Every morning when Woo-Jin wakes up, he finds he has transformed into a completely different person– he may wake up as any gender, age or ethnicity. When the film The Beauty Inside begins, we find him at a place in his life where he has fallen into a routine, working for himself, living largely in isolation and just making the best of his situation.
Of course, that would not be much of a movie, so he soon falls in love with the beautiful Yi-soo, and begins to pursue her though she, at first, has no idea the various people who come into her store are all the same admirer. Finally, he asks her out to dinner, and as the two fall in love he is forced to risk telling her the truth about who he is and how he changes all the time into new people.
Without going any more into the plot, let me say this is a first rate Korean Romance. It’s billed as a rom-com, but it really lives much more in the world of drama, with beautiful cinematography, poetic scenes and heart-wrenching emotions as the two struggle to make their impossible relationship work.
The main character spends a fair amount of time as a female, and some of the most poignant and heart felt scenes occur when he is female and opening up to Yi-soo. For fans of TG elements, there are a few sweet moments: getting hit on by his male friend, shopping for his first bra and being so nervous and self-conscious he ends up running from the store, having a “mother daughter” tea with his Mom. One little detail I enjoyed was that as a female, he is often shorter than his girlfriend, and it seems like he is the femme in their relationship at some times.
Matt Hallows reigns over the all boys Drazin School of Wizardry. The biggest, strongest most athletic kid at the school, he lords it over the other boys, demanding their respect with the force of his will and, when necessary, his fists.
That changes within the first few pages of Marie Bradford’s Curse Me Beautiful, when Hallows arch-rival douses him with a potion that soon changes him into a five foot tall female with generous curves and serious, teen female hormonal issues. Falling squarely in the enemies to lovers genre, the book follows Matt as he gets in touch with his feminine side as, to his horror, he finds himself getting the hots for the very boy who stole his manhood in the first place.
The heart of this novel is the relationship between Matt and Alistair, which begins as pure hatred and evolves into something much more. Bradford is a skilled writer who has clearly studied the genre. The rising tension of the couple’s physical relationship is matched by the merging closeness of their emotional connection. There are twists and turns, pullings backs, and self-discoveries. Hallows, initially horrified at being female, comes to find more and more things he enjoys about his new life and body.
I’ll leave it at that in terms of the plot. Let me finish by saying I have read a lot of gender bender fiction, and this stands as one of the best I have read. You do have to allow the author a few leaps in logic in terms of the plot, but this is a journey worth taking.
Aliyah Whiteley’s The Beauty merges Invasion of the Mushroom People, literary fiction flourishes and Old-school Fictionmania for a gender bender experience best described as different. Based in a post-apocalyptic world in which all women have been wiped out my a mysterious plague, when the book starts off we are introduced to a small village composed entirely of men living in a world that has regressed technologically to a more primitive, hunter-gatherer state.
Since it is literary fiction, there must be some shimmering shrine to “the power of narrative” and so these men spend their nights gathered around a campfire as their village story teller regales them with what have become their tribal legends. Outside the town lie the graves of the last women from their group.
Enter the mushroom women. Mysteriously, mushroom creatures begin to emerge from the graves of the vanished women. They can’t speak, but they have female shapes and a kind of psychic empathy. Soon, the men began to couple with the mysterious creatures, who also take over all the manual labor in the village. The men grow weak, their arms smaller, and soon enough one of them discovers that he is pregnant.
This creates some anxiety among the men, and the story flows from there. The book certainly explores the idea of gender, and it is a different approach, the whole thing written in that literary mode meant to suggest the relating of an ancient myth. Check it out.
First of all, I hope everyone out there is safe. It’s a scary time. Wash your hands!
Now, if you are locked down and looking for something fun, I have two very different new ebooks out for your reading pleasure. Forever Mine is a forced femme story inspired by the book and TV series YOU in which a first person narrator talks us through as she targets and then feminizes a man– of course, it’s all for his own good! I would describe this one as dark.
