'Feminization' of camp

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After reading Babbit's quotes expanded upon, posted by jacksavvy_ccs (http://blog.lib.umn.edu/giust002/queercinema/2012/03/feminization-of-camp.html), I think Babbit took a kind of backwards way of explaining her intentions behind the use of camp in But I'm a Cheerleader.

Babbit claimed that she wanted to 'feminize' gay male-dominated camp by adding real emotion and romance to the film. I find it interesting that she is trying to do something revolutionary in the world of cinema, let alone queer cinema, with such a conservative attitude. Emotion and romance is not exclusive to a single gender. On a side note, the balance of 'real' moments and campy moments caused the movie to be very enjoyable and relatable, more so than John Water's Female Trouble (not being too excessive in the use of excess), so kudos to Babbit for that.

However, my personal take on the "feminization of camp" quote was the mockery of traditional gender roles. Though this is done in other camp films, like Female Trouble, I felt the feminization came into play in the mockery and excess of domesticity, a traditionally feminine characteristic. Ignoring Babbit's real intention behind reclaiming camp for queer women, I think that the irony that lies in making an over-the-top performance of simplicity and domesticity was fantastically clever.

2 Comments

"I find it interesting that she is trying to do something revolutionary in the world of cinema, let alone queer cinema, with such a conservative attitude. Emotion and romance is not exclusive to a single gender."

I agree completely. Considering just the short quotation that Jessica gave us, I did not see Babbit as reinforcing the gender binary or stereotypes. With this extended quotation, however, she seems to be doing just that. I think it's harmful to have the stereotype of your own gender as being better at emotion and romance, or the "other" as worse. Men can and do imbue great deals of emotion in their films, in very poignant and vulnerable ways. I think the idea that male filmmakers are too masculine to be in touch with their emotions is really painful. Like, patriarchy hurts everyone. It limits men who feel they cannot be expressive. And then women come to believe that.

I really appreciated your point about the mockery of gender roles. I think that was a clever way to present Babbit's feminization of the piece while providing the comic relief to which most audiences are drawn.

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This page contains a single entry by thom3804 published on April 1, 2012 11:29 PM.

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