Tobi Hill-Meyer

The Genderfellator

Filed By Tobi Hill-Meyer | January 12, 2011 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Catherine Crouch, feminism, Gloria Divine, James Darling, Maya Mayhem, satire, Timothy Swan

Back in 2007 Catherine Crouch made headlines for her blatently anti-trans short film The Gendercator, DSC00312.JPGwhich, due to the lack of trans inclusion on LGBTQ film festival selection committees, was included in several of them and ultimately pulled from the San Francisco Frameline Festival.

In subsequent debates, she repeatedly explained that the film was designed to "spark dialog" and even if people disagreed with her, at least they were talking about it.

Well, I've decided to continue the dialog in a format that I believe the quality of the original film and dialog are most deserving of -- a plot driven, political, porn film full of camp, humor, and cheap sci-fi special effects. See the trailer and more of my analysis of the issue under the cut.

In her original statement, Crouch stated:

More and more often we see young heterosexual women carving their bodies into porno Barbie dolls and lesbian women altering themselves into transmen... I am hopeful that this movie will foster discussion about female body modification and medical ethics.

Of course her film never touched on the issue of women using body modification to be "porno Barbie dolls," so her insistence of focusing on "female body modification" in actuality relates only to trans men, a fact which she disputed then contradicted in her follow up director's statement.

This remark is not about transpeople. It is about women... My statement was not meant to question the validity of this condition [transsexuality], but to call attention to the increasing number of young women who are taking testosterone or undergoing voluntary mastectomies to enhance their masculinity. These are women who formerly identified, or would be considered by the lesbian community, as butch lesbians.

Don't trust my cutting of her words? Read both statements in their entirety on her website.

Obviously, I disagree with her on many points, hopefully a few are self-evident from the self-contradictory and factually inaccurate aspects of her statement. But her words echoed fears and concerns that I grew up hearing regularly in a second-wave lesbian feminist family.

She sees people who she identifies with making incredibly different choices and in her fear that they are being coerced, she advances her own form of coercion. By painting trans people with a broad brush (and failing to understand who exactly she is talking about) she is unable to successfully differentiate trans people fighting tooth and nail against a coercive system denying the right to transition, and the boogie-monster of this generation's butch women being turned into men.

Her concerns ignore the reality that many trans men never were lesbians, many are gay men, and plenty are femme. And despite her feminist lens, she ignores the existence of butch trans women and gives all her attention to men -- men who she wishes were butch women.

These issues are important to address. Not because there is any validity to them, but because they are part of the reason so many in our community cling to their ignorance.

Why do so through the medium of pornography? Well, first because that happens to be my craft.  But also because even though her film didn't address the issue, her statement condemns pornography alongside transition. With porn, just like transition, she mis-identifies the problem. Mainstream pornography often perpetuates unhealthy body standards -- as does mainstream magazines, mainstream television, and even mainstream broadcast news. The problem is the content, not the form, of the media.

Alternative porn exists which demonstrates that a wide variety of body types can be incredibly hot, and I wanted to establish exactly that in my film.

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Too hot for Bilerico? Oh holy hell. Now I've got to click.

*puts a cold compress on Bil's forehead*

Haha, Tobi, combining your Queer-chic rhetorical skills and cheesy porn abilities! I love it. But will it be cuming soon to a neighborhood theater near us?

Well, once it's finished I'll be submitting it to all the LGBTQ film festivals I can find -- especially the ones that the Gendercator showed at. I'll also have DVDs for sale on my site ( sometime in April and I'll be getting it out to feminist sex shops wherever I can.

Oh, well Alex just told me that it'd be okay to put it up with a "NSFW" tag, which I did. Hopefully you agree, if not we can change it back.

Tobi. Why is everything you do so awesome? I can't help but yell "Fuck yeah" every time I see you release something!

Also, I've been hunting around for the original gendercator film so I could do some analysis for film class, but haven't been able to find it. Is it only shown at film festivals?

The original Gendercator is only available for sale directly from Catherine Crouch. You need to email her for permission to purchase the film. I do not know her criteria, but I do know of one case where a women studies professor wanted a copy to show in classes and Crouch denied her on the basis that she might criticize the film. I would recommend emailing and either saying nothing about your intention or claim that you are a fan.

Why would a shot of breasts be NSFW? Did I miss something in the video??? Where was the NSFW part? This is a serious question. I saw nothing that was remotely hard core or nude or anything that kids could not watch on tv.

Personally I prefer the tag "Sexually Explicit" over NSFW. It is safe for many people's work, including mine. But that's a simply tag which is readily understood and a standard for Bilerico.

Also, I've previously been told that the line for what's allowed on Bilerico goes right up to depiction of sex acts. So even though there's no genital closeup, the trailer includes multiple sex acts and the build up immediately before orgasm. I gather that it's a bit different with video, however, because people need to click play. Whereas with images they just pop up. So in this case it was allowed, but with an "NSFW" tag.

And in honesty, if your work does not allow viewing porn on work computers, this is a porn trailer, and the audio alone could raise unwanted attention from neighboring coworkers.

"Do you have any lime green eyeshadow?" So glad to have been part of this project!!!


This could sure be a whole hell of a lot funnier, but it seems that knee-jerk politics (announcing itself as "camp" fun) proves once again that it doesn't make for anything to really laugh at.

The film seems to invite its already-convinced audience to laugh at their jokes, but I wonder if they get the punchlines?

My heart's with you, but my laughter ain't. In the meantime I am, as always, available for council.

Hmm, well I did cut this trailer with the intention of communicating the plot and demonstrating elements of the sex scenes, not to showcase the humor. In fact, there is only one punchline in it (the rest is silly perhaps, but not expected to be laughing-type funny), so I'm not surprised that you aren't laughing.

I'm curious about your reaction, though. Most of the punchlines in the film, including the one included in the trailer, are pretty apolitical, based on time travel, spam, or unexpected juxtaposition. Does the mere presence of a political message ruin apolitical jokes for you? Do you just think the one joke in the trailer sucked so much to judge the entire film on? Or did you think that the rest of the trailer was meant to be funny and that's what you're judgment is based on?