Dirty jennies

March 14, 2007

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This is the scene at seven in the morning in the main square of Aalst, Belgium, after the third day of the annual carnival. The town is entirely boarded up – trees and shop-fronts boxed in with plywood – in preparation for the “dirty jennies.” These are men dressed in some weird interpretation of women; cartoon hosiery, skirts and wigs, makeup, all noise. It’s like an inversion of Mardi Gras, with the men as women, wearing fake plastic strap-on tits and heels. It doesn’t really work in reverse, there isn’t a spectacle of women dressed as men. Instead the sight of women dressed like their dates – also made-up in this strange fiction of feminity – is so much more loaded. This last morning is definitely my favorite moment: the post-apocalypse, the historical square in lurid ruins; the energy of the night before spent, in piles of trash and furniture on the streets, and the momentum inverting as the bulldozers and cleaning crews swept through, putting out the fires.

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One Response to “Dirty jennies”


  1. […] Dirty jennies « imagineering This is the scene at seven in the morning in the main square of Aalst, Belgium, after the third day of the annual carnival. (tags: Strange European event article) […]


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