Week 7; February 24th-March 2nd Blog Entry #2 (Done by L).

            “In Your Pocket: What’s Your Sex?”  is a film with seventeen short works screened in it that are each no longer than four minutes long. The inspiration for Marc Wisniewski, the curator of the film was to allow members of the LGBT community to represent themselves through digital and video recording. Self-documentation is a new possible way of expression for the directors in the community and because they are the ones making the recordings, they are able to avoid being misrepresented by filmmakers who tend to enforce and contribute to growing LGBT stereotypes. The directors in this film were told to only film with their smartphones and had no official direction or design. The LGBT community is often represented by people who are not members themselves and because of this, they control the depictions of LGBT people in their films. The hope behind In Your Pocket: What’s Your Sex? was to give personal control to LGBT members to their representation. Overall, the film opened up new ideas and I was able to better understand the views of labeling, sexual liberty and how sex does not define gender. The LGBT community proves that through expression comes a greater understanding of their views.

            The power of labels, liberty of sex and how people should not be defined by their sex or sexual orientation are all recurring themes throughout the film. One of the clips in this film that was sent in by YouTube sensation Kiley May is entitled “You Are Not Your Genitals”. They used their phone to make a video explaining the difference between a person’s sex, sexuality, and gender. There are many misconceptions about these words and the synonymic use of them is what May was trying to advertise against by informing people of their technical meanings. They describe sex as a physical act as well as the biological anatomy between a person’s legs while heavily emphasizing that sex and gender are not to be used interchangeably. Sex has been defined as a simple categorization between male and female bodies. As mentioned in a lecture by Professor Tolmie “…queerness, anything to do with the gender spectrum, racial diversity or even tolerance” (Twilight & 50 Shades of Grey) are not marketed enough in today’s popular culture. Kiley emphasizes that gender is “between the ears” and that is more important than what is “between the legs”. This view rejects the stereotypical views that gender is based on one’s sex. Instead, he emphasizes the importance of “acquiring ourselves as feminine, masculine or even androgynous” (Burack 3). He also emphasizes the importance of an all-inclusive spectrum. For example, one can feel more masculine one day and more feminine another; gender is never static.

              Furthermore, all clips voiced a battle between the stereotypical viewpoints on sex and the highly disputed novel perspective. The first group clips include Tunnel Vision, My Sex is Genderless, Labels, and Pigeon Hole. As depicted through the titles, all clips expressed the narrow mindedness and limitations that come with labeling others. My Sex is Genderless consisted of two persons making out and touching one another. The way it was filmed made it hard to judge the sexes of both people because it was only filmed the waist up. When I couldn’t determine their sex I realized that labeling comes with the obsession for knowing. By being unable to identify their sex, the labeling that comes with gender or sexual orientation is then diminished, leaving less power towards categorizing sex. These set of films emphasize the need for one to just be themselves without labels, and the only way to start is to first understand the power labels have and take its entitlement of categorizing people away. It is a misunderstanding that “…people tend to think sex as primarily a biological function…biology in only one part of the context of desire” (Auletter 42). This means that a human’s biology does not dictate their sexual desires.

            Ageless, Fucking Butterflies, Take it off, and Creature Probably, all focus on the freedom of sexual expression. The LGBT community in these films express the happiness and pure joy that can come from the freedom to love and be who you want to be. While Creature Probably includes people dancing around with one another having a good time expressing open sexuality while answering the question “What is Your Sex?” The answer as to the identification of one’s sex or gender is insignificant because it is a spectrum and the possibilities are infinite. The main message that was obtained is that happiness comes with freedom of expressing and representing any sex, gender and sexual desires even if they break the boundaries that societal norms build. “As gender variations becomes normalized they become arenas, ‘for playful exploration’ of our possibilities” (Auletter 61) and these possibilities are why people must rethink the basic gender binary. The belief of gender binary should be replaced with the idea of an existing spectrum and that gender is never static.

-L

Works Cited

Auletter, Judy Root, and Judith Wittner. Gendered Worlds. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2012. Print.

Burack, Cynthia. “Gender Socialization.” Gender, Race, & Popular Culture. Canada: Pearson, 2014. 3-6. Print.

