Tag Archives: Khadijah Queen

Two Books About Beauty: Khadijah Queen’s I’m So Fine and Sarah Jean Grimm’s Soft Focus

Khadijah Queen and Sarah Jean Grimm

“A very flat-chested woman is very hard to be a ten.” As we all know by now, the President of the United States said those words on the Howard Stern Show in the nineties. I still can’t get past that. I’m not sure if it’s because our president, like most middle school boys, believes in a rating system where women are appraised based on their physical traits, or if it’s because, as a flat-chested woman, I’m bummed I’m not a “ten.” I know that’s a sick thing to think, but of course being feminist doesn’t mean one is entirely free from the intense ideological beauty standards of our society. I think this is what it’s like to be an intelligent, feminist woman today: you can recognize the bullshit, you can feel angry, and you can also want to be recognized within that admittedly-bullshit system as a desirable object. I’m So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On by Khadijah Queen and Soft Focus by Sarah Jean Grimm are two brilliant new poetry books that simultaneously celebrate and eviscerate the complicated landscape of American womanhood. While both books explore the traditional trappings of femininity—makeup, clothing, hairstyles—along with our newer gendered societal norms—selfies, Instagram, clickbait, celebrity culture—on a deeper level, Khadijah Queen and Sarah Jean Grimm each peel back the layers of multiple selves, masks, and metaphorical armor most women wear every day in order to simply survive.

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Culture Shifts & Switches in Khadijah Queen’s New Play, Non-Sequitur

Image via theaterlabnyc.com

Khadijah Queen’s new play “Non-Sequitur,” winner of the 2014 Leslie Scalapino Award for Innovative Women Performance Writers, is a cutting rearrangement of stereotypes surrounding desire, identity politics, and the ways in which perception mediates relationships, delivered via shifting characters (often entities) lobbing short lines. Character examples include “THE BLONDE INSTITUTION,” “THE BROWN VAGINA,” “THE 40% DISCOUNT,” “THE EXULTANT EXOTIFIER,” and “THE WEEKEND YOGA CLASS.”

The result is a mordant, slapstick skewering whose main mechanism is the multiplicity of identities and channels of communication in the late-capitalist racist world—particularly the art world—and an exploration of how fucked and unsurprising these representations invariably shake out to become.
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