked for her. One of her friends appears to be a man and tells Sally, “They made me do it. They’ll make you too.” They explain to Sally that in the early 2000s the evangelical Christians took over the government and legislated their strict family values, legally sanctioning only “one man, one woman” couples. Advances in sex reassignment surgery have made it possible to honor an individual’s choice of gender AND government policy. Sally is comfortable in the middle of the genders, an unacceptable choice in 2048.
Things are getting very strange for women these days. More and more often we see young heterosexual women carving their bodies into porno Barbie dolls and lesbian women altering themselves into transmen. Our distorted cultural norms are making women feel compelled to use medical advances to change themselves, instead of working to change the world. This is one story, showing one possible scary future. I am hopeful that this story will foster discussion about female body modification and medical ethics.
I hope women reading who live in or near Milwaukee will be able to spread the word about the showing of the Gendercator, which was recently canceled by Frameline in San Francisco. The boycotting of lesbian playwrights, filmmakers, writers, artists hurts women! And lesbians in particular. Consider that although the Michigan Women’s Music Festival is showing the Gendercator this year on womyn’s land, Catherine Couch could not, herself, afford a ticket to Fest! Festies had to add her to the list of womyn who wanted to get to the Land but couldn’t without help (and she did get a ticket).
Thanks to Sister Medusa of the Fest boards for this heads up.