Tolmie, Jane. “Twilight & 50 Shades of Grey.” Queen’s University. Queen’s University, Kingston, ON. 4 February 2014. Lecture.  

Winiewski, Marcin. “IN YOUR POCKET: WHAT’S YOUR SEX? SHORTS.” Reelout. http://www.reelout.com/event/7pm-whats-your-sex-shorts/ Accessed Feb 25 2014. 

 

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4 Comments

  1. Week 7; February 24-March 2nd Blog – Comment/Response (Done by S).

    The use of smart phones and self-documentation in this series of shorts is brilliant and well recognized in your blog. Misrepresentation can have disastrous results perpetuating and reinforcing stereotypes that strengthens the effects of marginalization that groups within society experience. Who better to tell their story of sex, sexuality and gender identification than those who are the center of the films focus. While it isn’t impossible for advocates to speak on behalf of others I believe it is more powerful to hear stories from the source. In this way I believe that hearing from the LGBT community is more meaningful than hearing what someone ‘thinks’ is their experience no matter how well intended the message is.

    I was really intrigued with your comments about your personal reaction to watching the film My Sex is Genderless as you expressed your personal awareness at attempting to identify the gender of the people on screen in an effort to understand, make sense of or place the moment in context. That so beautifully describes the human experience; the desire to make sense of what we see, what we hear, what we learn, what we know, by weighing it against a collection of information stored in our brains that defines boundaries for us removing ambiguity. More specifically as members of the heterosexual community seek to better understand those in the LGBT community there is a sense of voyeurism and curiosity probably driven by a central question that seeks to answer whether their experiences and feelings are similar to those in the heterosexual community. You contrast this well in your blog by pairing it against the focus of sexual freedom portrayed in Ageless, Fucking Butterflies, Take it off, and Creature Probably. Removing rules and constraints in any aspect of living not just in the area of sexuality liberates the mind, body and spirit to come together in moments of playful exploration where we are given opportunities in a safe environment to explore possibilities and learn more about ourselves.

    – S.

  2. I really liked your analysis of Kiley May in her film “You are Not Your Genitals”, especially how you related it back to the course material and what we learned about the influence popular culture has on what we like and dislike in film. I agree that we do need an “all-inclusive spectrum” for sex and gender, because they are not cut and paste subjects.

    In addition, it never crossed my mind that LGBT movies are not usually done by LGBT people. Their perspective are often represented by straight people. Knowing this gives me new perspective on the films I saw too. I’ve gained a new appreciation for them because it is very rare to see a film from this perspective.

    – M

  3. Your blog does a great at shedding light on your interpretation of the meanings behind the various shorts of In Your Pocket: What’s Your Sex?. What stood out most to me though is how true your point is that with labeling comes the need for knowing. However, I think this goes ways. That is, upon knowing, it is so easy to then place labels on others. This is essentially the beginning of an evil trap. Society is constantly placing labels and categorizing literally everything! And yes, it does in fact allow for organization and clarity, something we are always searching for. Though, when it comes to individuals and their sexuality, I think categorizing and typecasts create unnecessary chaos. I don’t see the benefit in classifying men and women as separate domains if it causes distress on someone. This ties into the idea of freedom that you mention next. Individuals use their free choice to decide how they want to be self-identified on the basis of a new found happiness. Where is the good in destroying one’s happiness to keep genders static and organized?

    -J.

  4. Reading your blog made me wish I had seen this film now too! It sounds like a very different kind of film that really succeeded in sending across its message. It is really different that people understand the difference between sex and gender and that neither defines the other. What many people do not understand is the spectrum of gender. There is not just boy and girl as many people unconsciously just assume. Majority of tests, forms or anything else we have to fill out gives the two check boxes of male and female. This completely excludes a large number of people who do not identify with either of these boxes. It was great that you mentioned some of these key points that Professor Tolmie brought up in lecture too!
    I really liked when you said, “When I couldn’t determine their sex I realized that labeling comes with the obsession for knowing.” I thought this was a really cool way of looking at that idea because it doesn’t really matter. As you said, these films emphasize the need for people to be themselves without the labels that confine them into one box or the other.
    -R-

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