Issues, I’ve got them today.
Let’s just start with the first and try to work through them. I apologize for the chaos of this post in advance. Call it a sign of the times.
First on the list, transness and beauty. These things are really confusing. Women, in general, want to be pretty. This isn’t news. There has, obviously, been a push over the last ten years or so to separate worth from beauty, in regard to women. Women wish to be allowed to be attractive and taken seriously at the same time.
It seems that the two cannot coexist in the real world. We are all constantly being reminded that beautiful women are airheads despite repeated and consistent evidence to the contrary.
It would seem that the world would prefer that we ignore these examples and focus on the ones they prefer. Super models are dumb and smart girls are frumpy and wear glasses. This issue becomes ever more complicated when transness is introduced. I will try to address, as best I can, the flip side (male) of this later.
Transness, that is to say femininity as it pertains to transness, seems measured by attractiveness. Arguably, many trans women simply aren’t as… feminine in appearance as biological women. This isn’t a surprise and I suppose something most people wouldn’t want to simply state for fear of offending. However, recently I’ve noticed that attractiveness has the benefit of validating transwomen in the eyes of ‘normal’ people.
A transwoman that ‘passes beautifully’ is… it seems… invariably more female. They’re seen as… "better women."
I find myself upset by this because, in some way, it will diminish my own experience. You may call this self-consciousness or low self-esteem if you wish but the fact is I’ll likely never be conventionally pretty. Arguably, remaining male would result in a more consistently favorable opinion of my attractiveness. That is to say: I’m a better-looking man than woman. This is just a fact. Unfortunately.
I hope to, eventually, turn the tide on this to some degree but realistically this isn’t likely. Surgeries and cosmetic procedures are expensive and there just isn’t much call for blogger/artists with a penchant for complaining. There’s a lot of that, already.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is, it is an unfortunate and basic fundamental fact of our society that beauty is both validating and undermining. Are beautiful transwomen less intelligent than frumpy transwomen? I’m arguably frumpy. I’ll probably never be anything other than frumpy. I suppose some would argue I’m intelligent so the whole scenario just stands to reason. Right?
None of it makes any actual, logical sense. I’m not all that intelligent and beautiful transwomen could easily be brilliant. The difficulties facing us in the years to come are there being relatively few individuals to survey, bias of observers and the constant, rampant sexism we all have come to know.
Transwomen have to deal with being seen as both men and women. The same could be said for transmen, for the record. They, I’m sure, see perhaps analogous issues. Being seen as having strong bodies and lots of facial hair would… I assume… translate to increased ‘masculine credibility.’ Is a transman that has a patchy beard less of a man than a transman sporting braided chin hair?
Is a man with a patchy beard less of a man?
The reality is, no. But the perception is entirely divorced from reality.
It is as if society obeys a kind of quantum physics of behavior.
Bell’s theorem is pretty complicated, to say the least, but in a nut shell explains that light passing through two polarized filters which are aligned 90 degrees to each other is entirely stopped but adding a third filter allows the light to pass through and this must, according to the theory, be the result of non-local (that is to say not realist or local) physical effects which are not related to ‘variables’ associated with the particle/waves themselves.
That’s still really complicated, but the idea is that somehow this third filter shouldn’t result in any light passing through since the first two blocked out 100% of the light, but does, regardless. It’s entirely counterintuitive. Science is often counterintuitive but in this case, seems… almost willfully disregarding common sense.
Actually, one should say natural phenomena disregards common sense. Science is simply the discovery and description of those phenomena. But… colloquially, people are stupid.
Logically, there is no true correlation between beauty and intelligence but socially… somehow… the stereotypes get all jumbled up. Which, inevitably leads to articles you find at three am stating how amazing it is that this pretty woman did a smart thing or praising a relatively unattractive person for being seen, somehow, as attractive in some way. We’ve seen it. We are drawn to these things as hope for ourselves because the majority of people aren’t, in any way, all that attractive. Most people, I hate to say it, are kinda gross, especially with no clothes on.
That’s my opinion, of course, but an opinion most of us subscribe to, whether we like it or not. That’s the thing no one wants to say, isn’t it? Most of us are ugly.
