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March 07, 2017

Interesting: To Prove Gender Bias, a University Had a Male Actor Read Hillary's Debate Lines, and a Female Actor Read Trump's. The Results Were... Unexpected.

It was an experiment in, ahem, "re-gendering" the debates. A male actor would play Hillary's role, but renamed "Jonathan Gordon." A female actor would play Trump's role, renamed "Brenda King."

The actors rehearsed to try to mimic each actual participant's cadence, body language, gestures, and facial expressions.


People assumed that the experiment would prove Hillary lost the election due to her gender.

People were surprised to find that assumptions to be wrong.

"I've never had an audience be so articulate about something so immediately after the performance," Salvatore says of the cathartic discussions. "For me, watching people watch it was so informative. People across the board were surprised that their expectations about what they were going to experience were upended."

Many were shocked to find that they couldn't seem to find in Jonathan Gordon what they had admired in Hillary Clinton--or that Brenda King's clever tactics seemed to shine in moments where they'd remembered Donald Trump flailing or lashing out. For those Clinton voters trying to make sense of the loss, it was by turns bewildering and instructive, raising as many questions about gender performance and effects of sexism as it answered...

They did have to change a little bit about the debates, like Hillary saying "When I was First Lady" (wouldn't make sense to have the male version of Hillary say that), but otherwise the actors attempted to duplicate what actually happened.

Here's a short clip, maybe of a rehearsal or something. Or maybe it was just staged in small rooms. I dunno.

Here's a killer quote:

We heard a lot of "now I understand how this happened" -- meaning how Trump won the election. People got upset. There was a guy two rows in front of me who was literally holding his head in his hands, and the person with him was rubbing his back. The simplicity of Trump's message became easier for people to hear when it was coming from a woman--that was a theme. One person said, "I'm just so struck by how precise Trumpís technique is.

More proof that they've literally gone crazy, that they're reacting like this to having some small-beans mental applecarts overturned.

If you can't take this minor prick of your assumptions, what the hell can you take?

It seems to me that Hillary's gender actually covered up her flaws, such as inauthenticity, scriptedness, recitations of pablum, and fake-smiling, while, when she was played by a male actor, those flaws were suddenly very visible to the people who think of themselves as "gender-woke" but maybe should just think of themselves as gender partisans.

Though I have to also admit: Another effect of the gender reversal is to make Donald Trump's aggressiveness and bluntness sound more reasonable and less grunt-bark.

It could be that the gender reversal revealed that a lot of Hillary's aggressiveness towards Trump was actually aggressive, which had been missed when it was a woman acting aggressively towards a man. And likewise, Trump's less frequent aggressiveness seemed really aggressive when it was a man speaking to a woman, but seems much less so when performed by a woman speaking to a man.

So I also have to admit, the stuff they claim that the performance will provoke people to "rethink the complexity of easy gender assumptions" might not be as total bullshit as their total bullshit usually is.

Thanks to @zakn.


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posted by Ace at 06:36 PM

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