On the brighter but still kind of dark side is 1950s Sitcom Season Two. This one picks up where Season One left off, with our feminized hero still trapped as a woman and living in a 1950s sitcom. The story is written in the manner of The Honeymooners or I Love Lucy, and it loaded with 50s fashion, music and lingo. Links below:
Howdy, buckaroos! I have just put out my latest TG ebook, 1950s Sitcom. The premise of this book is that two guys get stuck in a 1950s sitcom in the manner of I Love Lucy or The Honeymooners. One of the guys, of course, finds himself transforming into a sitcom 1950s housewife, while the other settles into a comfortably boozy life as an entitled husband.
The story is broken up into three episodes, and it is very funny, if I do say so myself, while also having an overall Twilight Zone-esque tone of quiet horror. The stories were commissioned by a client who prefers to remain nameless, but I do want to thank Anonymous 2 for this great idea. I hope you enjoy!
If you are familiar with the manga Backstreet Boys or the cartoon series inspired by it, Goku Dolls, then you know the plot of the live action movie Trans-Sweetie. Three tough guys are forced to get sex-changes and become a girl group pop band.
I don’t know of an English translation, but the action is easy to follow nonetheless. We see the boy’s (mostly) shocked expressions as they see their new selves for the first time, watch them trying to den their new genders (the struggle to pee standing up is very amusing). We watched as they are dressed up in girly costumes and forced to compete on a TV show (they fail) and are then subjected to a grueling diet and training program including dance and gymnastics, of course wearing cute outfits (one wears a top that reads Barbie). And, we see them come to terms with their new lives, finding a kind of middle-ground between their past identities and new genders.
Looking for some femdom in your life? If so, check out Dead Man Tells His Own Tale, now streaming on Amazon (free for Amazon Prime members). Diego Gentile stars in the film as a director who is a classic sexist pig. He cheats on his wife, lies to actresses to get them to sleep with him, objectifies women at every turn. He is not portrayed as comic book villain evil, however. Despite his willingness to exploit women, he is a loving father to his daughter. Nor does he seem malicious toward the women in his life– his wife, his mistresses. He simply feels he in entitled to do as he pleases.
Of course, his lack of awareness does not make what he does okay. What’s to be done, though, right? He is who he is.
Enter a group of female vampires. Gentile finds himself at an all-female bar, where the women are aggressive, contemptuous of him. At one point, he is asked, “Do you fear them because they are more powerful than you?”
He is unnerved and starts to become hysterical. Soon, he is bitten, and, like other men, is turned into the zombie slave of the vampire women. If that sounds campy, it is. The film revels in its campiness, but unlike many such films celebrates it all within first class production values. There are interesting manifestations of the dominance of the women in Gentile’s new life. He wears a scarf all the time to hide the fact he has been marked, and at one points says, “I don’t want anyone to see me like this.” He can no longer objectify women, and even finds it impossible to say certain words.
We see some of their other victims. One has been forced to get grotesque plastic surgery– cheek implants, massive plumped lips. Another is wearing make-up, dangly earrings. The men are completely powerless to the women, who we discover ultimately intended to raise of Celtic goddess from the dead and establish a matriarchy over the world.
They succeed, and we get a brief glimpse of the new world, where men cannot drive, are talked down to by women. We see Gentile, now seeming docile, his wife in charge.
For lovers of campy horror comedy with a dose of femdom, it’s a must see.
Having dedicated my life to the scholarly examination of the mixed genre art form known to the common dummy as “Comic Book,” I must say that I thought I had seen it all when it came to the Justice League of America: villains, failing time and again, to conquer the world, dying, coming back to life. trying and failing again. All the plot twists, the comings and goings of this hero or that. I had over the years found myself riven with exhilaration as I perused my complete, mint condition golden age collection, or plunged into despair as I suffered through the moribund Hannah Barbara-inflected 70s.
