It's somewhat of a running joke in feminist circles that, while awesome, a PhD in Gender Studies doesn't exactly bring in the big bucks. Well, Jenny Hagel is looking to change that (or at least the character she plays in her new web series, Feminist Rapper is). In the first episode, "A Lady Made That," a frustrated Gender Studies professor learns how to rap to try and get her students excited about the historical contributions women have made to society. A catchy rap that rhymes a'ight with Margaret Knight? A clueless student who confuses Judge Sandra Day O'Connor with Judge Dredd? A freestyle rap over the credits about Sojourner Truth and Susan B. Anthony? (Seriously don't skip the credits because that freestyle is awesome.) I am already anxiously awaiting the next episode.
In honor of the music video that is sweeping the virtual nation today, (it's Lady Gaga and Beyoncé's "Telephone," but I bet I didn't have to tell you that) a few of us here in the office got on our trusty GChat accounts and commented along with the video. Read what we had to say about transmisogyny, pastiche, and sandwiches – and leave your own comments – after the jump!
Whenever someone starts talking about "crip-drag" - the slang term that basically means "currently non-disabled actor playing a disabled character" - the conversation tends to eventually (usually sooner, rather than later) turn to this:
But but but! We shouldn't accept a less-than-stellar actor just because they're disabled. That's, like, Affirmative Action GONE MAD!!!!!! No, you just have to accept that they always, totally, without fail, and without any influence by ablism or assumptions about what stories they can tell about disabilities, the casting directors chose the best person for the job. And it's just a wild coincidence that the best person for the job is almost always someone who doesn't have a disability.
For one thing, you can tell just by looking at her that she's an odd duck. She is prone, for instance, to wearing poof-y shouldered '80s jackets and things with polka dots. She claims to have intentionally gained weight because, as she put it in a recent Guardian article, "I don't want to be 'pretty'. I don't aspire to be like the Pussycat Dolls…I want to be an artist who people can believe in."
But it's Blay's songs that really do it. The twentysomething British songwriter goes by the name thecocknbullkid, and she has created her own musical world, one filled with equal parts quirky soul-pop (Macy Gray-ish), zingy synth-pop (Yaz-ish), and lo-fi computer zings (Midnight-Star-ish).