Androgyny Should be Okay

In the readings, I noticed a lot of ambivalence surrounding the subjects of gender, passing, and transitioning.  The main idea that Julia Serano suggested in her “Trans-misogyny primer,” that trans female spectrum people have it harder as stereotypically feminine characteristics seem to be deemed inferior, got me looking on Reddit for trans feminine specific news.

I found this article about a “First Lingerie Line for Transgender Women”:  http://www.lingerietalk.com/2012/03/26/lingerie-news/were-done-hiding-a-first-lingerie-line-for-transgendered-women.html

Throughout the article you can find examples of trans-misogyny reflective of our culture.  For instance, the co-founder of the line states, “Speaking from personal experience, I found no products that specifically cater to transgender women.  There are some things for cross-dressers and drag queens, but they’re all sexually exploitative.”

It is sad to state, but this doesn’t surprise me.  It’s no shock to see that this is the first line of lingerie with some degree of class, given the cultural image of drag queens present in our culture.  I almost talked about a clip from Anger Management of Woody Harrelson playing as Galaxia, the transsexual female prostitute, for this blog assignment, but instead I’ll just make a mention of it.  In the scene, numerous transsexual women are portrayed as being prostitutes with crazy hair and makeup, Galaxia is clearly a joke character with an overly flamboyant voice and behavior that flashes Adam Sandler for fun.  Sadly this is an image that the media often portrays of trans women.

But this article also got me thinking along the points of Jamison Green’s article, “Look!  No, Don’t!”  The women in the pictures advertising the lingerie are extremely feminine in appearance and clearly passable.  His argument that as a trans person becomes more “successful” as portraying their supposed gender as policed by culture, the trans community becomes more invisible rang through to me while reading this article.  He argues that as a trans person, one often becomes even more gender-policed and androgyny is seen as a sort of failure.

I think it is good to give people options, as this lingerie line clearly does, but as most things do, it has its drawbacks of continuing the polarity of genders.  Despite this downfall, it does bring attention to trans women as being regular people and not freaks or prostitutes as well.  I think it would be awesome if our culture could recognize gender as being fluid, and that androgyny is perhaps more natural than hyper-femininity or masculinity.  We need more options, more acceptance, and people to generally feel that they can be themselves without feeling that they are being policed by societal restrictions.

-Chrissy Goss

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