Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Let's Hear It For The Girl / Caneface

I love Jodie Foster. She's super smart, surpasses mere lesbian chic with her lesbian couture style, has made some amazing films (the latest woman-in-peril contributions to her oeuvre notwithstanding), and, as it turns out, is fluent in French and can sing.

Since I also love the French language (it's totally useless but sounds great), you can only imagine how awesome I thought the following video from 1978 is:





Now since we've got Jodie on the brain (in three separate pant-based outfits, no less), I want to use her in a vocabulary lesson.

There is this great NYC-based gay forum called
The Datalounge that is good readin'. I've been checking it out for close to eight years now (if you thought for some reason I wasn't a full internet geek despite the fact that I BLOG, you are mistaken). It's smart, grammatically-correct and bitchy, and is actually super-informative on politics, gay history and celebrity gossip. For instance, one highlight was a play-by-play during the attacks of 9/11 - it was actually more informative about what was happening than the news at times. Another highlight was the creation of the word caneface.

Now you may or may not be familiar with the expressions gayface or carbface (if not, read up at the links), but caneface is not defined on UrbanDictionary. Its genesis is complicated, but it appears to have started at the Datalounge web site.

It began with the observation that lesbians often carry canes. I'm not talking field-hockey type sporty young lesbians, but rather feminist/mother gaia/mentrual hut type older lesbians. It may seem a weird observation, but now that I've brought it up I need you to start paying attention. You'll see it's true. Shit, just go to Ann Arbor and look around.


A statue of Ben Franklin or lesbian with a cane? It's hard to tell.

(PS - Don't Google Image "lesbian" & "cane."
There are some disturbing Christmas-themed images out there
.)


After an indeterminate period of "lesbian with a cane" jokes and sightings, gayface had made its way into the vernacular (see Jay Manuel from ANTM or that guy from Extreme Makeover Home Edition for examples). Never ones to leave their lesbian sistren (it's a word) out of the stereotyping game, caneface made its debut and caught on quickly as a way to describe a woman who looks lesbish.

It's tough to say what the characteristics of caneface are specifically, although they seem to involve a slight kind of harshness about the features, maybe a bit of toughness around the eyes and mouth, something that says "I want a fish taco."

It does not preclude being beautiful by any means, but it's never a conventional beauty. And it is also not necessarily a characteristic of all lesbians, since Ellen DeGeneres seems exempt from the phenomenon. (And for the sake of covering my ass, not everyone with caneface is necessarily a lesbian. Allegedly.)

But as you can see from the photos below, there is a little something in those faces that says lesbian, and it's not totally tied to the hairstyle.


The Faces of Cane

Anyway, I hope you will incorporate caneface into your life, because it's a handy term. And fun to use. And really, totally harmless, unless you think there is something bad about being called a lesbian. In which case you are a total asshole.

2 comments:

darren said...

is that clay aiken in the 4th square?

Anonymous said...

I once had a dear friend who had caneface, and then she died.

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