Inside You– the scoop!

Inside You

Watch this movie, people!  Watch it!

It’s right here on Amazon!

As a fan of gender swapping fiction, I have seen and read movie after movie and book after book.   So, it’s pretty rare that I come upon a swap story that offers anything new.  Mostly, they can do something better, or come up with a different voice, tone or manner of presentation.   But most of them, especially if they fall into the more specific “freaky friday” mode, will pretty much just run through a series of the same beats.

Inside You does do that a little, but even when it’s running along the same beats, the writer direction Heather Fink, a student at NYU film school, often manages to find ways to ground the story in contemporary gender-wobbled reality, with behaviors and experiences rooted in the characters.

Wait.  Did I forget to run through the basic story?   Stephanie and Ryan live together and have dated for years.  Their relationship has stagnated.   Then, they switch bodies.   Now, Stephanie was, like many young, modern women, all about wearing comfortable clothes, so when Ryan finds himself in her body, there is no sudden need for him to start wearing stiletto heels and mini-skirts.  However, he does get curious, and since he is trapped in her body anyway, he spends a day playing dress up and giving himself make-overs.  it’s exploration that he now feels free to do, and that sense of exploration does not stop with clothes.

This movie delves frankly into sex issues, with some fun role reversal.  For example, Stephanie really want to know what it feels like to get a blow job, and now that Ryan is the girl she wants him to do it.  Ryan is not totally into the idea, and we then get to see play out what happens all the time anyway; the guy pressures the girl for oral sex, and she is not cool with it.  Eventually, Ryan gives in because he feels it will save the relationship, leading to a very funny scene.    Then, he turns the tables insisting that Stephanie pleasure him in return.

It’s this willingness to look at relationship and how they each end up doing things to please the other that allows this movie to stand out from the crowd.  In addition, Fink has some fun and interesting ideas concerning what to do with a camera, and she uses the camera well to tell the story.

Now, this film was made with 30,000 dollars, and there are some limits visible and audible in terms of the production.  However, watch it.  Just watch it.  This movie is all about the story, and it really doesn’t matter if it looks perfect or not, because it has heart!

If you don’t like Amazon, find it at any of these places linked from their blog.

The Assignment (Spoilers)

Image result for the assignment

First of all, let me say this movie is not so bad.  I have seen the word terrible attached to it many times, but to me I would rate it average as a film in the revenge/payback film noir genre.

The main characters is betrayed.  He then systematically hunts down his betrayer.   Most of that hunting down involves him walking around shooting people without ever being remotely threatened himself or even challenged.  He walks in and shoots.  People die.  There is tension and no struggle.  He shoots.  They die.

There is very little here for fans of TG fiction, especially if you are interested in media that really explores gender identity.  The character is given a forced sex-change, and after initially freaking out when he wakes up to his new face and female body, he just goes right back to acting and dressing the same way as he always did.  He doesn’t seem to really even care all that much, but just throws on some guy clothes and goes back to being a thug.

A few times, he is spoken to in demeaning ways based on his new sex– someone calling him babe or sweetheart, but it seems to have no impact on him at all.   He just shrugs it off like it didn’t happen.  Likewise when he, for no clear reason, decides to dress up in a sexy women’s clothing and heels, even donning a blonde wig.  He acts just like he’d put on his usual leather jacket and hoodie, and doesn’t seem to care at all about how he looks or what it might mean in terms of how he is treated.

In addition, the movie features a framing story where Sigourney Weaver, the doctor who performed the surgery, is being interviewed by Tony Shaloub.  This is mostly just an exercise in lazy writing, with lots of opportunities for exposition dumps and a pointless cat and mouse game where nothing really seems to be at stake.

The motivation for the sex-change is thin and unconvincing, and in the end the biggest problem for me is that I didn’t care about any of the characters.   If anything, the villain Honest John  was more charismatic and likeable than the hero, Frank Kitchen, so I didn’t much care whether he got his or not.

Still and all, I would say it’s an okay movie, the kind you watch on a rainy day.   It’s okay, but just okay.

The Best TG on TV (Spoilers)

 

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(Tip in Boy Form)

For fans of TG fiction, the best place to find it right now is on Emerald City embody in the character of Tip and watchable on Hulu and NBC.   Now, everything that follows is a spoiler, so you may want to just go and watch!  But, if you read on, just know I will be revealing a lot of Tip’s journey.

Thematically, one of the reasons I love this character is that he discovers he can only gain power by embracing his female self.  It is a nice twist on traditional gender roles, and when I say embrace his female self it comes down to him accepting that he is a princess and magically dressing himself in a fairy tale dress, earrings, a fancy dress and an elaborate updo in order to command the loyalty of a group of witches.

Now, to back up, when we first meet Tip he is being held captive by a witch, who feeds him special medicine everyday and tells him she is protecting him from the dangers of the outside world.  Right off, the situation is deliciously twisted, as Tip is being held in a tower sealed by brambles, and he is hoping that a male friend named Peter will rescue him from his captivity.  Sounds like a traditional damsel in distress, right?

