Hammering Out the Real Battle of the Sexes

Anything you can do, I can do better. Ha! I can do anything better than you.
No, you can’t.
Yes, I can.
No, you can’t.
Yes, I can.
No, you can’t.
Yes, I can, yes, I can!

The 1946 musical “Annie Get Your Gun” was a critical and financial success, greatly due to the music of legendary composer Irving Berlin. One of his most memorable songs from the production was the classic, “Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better),” a male/female duet and a nod to the long-running battle of the sexes. However, a new sexual revolution has occurred, and turned the earlier version on its ear. No longer does it simply involve men and women battling for dominance; the new playing field rules require men vying to be women- and vice-versa.

Much like those subliminal messages coming through ads nudging you to purchase goods and services you didn’t know you wanted, the cross-dressing underground has been “grooming” America for ‘transgenderism’ for many years- we just weren’t paying attention.

Boy Meets Becomes Girl

One of the earliest examples was the 1935 French comedy “Fanfare of Love,” about two unemployed male musicians disguising themselves to join an all-female orchestra. While it was a surreptitious attempt to lull the public into the acceptability of men looking like women- it worked better than the director had hoped. In fact it was such a huge hit, that it spawned a sequel 20 years later entitled ‘Fanfare of Marriage’. With it, the gender-bending fuse was lit.

Next in line was the Ed Wood classic, “Glen or Glenda.” At the time, this film was an improbable, implausible, box office bomb. Cross-dressing men? Sex-change operations? Far-fetched and ridiculous….at least audiences and critics alike thought so in 1953. Despite horrible reviews, partially due to direction by “the worst director of all time (Wood),” as well as being considered an embarrassment by every measure, the film has over time become a cult classic.

Many now consider it a harbinger of future events; an early how-to-guide/primer on broaching the subject of transgenderism. A brief summary from IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base) reads as follows: “Glen or Glenda” tells two stories. One is about Glen, who secretly dresses as a woman but is afraid to tell his fiancée Barbara. The other is about Alan, a pseudohermaphrodite who undergoes a painful operation to become a woman.

Both stories are told by Dr. Alton, who also delivers an earnest lecture on tolerance and understanding. A second narrator, The Scientist, delivers commentary which contains more philosophical pronouncements than facts. The film also has flashbacks-within-flashbacks and a strange dream sequence. In it, Inspector Warren’s investigation of a transvestite’s suicide leads him to learn more about men in women’s clothes; Johnny’s wife leaves him when she discovers what he wears while she’s away; Barbara is oblivious to her fiancé Glen’s desire to wear her angora sweater; Satan invades Glen’s nightmare; and The Scientist only offers cryptic advice like “Beware of the big green dragon that sits on your doorstep.”

All Aboard! The Indoctrination Train

Most other attempts to subtlety indoctrinate have come in the form of seemingly innocuous examples via the entertainment world. While there are literally innumerable instances, I will highlight an iconic few:

• Some Like it Hot (1959) This groundbreaking film starring screen megastars Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe was beloved by critics and audiences alike, featuring two men on the lam needing to dress as women after witnessing a crime.

• The Flip Wilson Show (1970-1974) This weekly TV show featured the comedian in drag as a woman named Geraldine Jones, originally appearing on The Flip Wilson special variety show. So popular was the ‘Jones’ character, that it won the 1970 Grammy Award for Best Comedy Recording, and prompted NBC execs to give Wilson his own weekly variety show.

• Pink Flamingos (1970) This film featured the debut of actor Harris Glenn Milstead (aka the popular stage and screen drag queen, Divine). Shocking and provocative, Milstead went on to play the 6’2” 300 lb. icon a total of 17 times on camera until his untimely death in 1988 at age 42.

• The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) Initially, this film was considered by most an embarrassment, receiving extremely negative reviews. This unique musical comedy was a transvestite’s dream, featuring an all-star drag queen cast. However, it was not long after its release that midnight shows became a cult phenomenon, and remains the longest- running theatrical release in movie history.

• Bosom Buddies (1980-1982) This TV sitcom starring Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari was the first show of its kind, bringing cross-dressing to small screen-and normalizing it, with two renters dressing as ladies to stay in a women’s boarding house. Though a very limited run, it gave millions of Americans during the TV family hour a new comfortability with men dressing like women.

• Tootsie (1982) A financial and critical success, it was the second most profitable film of that year. Dustin Hoffman played difficult to work with but talented actor Michael Dorsey. After struggling to make ends meet through various jobs, he attempts to disguise his identity to gain acting roles. Failing miserably, he finally lands a role and becomes an overnight sensation on a daytime soap-opera dressed as a woman. The movie was an immediate hit and made Tootsie, a cross-dressing man, a household name.

• RuPaul/character (1982-present) RuPaul (born RuPaul Andre Charles) is arguably the most well-known drag queen in history. Becoming a fixture in LGBTQ drag nightclubs in the early 80’s, RuPaul became known worldwide after his 1993 megahit, “Supermodel (You Better Work).” Needless to say, Charles popularized “Dragging” and brought it to the mainstream.

• Madea/character (1999-present) With 7 stage plays and at least 10 films, actor and producer Tyler Perry’s character was the new millennium’s example of Flip Wilson’s “Geraldine.” Mabel “Madea” Earlene was birthed on the scene of his hit play, “I Can Do Bad All By Myself,” and changed the Black entertainment landscape forever. It also had one unforeseen side-effect: It unfortunately gave the LGBTQ movement the inroad needed in the Black community.

The Aftermath

The names and credits of these individuals is not intended to highlight these purveyors in the history of transvestitism or transgenderism, but rather to show the generational effect they have had on our culture. As a result, gender-bending, sex-changing and likewise terms have become part of our lexicon and societal construct. They say that a single drop of cyanide in a gallon of water will have little to no perceivable outward effects. However, that does not mean that it does no damage. It will, because that is what it cyanide was designed to do.

For many of us, these actors and their films have brought us much laughter and memories. As harmless and innocent as these films, TV shows and their messages have seemed, they have forever changed the world in which we live. Just how much have they affected your world and that of your children, and your children’s children? You’d be surprised.

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