BUZZKILL is a poetic performance and documentary short film from 2016 that was originally live-streamed on Facebook as well as screened live at Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery in Atlanta, GA.
Shane Dedman (they/he) performs a shaving ritual with the intention of auto-proposed commitment to existing outside the binary of gender. Two years prior to the performance, Dedman came out as non-binary. From a transgender perspective, BUZZKILL represents a catalyst to tear the chrysalis of socialized gender so that a new pith may have room to form.
Should I shave my head? This decision has been a prolonged internal battle. I’ve played out the consequences in my head, all the various reactions to my decision.
I think about my family. My Southern Nana has strong ideals of womanhood which all stem from the expectation of marriage. To her, women should always maintain a feminine presentation in order to please and keep men.
I think about my father. He still calls me his “little girl” because I was brought into this world as his last child and only “girl”. He prefers for me to call him Daddy even at the age of 22. He tells me what hair color he prefers on me and how I should always keep it longer than my shoulder blades. He tells me what weight I look best at.
I think about my mother. She does her hair and puts on makeup every single day, regardless of if she has anywhere to go. She can’t stand to look at her own aging face in the mirror. I think of her as she prepares to grieve my abuser’s painful death.
I think of my lovers. Some are completely supportive of my every move, but I fear some of them may no longer be attracted to me. Latent ideals of femininity and idolization of the female form as an object contribute to this – messages so easily internalized within all genders of this culture.
I think of the male gaze as it falls upon me. Losing a symbolic crown, I push myself into an uncomfortable position of visibility. My face will be completely exposed – full expression, full awareness, heightened senses. Will this bring me more violence daily? If so, why would I bringing this upon myself?
Through this act, my hair will be renewed. My hair has been continuously dyed for 5 years now, as a means of conforming to various female archetypes. Why have I been hiding for so long– presenting and performing to survive? I wonder at what point in life I started to care so much.
My worries boil down to the existence of adversity within other minds than my own. Brought up as a woman, I’ve been taught to validate other’s opinions before my own, fully assessing the situation so I may satisfy everyone and keep the peace. Often times my vulnerability and emotional strength is viewed as a weakness, as conquerable, as an invitation to the place I live –my body. It is a power of mine to make people comfortable around me because I know so deeply what it is like to feel like you’re detached from your body.
As a pansexual polyamorous gender queer human being, I seek a non-hierarchical form of love where love is any small gesture that you put your heart into for another person. I am not filled with hate. I have been filled with silence for too long and this is my resolve to keep the peace standing within myself.
I’m not bringing anything upon myself. I am not asking for it. Whatever happens to me as result of this decision does not belong to me. What belongs to me is this home, my body, that I inhabit everyday and my free will to make decisions like this as I please.
I need to start over. I am mourning the loss of complacency, of passivity. I am mourning the loss of innocent and kind femininity. I am mourning the loss of silence and forcefully taking accountability of myself. I am mourning the loss of my care taking tendencies, and acknowledging that I am not responsible for others’ feelings. I am mourning the absence of strong female role models within my life. I am mourning the absence of dense complexity within representation of the female. I am shedding the labels of victimization. I now recognize the strength of my conviction to say “no.” No one will take care of me but myself. I am willing to risk discomfort in order to push myself in the direction of creation. I refuse to idle in a contemplative purgatory, built from opinions thrust upon “my small 'female' existence”.
I hope to be confronted so that I may express the fire that has petrified and scorched my tongue previously, leaving only ashes of thought for my mind to process. This gesture is my resolve.