And yet, what could have prepared me for this? Four of the most virile masculine heroes of my youth, reduced to giggling Kpop Idols? Did I ever think I would see a montage of the Flash, trying on dozens of outfits in super speed, tossing them away in feminine despair as he moaned “I have nothing to wear?”
Did I imagine in my fevered dreams I would Green Arrow, angsty and neurotic, terrified that the boy he has a crush on might not like him?
Did I ponder the possibility that the day would come where Batman would agonize over the stress of fighting crime and its impact on his perfect, glowing skin?
Never onee. Not did I cogitate over the possibility that if these implausible scenarios should manifest themselves, that I might love it.
But I do. I don’t no just. I love KPOP JLA.
I am the purest of the purists, and at risk of raising the ire of my esteemed fellow aficionados, I will admit the latest issue of KPOP Justice League had me captivated as few comics have ever done.
The girls, who have already come to call themselves The J-Pack, must prepare for their first music video. If you are not familiar with the world of KPOP, and I wasn’t until this latest unforeseen development in our heroes’ lives forced me to do my research, such a video must include choreography. Lots of it, and so the boys spend hours training not only to dance, but to dance in those cruel devices of modern torture known as high-heels.
It is delightful to see them, struggling, totterting, stumbling and falling, all the while being berated by a cruel task-mistress. At one point, after spending 12 straight hours working on their dancing, Kaji says, “Again!” Exhausted, demoralized, with aching feet and calves, they drop to the floor. “No more,” Green Arrow begs. “No more!” Flash covers his face with his hands and cries. Batman and Superman hug each other. “You are weak!” Kaji shouts. “You are not Idol! You will never be Idol! You lack the courage!”
The girls look at each other. They have never been more demoralized, so close to the brink of giving up, accepting defeat. Superman summons all her will, forces herself to stand, positions herself in first position. “I am an Idol!” We see the same fearless determination to dance on Superman’s pretty face that we once saw when he sought to defeat Metallo in JLA 152.
Batman rises to her feet, and we see the same anger in Batman’s big, pretty eyes, that we have seen so many times when the Joker threatened harm the innocents of Gotham city. ‘I am an Idol!” He shouts, placing himself in first position. Green Arrow and Flash help each other stand, and they toss their hair defiantly. “I am an Idol!” They each shout!
Thus, we see that these are still the men we have come to admire, struggling now to overcome new obstacles and challenges! No, they don’t need to once again figure out how to stop Lex Luthor. They’ve done that. But they have to find the will to withstand the grueling training of a Kpop girlgroup, and this they have never done before!
More, they must learn to subjugate their masculine imperatives, as the must master the most feminine and alluring dance moves, moves meant to celebrate their femininity, to capture the gaze of men, and inspire their legions of female fans. It is this journey that serves as the spine of this issue, as the girls all make a journey from shame at their dancing, to embracing it, taking pride in it, and finding a new kind of power.
In the end, when Kaji informs them they have mastered the dances for their video, that they have proven themselves worthy to be called Idols, the girls hug, cry and celebrate their triumph, the bonds of their newly forming sisterhood growing stronger because they stuck together and never gave up.
Of course, there are other plot elements running through the issue. A rival girl group, The Cute Syndicate, tries to sabotage their shoot, and the girls must find a way to stop them. This allows Batman to show her skills as she helps track down the Cutes, and Green Arrow and Flash shine, standing together and saving each other during the vicious girl-fight that ensues when the two girl packs square off.
The girls also continue to discover who they are now as young women. Superman finds himself becoming a fashionista, Batman is all about leather, Green Arrow discovers she is obsessed with class and become the most prim and proper. And what of Flash? He’s the girl next door, the funny, fun one that keeps them all together.
For those who says this is but a gimmick, I say nay. White Men are over, and the future is female. So, too, must be the Justice League. My only question now has to do with the previously female members of the league. Where are Zantanna? Wonder Woman? And if they cross over to KPOP, will they be men?
