Saturday, January 19, 2013

Is he or isn't she?


It's the murky middle ground between masculinity and femininity -- not completely one or the other, and with strong flavors of both. I am no psychologist, but I do believe that most of us, whether our birth certificate says female or male, have a lot more of the "other" mixed into our personal gender cocktail than we care to admit. Personally, I believe the fullness of my personality is a mashup of a vast multiplicity of selves: hims, hers, boys, girls, chicks, dudes. Practicing self portrait has helped me capture images of the separate, distinctly male and female personas that are so intricately mingled inside my self. They emerge on their own terms and timetables, and I never know for sure when one of them might show up. Some are repeat customers. Some come out only once and I never see them again. Looking back over my hundreds of self portraits is a lot like looking into a family album in a way.

I got mistaken for a boy a lot when I was a growing up. I pretended that it bothered me, but honestly, I secretly liked it and wished people would quit making such a big deal about it. Self portraits like this one help me imagine how I might look had I been born male, or had a twin brother. It is remarkable how simple it is to nudge the dial from "girl" to "boy." False eyelashes are all it takes. Put them on the eyelids and wham! It's a girl. Stick one under the lower lip and you get this guy.

Self portrait 1-19-13