My cisgendered privilege prevents me from fully articulating just… what’s… so wrong here, but let’s give it a try. First of all: The term “Mister Sister” seems like one of those phrases that should be avoided like “Ladyboy” or “he/she” – anything that invokes the notion of being both genders. That’s just antiquated. The punchline of Fred Armisen looking at dresses feels icky and insulting. The message that makeup makes you happy is sweet and well-intentioned (I’ve said it myself in Transformations episodes) but… well, let’s let one of the YouTube commenters address it:
The music isn’t terrible…, but really? Put on makeup and go to parties to “stop the hurt”…??? Would you tell your DAUGHTER to wear “fishnets” so she can be more popular? WTF! Minor kudos for using 2 (ostensibly) trans* models, but the draggy rhetoric and the title “Mister Sister” (again, REALLY? how about a Black empowerment song called “Hey Lil’ Sambo”…), and the shitty ANTI-Feminist message needs a re-think, if not an outright THUMP ON THE HEAD. Gender is NOT clothes. Makeup is NOT empowerment.
Could the “message” of this song work universally? Do we encourage heavy girls to “just dress sexier”, or an awkward, unattractive girl to “wear fishnets and go to parties”? Perhaps MORE TELLING would we ever say this to a cisgendered BOY who is being bullied? I mean, maybe that could work out to be an empowering song in a way (I doubt it would be presented so simply without some black humor, a la “Boy Named Sue”), but would that really solve their problems with society’s prejudices…? Take your double-standard sexism back to the “ironic” retro-trailer park, Kate. This throwback insults everyone.
Kate recently told the Huffington Post: “‘Mister Sister’ is inspired by all who are transgender and LGB, multi-dimensional and still transcending. I hope it becomes a trans anthem, but it’s really meant to empower anyone who feels ‘betrayed by the mirror.'”
As I said: well-intentioned, but I’m filing this under “FAIL.” What do you think? Tweet me @JSJdarling