The Swap Versus The Swap (Spoilers)

Image result for the swap disney posterImage result for Jacob Bertrand and peyton list

In this corner, Meghan Shull’s young adult novel, The Swap.  In that corner, Disney Channel’s movie length adaptation.  Which will emerge as the true champion?  Ring the bell and let the battle begin.

Both the book and the film are PG, and both of them artfully dodge anything that a family or young person might find creepy or weird.  For example, in the book Jack, in Ellie’s body, refuses to undress for his physical because he knows it would be wrong for a boy to see a girl naked.  In the movie, when Ellie’s mother induces him to take a bubble bath, he wears a bathing suit.

The story focuses mainly on the characters and their relationships.  Jack has a strict, military father and three rough-housing older brothers.  The father is cold and distant, and he pushed his sons to extreme physical fitness and competitiveness.   When Ellie finds herself suddenly in his body and life, she has to adjust to being yelled at, wrestled with by half-naked boys (all of whom she finds very attractive, something she must hide since she is in the body of a boy and a younger brother.)  She also has to experience other embarrassing moments, like waking up with morning wood.  We learn that one reason for this testosterone driven dude life is that his mother died a year ago.

Jack, on the other hand, finds himself living a life of luxury and ease as a girl.  He has a big, fluffy, comfortable bed, a loving mom who is full of hugs, encouragement and understanding, and even makes pancakes for him just about ever morning.  Jack, though, shies away from this mother’s attempts to be close, and his further horrified when both his mother and his doctor want to talk to him about his impending menstrual cycles and graduation into womanhood.  In addition, he now finds himself mystified by the female politics of the all-girl world he finds himself in, and as a shy boy who never could talk to girls, it is an extra terrible struggle as he finds himself a girl in a girl’s world.  In the book, remember, Jack is now a 12-year old girl, so the all girl social  makes sense.  It is a little harder to believe in the Disney movie, where they are both sophomores in high-school, but this is a Disney Movie, where even adults never do more than offer each other innocent little pecks.

The movie did a better job creating suspense. In the book, the characters believe they just have to make it through the weekend, so that can find the nurse that switched their bodies and get turned back.  The movie made a better choice; the characters have a limited amount of time to earn the right to return to their own bodies, or they will be trapped forever in their new lives.  And how can they earn the right to get their own bodies back?  Well, Jack has to perform rhythmic gymnastics, wearing full make-up, body glitter and tiny little outfit, gracefully dancing around while twirling a ribbon.  Ellie has to dominate other boys in hockey, though she finds a way to use some of her gymnastics skills along the way.

In the end, and stop now to avoid the ultimate spoilers, the book just stops.  The characters do what they need to do, and then they just pop back into their bodies.  The whole thing about the nurse and getting through the weekend vanishes.  In the movie, we get the traditional false ending.  The characters fulfill their quests, and then… they don’t change back.  They think they have failed, and they both seem resigned to their new lives.  Ellie turns to Jack as he stands there in his gymnastics costume, and says, “I am sorry Ellie.”  He looks at her in her hockey gear and says, “I am sorry, too, Jack.”   I would have liked for more of this section of the film, where the two characters are facing their futures and boy and girl, but it turns out they really needed to deal with their unresolved parental issues.   Jack opens up to “his” mom, and they have an emotional moment together, while Ellie stands up to “her” father– and then they are restored.

In the end– sorry– do both.  Read the book.  See the movie.  Both argue for a more genderfluid sense of identity as Jack in some ways makes a better girl than Ellie, and Ellie makes a better guy. Meanwhile, both of them learn that they can indulge in activities that defy norms and actually not only enjoy them but get stronger as Jack learns to enjoy bubble baths, for example, and Ellie starts to thrive in bro-culture.

One regret for me comes from the casting of the movie.  Peyton List is taller and actually looks more muscular and athletic than the scrawny actor who plays Jack.  List looks like she lifts weights, and has a bigger bicep bulge when she challenges another girl to a fight than we see from Jack, who in the book is very muscular — it would have been interesting for me to see Jack react to the realization that as a girl he actually has more of some of the things guys want–  height, muscle– but  maybe I will just have to write that book myself!

