Why the Video of Jon Huntsman's Daughters with Fake Mustaches is So Funny
To see three pretty, political women being smart in mustaches, focus your peepers on this recent vid:
It’s an intelligent satire for sure. But what’s so amusing? Given our society’s expectations, it’s easy to think of humans as being either “male” or “female,” when actually this isn’t true. So playing with gender can mean playing with expectations — which can make for great comedy. (A member of my family recently expressed shock because I lift weights. “What if you get muscles?” she asked. Go figure.)
Wondering what the spoof might mean to a professional performer, I asked Boston’s gender-bending, gender-blending Johnny Blazes for hir take on the vid. “I find it charming,” says Johnny. “The mustaches are pasted on very feminine make-up and styling, which makes them a non-threatening, goofy aspect of the spoofing, rather than being potentially alarming or disturbing for those who aren’t used to seeing people play with gender.”
Johnny suggests that if the sisters were trying to truly pass for male, it wouldn’t serve them so well, considering a mainstream audience might not be so used to women in drag: “They are still beautiful in a normative, feminine way underneath the ‘staches, which makes them both amusing and attractive.” Such styling, Johnny says, softens the satire somewhat, since they’re clearly trying to lightly parody Mark Block, rather than rudely mock him. In Johnny’s words: They’re “silly, but still pretty.”
So how talented are these sisters as performers in this vid? Johnny thinks Liddy, who is the first daughter to appear, lands her impressions of Mark Block much better than her sisters: “Men stereotypically tend to speak in more of a monotone and move their heads less than women,” explains Johnny, “an aspect Abby and Mary Anne clearly struggle with. It’s really hard for people acculturated as women to talk without moving their heads.”
And after interviewing Johnny, I spent the day noticing my head wobbling every time I spoke. My oh my. Who knew?