We were talking about gender roles and performative acts of gender constitution (from Joan Riviere's "Womanliness as a Masquerade" to Judith Butler's Gender Trouble) in class last week, and I decided to show a clip from Jennie Livingston's amazing 1990 documentary, Paris is Burning. In the film, Livingston showcases the underground, urban gay/drag club scene which popularized voguing (and, yes, it's this club scene that inspired Madonna).
Anyway, searching out a good clip to show from Livingston's film reminded me of my favorite 80s band, The Eurythmics, and their 1982 MTV scandal. In an interview I heard a while back, lead singer Annie Lennox explained that the still-relatively-new MTV banned the band's music video (for the song "Love is a Stranger, below) because they couldn't tell whether Lennox was really a woman or a man dressed in drag. Apparently gender ambiguity was not cool with MTV back in the early 80s; they obviously got over that pretty quickly.
Reminiscing about The Eurythmics sent me on a whirlwind trip down memory lane, which I thought I'd share with you here. Here's one of their most bizarre (and, in my opinion, awesome) videos, for their 1987 song "Beethoven (I Love To Listen To)":
And, because it would be severely remiss for me not to post this, especially relevant, video, here's Aretha Franklin and Annie Lennox singing their 1985 hit "Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves":