Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everthing! Julie Newmar

This week I went out and bought my own DVD of “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar” the longwinded title of a movie about three sassy drag queens from New York City. Now I’d heard a couple things about this film, and I was expecting the hilarity and sass but what I was more surprised about was the heart that was a major part in the movie. Even more surprisingly is how beautiful the three main stars were as their drag personas, since they’re not extremely attractive men to begin with; the movie stars Wesley Snipes, John Leguizamo, and the late Patrick Swayze as Noxeema Jackson, Chi Chi Rodriguez, and Vida Boheme, respectfully.
Homophobia is obviously a theme in the film. The main plot revolves around the three stars’ road trip from New York City to Las Vegas for the National Drag Queen of the Year contest. Homophobia is first combated when the “girls” attempt to take a pit stop in Vida’s hometown on the way to Vegas. When Vida’s mother steps out of the house and sees her, she instantly slams the door, signifying how she obviously disowned her due to her identification. Furthermore, the girls live in fear in their trip that they will run into a person or group of people who will realize who they truly are and would most likely act poorly out of ignorance and fear. They eventually do run into a police officer who attempts to sexually assault Vida. When he realizes that she is not who he though she was, he ends up tripping backwards and falling out of conciseness. When he wakes up he commences in a search to find the queens in the local areas. He makes the list of “Places for Homo’s” which reads as follows:
-flower shops
-ballet schools
-flight attendants’ lounges
-restaurants for brunch
-antique shops
A more unexpected theme in the movie would be domestic abuse. One of the local townspeople Carol Ann (played by Stockard Channing) lives in an abusive home environment due to her husband Virgil. In a constant state of terror, Virgil often accuses her of “arguing” with him and will also threaten to physically attack her. Incidentally, the altercations also do get physical, but are eventually put to a stop by Vida (which destroys the misconception that Drag Queens cannot stick up for themselves).
Ultimately, the movie sends the message of personal beauty and acceptance for all. Female characters are given glamorous makeovers, an interracial couple gets together, the townspeople eventually learn the truth about the girls and love them anyway, and the abusive relationship ends with Carol Ann taking the power she lost back and living independently. Go see it! Plus, Patrick Swayze and Wesley Snipes in drag is a recipe for success even if the movie didn’t send great messages.

Think about it.

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