With the help of graphic rulers, grid lines and position trackers on different joints of the body, Arregui seems to want to constitute a scientific system with the aim of clarifying exactly what these effeminate movements consist of, which, being socially reprehensible, do not have an adequate formal description. Ironically, the artist captures and catalogs a gestural typology in order to establish a fair regulation where citizens can learn about the inappropriate body behavior of their sex that their community disapproves of. A way to make visible that series of unwritten norms to conform what society expects of a man.
The series of charts subtitled Nelly, Swish, Blasé and Camp presents measurements on millimeter grids to illustrate the four types of movement according to the categories of effeminacy established by psychotherapist C. A. Tripp in his precursor and controversial book The Homosexual Matrix (1975). In various analyzes of gestures, it is affirmed that traditionally the masculine limits the impulse. Not resisting the impulse entails freeing yourself from the stereotype, ceasing to be a “man”. The masculine attitude is one of composure, while most of the movement and emotion arise outside the subject. A masculine movement is straight, energetic, and contains large, cutaway offsets that oppose undulating, smooth, hesitant, and small. Male hand gestures appear stiff, wrist movements are poor, and the fingers only flex to perform an action and never flapper. The elements of flexibility and animation are not in line with the idea of heteronormative masculinity. The guiding principle for maintaining a masculine image is that a man must remain fixed, as if everything that is curved, fragile or deviated from his behavior hardens under pressure from the outside to become the hardenned man, of few words , the strong and silent type. Within this structuring position of the gender order, feminine movements would be curved and flexible, implying a low predisposition to aggressiveness or resistance and communicating approximation, sweetness or submission, conditions that guarantee the continuity of man’s hegemony within the areas dominant power.
Manu Arregui presents a project in which he investigates codes and connections related to gestures. Taking as motive the hands, the body and the face in movement, the work presents the effeminate movement as activator of the right to dissent and the imbalance of the individual in society due to his sexist imperatives of masculinization. The effeminate gestures in a male are not socially accepted, they are affected by a sign of weakness and superficiality. In all the ways of doing things there are always two versions, the male and the female, in the way of taking a cup or looking at the sky, and there are the unspoken rules to accuse the individual who acts improperly to their sex . This effemophobia is also breathed among some subcultures of the homosexual collective, gays who mold their scenes of public visibility following the dominant regulations, rejecting any manifestation of diversity or discrepancy. This supposes an intolerable alliance with the worst of machismo and misogyny that characterizes totalitarian heteronormative culture, and in essence it is nothing but another form of homophobia in its eagerness to disapprove of effeminate behavior, especially regarding personal and bodily aspects.
History alerts us to how the phobia of effeminacy worsens with the arrival of the economic crises. The world of dance shows a clear example, in the early twentieth century to protect male dance against homophobic disapproval, to spread the idea that men who dance are respectable and not necessarily gay, the renowned choreographer Ted Shawn lashed out against Russian ballets: “America asks for masculinity instead of art”, virility and nationalism against the great depression. Shawn evoked images of Greek sculptures. His motto was energy, humility and bravery. He composed manly, non-sexual dances, the dancers never touched. Later, some prestigious modern choreographers found protection for their homosexual condition by neutralizing the masculine and feminine, the sexual connotations, focusing on abstract properties such as space, time and movement. Modern dance creates an antisexual environment, with a masculine rationality that distinguished it from the interior digs of its female colleagues. In this case the meaning would not be in the psychological implications of body movement but in the physical characteristics of the movement itself. Merce Cunningham stated about his own choreography: “There are no symbols, no stories, no psychological problems. There is simply an activity of movement, sound and light”. For a century, choreographers and dancers have cultivated a dance that responds to emotions and forms, but not to sexual impulses. A conjuncture of veiled conservative moralism intermittently shaken by the action of different gay liberation movements and the AIDS crisis, propitiators of new political, ethical and aesthetic manifestations.