 

 

 

The Swap Versus The Swap (Spoilers)

The Winchester Sisters!

So, fans all over the Internet are creating videos that feature the Winchester Brothers from Supernatural being transformed into women.  These videos have caught on, and there is even some Winchester sisters cosplay.  Here is a video I especially like because of the voice melding and the showing of the transformation:

 

The above video, like the others, is fascinating to me as much as anything else because simply by implying that the footage of the two gorgeous women features characters who used to be men, the creators are able to create a TG effect that makes all the action fascinating in a specific way.

Here is another one:

This is actually a full episode shot with two actresses playing the gender swapped brothers. It is really fun in that we seem them subtly embracing their womanhood as the show progresses, dressing more and more feminine, doing their hair, and being very much okay with it.

There is also a podcast, where they have redone entire episodes with the brothers genderswapped into sisters:

http://foolsgoldtheatre.podbean.com/p/supernatural-genderswap/

There are even a bunch of tutorials on how to do FemDean makeup and costume, as gender swapped Winchester cosplay is a thing:

It’s all great and fun, especially because I feel like a lot of folks who aren’t part of the TG fiction world are doing TG fiction in a very open, mainstream way.  However, I am curious myself as to why this particular show, and why these characters?

My guess is that the relationship between the brothers reads as or reminds many viewers of more a sisterly relationship, at least as portrayed in the media.  In addition, the viewership of the show tends to skew female, so they are identifying with these male characters, imagining themselves in the roles, and in turn enjoying the idea of the Winchester boys being turned into very sexy girls.  One of the most common, to the point of being almost universal, is the swap of Dean into Amber Heard, and many of the images tend to be very sexy and feminine while at the same time aggressive:

Image result for amber heard as deanna winchester

So, the boys are usually imagine as being dressed in cute outfits, pretty but also strong and aggressive and probably all the things the viewers want to see in themselves, but of course it is fun for them to imagine these two guys in tight, low cut tops and short shorts, but still sporting guns.

Image result for amber heard as deanna winchester

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Of course, it is great for people to explore ideas of gender, and what it would mean for a couple of guys to turn into a couple of girls.  One of the great things about these videos is that in a very modern way, none of them in any way sees the characters as diminished or weakened by their sex change.  In all the videos, they are just as tough and capable as always, just doing what they always did a women instead of men.

I like that!

The Winchester Sisters!

The Secret Feminization

The Secret Feminization by [Princess, Chloe]

Just found a really fun new set of TG books and decided to share my good fortune with my readers.  The Secret Feminization features a spy who gets switched into the body of gorgeous young blonde bombshell, and soon finds himself pressured into going undercover as a sex-slave.

Now, so far, maybe that doesn’t sound all that different and unique.  However, two things caused me to really love this book. One, it is not what it sounds like, meaning the story doesn’t just turn into a series of sex-scenes.  In fact, the character has to deal with a lot of other aspects of being a woman, and when the sex scenes happen they come after long build ups that are as much about the male ego trapped in the gorgeous girl’s body as he experiences being dominated and forced to please another man.

Two, the story itself is actually as much a part of the spy novel genre as it is a TG story.  I always like it when the story has a cool plot and plays with other conventions, and this one does including plot twists, exotic settings, and a great deal of sexual tension between the various characters.

Lastly, the author keeps reminding us that the character considers himself a man, and was  man, so as he is dealing with his D-cups, his bras and heels, the story never loses sight of the fact that this is a man and even as his personality slowly starts to crumble and change as he spends more time as a woman, it is still and always forwarded that this is a man in that tight little dress, fussing over his mascara.

I do need to caution people that neither book truly stands alone, so if you start reading, you will come to a cliff-hangar and need to wait for the next book, but these are both lengthy novels that will give you plenty of reading enjoyment.

I personally am very eager to read more of Sam’s adventures!

The Secret Feminization