The GLAM Dyke Rescue Unit plots a fabulous gender revolution

| September/October 1998

Gender Section:

The Gender Blur
Where does biology end and society take over?

Drag Net
From glen to glenda and back it possible?

Indefinable Heroes
The ancient art of gender-bending

This time the revolution will be absolutely fabulous!

Excerpt: The GLAM Manifesto

PoMosexual Pioneer
What good is theory when you're not getting laid?

Gender Aptitude Test
Just WHO do you think you are?

The GLAM Dyke Rescue Unit doesn't pack copies of Gyn/Ecology, nor do they eat granola, and they certainly don't wear overalls (unless they're pink, furry, or something equally fabulous, of course). They are partial to miniskirts and ruffly panties, long (fake) eyelashes, and underwire bras.

But beneath the boas, patent leather, and glitter lies a shimmer of serious intent. The Rescue Unit's two members, Carleton College students Julia Steinmetz and Jessica Peterson, are the proud authors of The GLAM Manifesto, a four-page document "whereby the essence of GLAM is revealed, [and] the principles of the cause introduced to the uninitiated." Employing both audacious humor and keen insight, they aim to expose and defy gender stereotypes at all levels; they're as likely to quote queer theorists Judith Butler and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick as they are to cite porn star/sexpert Annie Sprinkle.

This morning, Peterson and Steinmetz, who prefer to be called the Fabulous Lady Misses Julia and Jessica, look like a pair of slightly scruffy but otherwise elegant ex-punks. Steinmetz, attired in black platforms, pink floppy pants, baby blue "Sex Kitten" baseball shirt, and shimmery lime-green eyeshadow, explains that GLAM is part performance art, part political statement.

"Of course, being GLAM is about looking fabulous," she says, "but it's also about putting gender theory into practice. It's taking people's preconcieved notions about gender and sexuality and appearance and mixing them up. The result is that everybody has a lot more options."

"So if I walk down the street in lipstick and a typically feminine dress and high heels," Peterson adds, "then I kiss this girl or hold this boy's hand, people ask themselves, 'Who does she sleep with?' It gives us freedom to break down stereotypes."

The überfemmy clothes—especially when they're worn by girls who call themselves dykes—alter people's perceptions about what a queer person is supposed to look like, say the Lady Misses, who claim that both gender and sexuality are social constructs. And besides, it's fun to dress up.

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