Is it possible for t-girls to be camp? It probably sounds unusual but it is one of the many questions that have been playing on my mind for a while. No, I really don't have too much time on my hands - honest.
A few weeks ago one of my friends, who knows about Rhiannon, said that she thought I was camp. The thing is that I never ever considered myself camp at all, so to be honest I was a little surprised. My definition of camp is fairly stereotypical and probably slightly prejudicial if I’m honest. What I mean is that I wouldn’t consider myself camp because I have a normal type of voice and when I’m not in heels, I don’t mince. Actually I more lumber really.
So I couldn’t fathom what prompted my friend to make the comment and actually why it jarred so much with me. But in talking to her, we arrived at an understanding that it was things I talk about that make me sound camp rather than me actually ‘acting’ camp, if that makes sense?
Anyway, I parked it for a couple of weeks without consciously thinking about it. But every so often I would mention something or a point would come out in a conversation what would make me think, ‘oooh, that is SO camp’! But I still dismissed it.
Then, last week I started to listen to a new book. One of the things you need to know about me is that I read and listen to books a lot. I drive for many hours each week and I voraciously consume audio books. My tastes are wide and varied – I’ve even owned up to recently discovering a penchant for chick lit.
The book in question is Seth Rudetsky’s Broadway nights. If, according to Wikipedia, the original definition of camp, in the 1909 Oxford English Dictionary was “ostentatious, exaggerated, affected, theatrical; effeminate or homosexual”, then Broadway Nights is 100% well and truly camp. And Mr Rudetsky, who voices the book, is camper than a scout jamboree . But the thing is, I loved it. It was fun, sparky, bitchy, laugh out loud funny and, did I mention, very very very camp?
If I like campiness and am happy to revel in it, surely I must be camp? And then the thought struck. Camp is a term applied generally to gay men – so is it even possible for t-girls to be camp too? Partly I guess it depends on how you view your t-ness… But assuming we aspire to be more feminine than masculine, I tried to recall whether I’d ever heard of women being referred to as camp. I couldn’t think of a time when I had seen it – it certainly doesn’t seem to happen very often. Instead of referring to a woman as camp, people seem to say that they are either being retro or kitsch.
So, girlfriend, that’s where I arrived – and next time I see that friend of mine I’m going to tell them. They can call me kitsch and I will own that label, but, as fun as it is, I’m rejecting any campiness. But the question it leaves me with for you is – are you camp or are you kitsch?