April 22, 2004

Liquor in the front...

So I’m taking a Queer Theory course which my lovely boyfriend has fondly nicknamed GAY 101. At any rate, we had an interesting discussion in class on Tuesday. We were discussing Judith Butler’s book Gender Trouble and her theories on Gender performance and how one uses hyperbolic parody to separate sex from gender, etc., etc. and how this device can be used in relation to race politics as well as sex politics. Well this brought about a discussion on the drag performer Shirley Q. Liquor. Shirley is an older black woman on welfare who has 19 children and is portrayed by Chuck Knipp, a white man who lives in Long Beach, Miss. His shows have been shadowed and sometimes shutdown due to protesting in cities like Boston and New York. The performance has been equated to a modern day minstrel show. The question raised was whether or not a person of the majority (white/male) can in fact use Butler’s theoretical hyperbolic parody effectively without being perceived as racist by the African-American community or misogynistic by feminists? Any thoughts? There is also an informative article on Shirley’s show by the Washington Blade.

Posted by Clint at April 22, 2004 11:15 AM