Cho: Identifying with Identity?

I?m the One that I?WantThese?are merely a few thoughts that presented easily for me.

Foucault and Cho sittin’ in a tree…
There are SO MANY different types of sexual discourse within Cho’s performance of I’m the One that I Want: gay, straight, drunk, slutty, medical – and people pay to hear all about it. We are not a prudish population overall. (In fact, after posting?about foot lickers and 7 feet of sex, my?blog traffic?went through the roof.)

The most pertinent point where Cho and Foucault align is the moment when?Cho’s small desire in the grand scheme of her identity briefly defines?her identity as a whole. Cho tells her mother that she?has a?sexual encounter?with a woman while working on a lesbain cruise line. This is not typical behavior for Cho and she asks herself if she’s gay or straight. She decides she’s just slutty but her mother needs to classify Cho and calls her machine asking:

Are you gay? Are you gay? Are you gay? If you don’t pick up the phone, you’re gay. Okay, you’re gay.” Her mother then continues with “Why can’t you talk to Mommy? Mommy is so cool… Mommy know all about the gay!”

Margaret?ChoSuddenly, Cho is seen differently through her mother’s eyes in light of a singular experience. Cho’s mother is interesting in that she is deeply effected by racism when she arrives in the States in the 60’s. Knowing that classification is hurtful and dangerous, she reproduces the same behavior with her daughter. I’m seeing both Althusser and Foucault here. Ideologies are in place to perpetuate the system.

Butler and?Cho sitting in a tree…
So, Cho’s?performance includes?the roles of both men and women. How do we, as an audience, know which role she is playing? Gender roles are important here. Cho seems to prove Butler’s point that gender is imposed, learned and performed. In playing the role of a man, Cho displays mannerisms belonging to that gender. When she depicts her gay male friends, she displays?more forced feminine gestures as performed by these men. Certainly, these performances play on stereotypes, but Butler would say that stereotypes are as false as the gender we assume. Butler would also use the example above to say that there is no true identity/soul. There are just chaotic desires within us that are reigned in by social expectations. These expectations are?placed upon us?and we, in turn, place them upon ourselves.

Comments

  1. theorycarnival4 says:

    The chohad alot of intiguing things to say regrading not only race and sex but towards identity as well. For a stand up comedian its nice to see the deeper levels she is trying to address. I almost look at her as a female Dave Chappelle. Her abilty to point out these issues while making the sudience almost wet themselves is true talent. Her theory regarding Chipndale dancers was dead on. Its funny to see how the image they portray is the opposite of thier own desires. Im interested to see where this goes in clas.

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