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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Venus Boyz (review)

Rhymes with “penis.” Who knew there was such a thing as drag kings? I thought I was a sophisticated New Yorker, yet I was completely unaware of this admittedly fairly tiny sub-subculture of female androgyny. We think we live in a world of relative gender equality — women aren’t stoned to death in the streets for wearing pants — but what documentarian Gabrielle Baur shows us in this intimate exploration of these drag performers is that our culture has only shifted toward the male without we women really realizing it. These women — some gay, some straight, some transgendered — go way beyond Annie Hall to appropriate not only the dress but the attitude and social space afforded men that undisguised women either cannot pull off or are excoriated for attempting. For some, the drag is a sexual turn-on, for others it’s about the power and credibility that comes with passing for a man in public, for yet others it’s an artistic statement about gender politics. Often funny and frequently profoundly thought-provoking, this is an extraordinary film in its bold frankness.

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MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
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