Well, Dorothy comes along– this is an Oz-based TV show– and she frees Tip, who runs off with his friend Peter to be free and explore the world.  There’s only one problem: the next, Tip wakes up to discover he has turned into a girl.  He hides from his friend and is appalled and embarrassed to have a girl’s shape, so he and Peter set out to find someone to make more of the medicine the witch had been feeding him.

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(Tip in girl form)

All along, we get nice little crumbs of Tip’s struggle with his identity.  At one point he is in a restaurant, his boobs exposed in his too small shirt, and a waitress tells him that unless he’s planning on making some money off his boobs he should probably cover them up.  He is shocked and humiliated to realize men have been ogling him.  He freaks out when he needs to use a restroom and can’t decide which one to use (very timely), and then he gets the greatest shock of all when he and Peter find a chemist to analyze and make more medicine.

The chemist returns and tells Tip he can’t make him the medicine because it is black magic and will turn him into a boy.   “I am a boy,” Tip says, and the man says, “No.  You aren’t.  You were born a girl.”

This knowledge unnerves Tip, who is totally disoriented by the idea that he was born female.   He refuses to believe it.   This situation gets worse when his equally confused friend, Peter, tries to kiss him.

The journey continues on with Tip trying to join the army, but instead ends up at an all-girl orphanage run by Glinda, who wants him to be a nun.   Then, the Witch of the West arrives and offers to let him join her and learn to be a slut, which causes him to say, “So, as a girl my choices are to be a virgin or a slut?”

He chooses to go with West, but only find himself forced to wear dresses and work as her serving girl, making her tea and performing other menial tasks.

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(Tip as serving girl)

Now, this is all doled out very slowly over several episodes.   Finally, he discovers that not only was he born a girl, but a princess, which is just the worst form of girl in his mind, but then Witch of the West asks him a question.  “Do you want to be a boy who has nothing and no one, or a girl who is destined to rule Oz?”

This, to me, is where it starts to kick into high gear because he begins to understand his path to power only comes if he embraces his girlhood.  It takes a couple of episodes, and he briefly even manages to regain male form, but then he is once again powerless, and it is only by going full on princess that he can advance and have any power and future.

The actress who plays Tip, Jordan Loughran, is extremely talented and does a almost too good job portraying his confusion and alienation as he struggles to figure out who he is and what he can be in the world.

I am looking forward to see what happens, and eagerly watching the ratings to see if there will be a second season.  This is very cool stuff for a network TV show to explore.

Check it out!

 

 

 

 

Changers Report: Spoilers

Changers Book One: Drew by [Cooper, T, Glock-Cooper, Allison]

 

I love the genius premise of Changers: each year of high-school, the main character turns into a completely different person.  In the case of the main character in Changers: Book One, 13 year old skater dude Ethan Wakes up to discover he has become a blonde girl!

Now, I am always most interested in gender changes, and especially of the unwilling variety, and for Ethan it is most certainly an unwilling change.  He actually had been shy around girls and uncomfortable with them, but had set down as one of his goals for his freshman year to get a girlfriend.  Now, he suddenly finds he is a girl, and he has no idea how to be HER.

Now, I call it a genius premise because many young people do go through different identities during their high-school years, sometimes willfully and sometimes, like Ethan, now called Drew, in a way that feels unwilling and haphazard.  So, I feel that Ethan’s seemingly supernatural experience neatly parallels and explores the real life experiences of young people, especially now that they are more free to explore their gender identity.

In the first part of the book, we get to see Drew as she adjusts to the expectations of girl teen culture, becomes a junior varsity cheerleader and explores relationships with other girls and boys.  It’s fun and contains many of the beats we expect, while at the same time offering grounded characters who seem psychologically real.

In addition to her learning how to be a high-school girl, she also has to deal with the fact that she is part of a secret society of kids who are all changing identities just like her, and that this society has a LOT of rules, along with a lot of ominous threats about what will happen if she breaks them.

Which brings me to one thing I didn’t love: I felt the rules of the Changers world were too complicated and limiting, and that too much time was spent dwelling on them.  I didn’t find the Changers’ culture believable.  For example, all of the changers are sworn to keep their nature a secret, and yet they are then given a tattoo on their butt which makes it easy to identify them.  It makes little sense.  The character also has to attend an incredibly dull and boring seminar which I found agonizing to read about, and which ended with a huge party for all the changers where they were encouraged to mingle even though they were forbidden from having relationships with each other.  So, those section did not shine, especially compared to the other stuff, which was all really great.

I like the book and recommend it.  There is even talk of a series, so this could be a really fun TV show one day!  Check it out!!!!

Changers Book One

New York Times Feature on the Authors

T Cooper’s Website

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.

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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!