Gender-bending music videos
Sure, boys in bands have been dabbling with eyeliner for decades. And pioneering pop stars like Madonna and Marilyn Manson have taken cross-dressing to wild and wildly successful heights. Now younger artists who've habitually played it straight are (gender) bending it like Bowie in their latest videos. So, how do they compare to their predecessors? We asked a pro, NYC-based drag comedian Hedda Lettuce, to judge their efforts.
Beyoncé, ''Upgrade U''
The Look Ms. B goes B-boy scraped-back hair, baggy jeans, and masculine sneer to impersonate boyfriend (and guest star) Jay-Z in her ode to high-class living. Hedda's Verdict ''I think she's kind of playing it safe, giving you Beyoncé but without the weave. I can tell she was nervous. She's much more comfortable when she's shaking her boobies and booty. Still, it's Beyoncé; she's a brand, a cover girl, a movie star. So for trying to do the gender thing, I give her a solid B.''
Ciara, ''Like a Boy''
The Look Do-rag, wifebeater, and major (fake) tattoos in one guise; fedora, swank suit, and boyish cornrows in another her way of flipping the script on dating double standards. Hedda's Verdict ''I can smell the masculinity coming off of her! She's kind of Michael Jackson-ish, like that video when he smashes the windows [1991's ''Black or White'']. She's channeling that, a little bit of Prince, a little Usher, and she does it very naturally. She went for it! I would give her an A.''
The Killers, ''Read My Mind''
The Look The Las Vegas boys hit the streets of Tokyo and go native in geisha dress, though only drummer Ronnie Vannucci does the full makeup and wig. Hedda's Verdict ''A bearded geisha? Well, I'm sure you could charge a few more yen for that. It seemed like they did it with a little bit of shame. The poor drummer looks depressed. Dave Grohl does it so much better [in videos]. He commits to it. These guys are amateurs. I'll say an A for effort, but a D for execution.''