Superman, a Kpop Idol who spends as much time worrying about his hair as he does saving the world? Flash, a teen-age girl with a serious crush on Green Arrow? Batman spending six issues searching for the perfect bra to wear while fighting crime?
It’s not your father’s Justice League, and that, DC Comics Editor in Chief Bob Harras says, is the point. “The white male super-hero thing is played out,” he said, during our conversation at the Manhattan Office of DC comics. “People are tired of that. But what if Superman, Batman and the others found themselves in an alternate universe where they were not just Kpop Idols, but female Kpop Idols?”
“For the first few issues,” Harras goes on the explain, “they were the men they’d always been, but now dealing with the pressures and lives of young women — 19-20– so there was a lot of adjusting going on. It was Batman having to get used to wearing skirts, Superman getting hit on by creepy older men. As the series progresses, though, we will see them all starting to think and act like young women, struggling to balance their careers and personal lives with their obligations as super heroes. Batman’s mother guilts him into baby-sitting his younger sister, for example, and he ends up having to drag her along when Joker kidnaps Green Arrow.”
Internet response has been mixed, to say the least. Internet trolls have railed against the series, calling Harras everything from a “politically correct wimp” to a “desperate attention whore.” Some feminists have complained about the portrayal of the characters, and what defines them as female. “It’s cute to see Superman supper shopping, rushing to the salon to get his hair done after a big fight, but this just re-enforces the idea that women are defined by shopping and narcissism. As Clark Kent, he was supposed to be kind of a nerd, why is so obsessed with fashion now that he’s Klarci Kenji?”
“Superman was successful,” Harras counters. “A successful journalist. This series portrays the reality that for him now to successful as a young woman and an idol, he needs to be stylish. That’s also why he spends so much time worrying about his make-up. It’s not genetic, but the result of societal pressures.”
The romantic tensions between the various characters have also raised some eyebrows. Flash finds himself with a girl crush on the now pretty and female Green Arrow. He goes to comic lengths to try and get Green Arrow’s attention, even breaking into her apartment and waiting for her in his bed, dressed in a Sailor Moon costume. Batman and Superman, meanwhile, have had several hot exchanges full of simmering and so far repressed sexual tension. Each of the characters has also met young men who have flirted with them and taken them out on dates. Green Arrow, in particular, has fallen hard for a young man from a wealthy and prestigious family.
“I love how sweet and romantic they have all become,” one reader who identifies herself as female, wrote on her blog. “I think they are all wonderful girls.”
Another writes that she feels they have all “found their true selves. They are free of phallic hangups and are now expressing their feelings.”
Many fans speculate that this is a publicity stunt intended to boost sales of the comic books, similar to previous gimmicks, but Harras denies the accusation. “We’ve signed licensing agreements with toy companies, video games designers. These obligate us to keep these characters as they are for years. And, if you haven’t heard, we are already in development with our parent company, Warner, to make a KPOP Justice League movie, starring Shin Se-kyung as Superman.”
“Superman is an Asian girl now,” Harras said. “And he will be for a long time.”
As many of you are likely aware, prolific TG video producer and director RDF James has been working on a new Black Mirror-esque series of TG videos, the first of which, Staus Change, has dropped.
It’s a short film, 21 minutes, and I don’t want to give away any plot points, but I will say the film features some fun, classic TG moments. The actress who plays the young woman who gets swapped invests fully in her dual roles , and as is always a bonus for me, she is really hot. As it is the first in a series, some time is spent establishing the world and setting up future episodes, so be patient for some exposition, but all in all this is a fun and entertaining first episode with lots of promising content.
I would have liked to see more scenes of the guy dealing with being a woman, but there is some nice stuff with that, and a nice ironic reversal “money scene” where we get a taste of what his life is like after the swap. I recommend,
As an added bonus, look for some cameos from performers you may recognize from previous RDF James productions!
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