Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sunita Prasad

MFA Photography

Real Girl

A story about two personas: Sunny is a lavender-coifed hyper-feminine girl-next-door on a quest for bigger boobs. Benny is a city guy with style, a sort of shy charm, and hormones bubbling to the surface. Benny is willing to offer Sunny some support for her treasure chest in exchange for a little titillation. Sunny is discovering all the ways to fake it and still get paid. And of course, Sunny and Benny are also the same person. Their roles get switched and swapped in a mash-up of gender identity, desire, and exchange rates of the body.

In Real Girl, as I inhabit both characters, and the transformation in between, I hone in on an important characteristic of the exchange of sexual commodities: that the gendered being you pay for is not the same as the diverse gender identities we witness in daily experience outside of this exchange. In other words, the body as commodity is a major site for the construction of discrete, binary gender, clearly delineated into what counts (or is marketable) as feminine and what counts (or is deserving) as masculine. The resulting video performances draw on the tradition of drag performance to set in motion a cycle of production and reproduction of hyper-gendered identity, sliding back and forth from one extreme to another.

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