This past week, there has been issues circulating around gender and normative beauty standards. The Vanity Fair Cover of “Call Me Caitlyn” started many great discussions about gender and what it means to be a “woman” and who can be a woman. I have written about trans women before and I’m elated to see the cover of Vanity Fair magazine starting this conversation on a mainstream level. I’m pretty sure it feels surreal to so many trans men and women to see these types of discourses taking place and people centering them around for the very first time.
One of the aspects of Caitlyn is her ability to have a “cis normative” beauty standard which most people can’t adhere to. Her ability to look the way she does and be a trans woman have made her accepted in a world which values the white, cis-normative beauty standards. The way she has garnered this much attention and is accepted is so beautiful to me, but I don’t want her shine to take away the beauty of so many other trans women as well as trans men who don’t have the ability or the money to look like her. As Laverne Cox, another trans woman who stars in the hit Netflix show, Orange is the New Black, beautifully put it on her tumblr page, Caitlyn should serve as a basis for us to start talking about the many trans men and women who are invisible, and who don’t have the access to transition, or the ability to live life in the ways they desire to. We should especially be concerned about poor trans people of color since they are the ones who suffer the most and are at the bottom of the hierarchy.
Another interesting aspect that I noted because of Caitlyn’s visibility is people’s interest in her looks, and only her looks. All of a sudden, people stopped being interested in other aspects of her life i.e. the life she will lead after this, the new identity she has come to embrace, her family, etc. Time and time again, she kept getting reduced to her looks. Everything she does now has been tied to her looks and her beauty. As Jon Stewart put it beautifully, before the transition occurred many aspects of Caitlyn’s life mattered, the fact that she was an athlete and a family person, her political ideologies, and so on and so forth, her looks weren’t the only central identity she had. After the transition, people almost reduced her to her body parts, she is now her hair, eyes, jaw lines, face, body, etc. Her physical attributes were the only aspect that mattered to people. People also went as far as comparing her to other women, and denouncing other women who were “less physically appealing” than her.
As you can see, there were many discussions concerning Caitlyn this past week. Some were very progressive and some not so much. I value people’s opinions in this matter and the most important thing for me was the fact that this grabbed people’s attention in the ways that it did, generating discourse. I really valued that. I also was able to see that some were simply trying to understand the transition process while others were talking about it from a personal stand point. I was able to conclude that this was society’s way of moving forward. Although, I was upset some people continually mis-gendered Caitlyn after being told many times of her preferred pronouns, I thought it was also a start that they actually acknowledged her. This was indeed a huge moment for Caitlyn as well as for the whole trans community.
I love seeing people heal in so many ways especially those who have always felt invisible to society. Activism Fusion wants to give a huge shout out to Caitlyn Jenner for breaking the internet and coming out to us in this huge way. Also, Laverne Cox who wasn’t afraid to delve deep and talk about these issues concerning the trans community especially poor trans people of color. Way to go Caitlyn and Laverne. Continue the fight. This is huge and I’m very excited to see society moving towards this incredible direction. Be you. Stay you and Honor you.
Peace and Love,