Pornography, fashion and the Hollywood machine churn out constant reminders of our own physical incapacity. Either our weakness in conflict, our lack of large (often impossibly perfect) breasts, our lack of perfect diction and the fact that we don’t all know how to hack every computer system imaginable while solving ten major crimes and not even getting a scuff on our coat.
And why do we put up with it? One would think, in some way, we would stop consuming media that makes us feel inadequate, but the reality is just the opposite. Once again, we’re facing a convolution of reality and common sense. It would stand to reason that if you don’t wish to feel less than other people the best approach would be to stop comparing yourself to them
That’s what all your best girlfriends say, isn’t it? “Well, yeah, you’d have hair like that too if you were rich and on television.” So, people start falling into camps of thought.
The ‘accept yourself as you are’ camp and the ‘always be improving’ camp. One side says “You’re beautiful on the inside and your outsides are just trivial but also beautiful.” The other side says “You can work out, get surgery, get education, wear makeup and spend a lot of time trying to be pretty even if it’s hopeless, because you’re improving.”
Both sides are irrational.
Some people, no matter how much plastic surgery they get, just are going to always be sort of unattractive.
There was this show, I saw part of it on Netflix a while back, about ‘Embarrassing bodies.’ It might have even been called that. I don’t actually recall and at the moment am too lazy to look it up. I’m in a thought stream here, back off.
The premise was that doctors would go around to different locations and give people medical advice ‘without judgements’ and I was immediately taken aback by this.
“Oh, so they’re just going to do their fucking job and not make you feel like a fat, nasty piece of shit for your trouble? Like a fucking professional? Weird. That almost never happens.”
That might have fallen out of my mouth as I switched off the program. I’ll neither confirm nor deny this.
This judgement of other people, this… you are less or more… mentality… is what keeps me from just being accepted as is. I can’t just be me because somehow, what I am, reflects on other people. My gender issues somehow diminish the experience of others. Being trans is somehow an attack on their way of life by virtue of not being on an equitable comparison chart. Am I pretty for a woman or attractive for a guy? Am I ugly for a man or ugly for woman? Am I ugly? Am I pretty… as a person?
The question begged is: does what I think about myself matter? Does how I feel about my inner-self even important to anyone but me? Does it factor into my attractiveness?
They say confidence is important but… is it? Or is it more that being attractive leads to confidence and in that way confidence is misleading when placed where it doesn’t belong? A kind… brain hack? The peacock with the short feathers but the big walk? Or the pretty peahen that finds the peacock boring?
I guess, ultimately, all I want is to be validated as being worthy as a person. I want to be pretty but money is very likely to prevent that and my own feelings that I’m not really worth the work will probably stunt progress. Though I do hope to progress. I wish I was less… self-defeating. I feel as if that’s my greatest impediment. Doesn’t matter, though. In the long run, my nose is too big, my face is pock marked, I haven’t got breasts and I don’t know if I’ll ever have a vagina. For now, I have a body I resent and fear to see in full or in part with my own eyes for the pain and disconnected ache that would result.
I am… for lack of better phrasing… incomplete. Hopefully not permanently.
The next problem (yes, we seriously only got through problem number one) is the political climate today. This garbage is just getting worse and it doesn’t seem like it’s letting up any time soon.
Trump has attacked virtually everyone. Corker has taken the gloves off and called a liar a liar without ‘the L word’. No, he really said something, to the effect of “I was raised not to use the L word.”
Like… his parents raised him not to call people liars? What if they lied? Were his parents that messed up? I honestly don’t know and couldn’t truly comment on it, not that it would matter, but that’s how it struck me.
Rep. Al Green (No, seriously) went up to defend Frederica Wilson whom, over the last few days has been called every name in the book except, as he put it, “an honorable woman”.
The speech was inspiring, heartfelt and needed. In some ways she has a similar issue as mine. She dresses differently and has honest opinions and convictions, which in this world is tantamount to being a space alien.
If you don’t know her, she tends to wear cowboy hats color and style matched to her outfits. So, if she’s wearing a yellow dress coat and skirt with silver embellishments, her hat is similarly adorned. She’s just that kind of person. She likes how she looks and apparently so do her voters because it’s nothing new for her. Some could, I suppose, say it’s… eccentric. But certainly no more so than maintaining a combover of fifteen doll hairs and perpetual spray tans.
Trump has modified the social discussion in very unhealthy ways. Suddenly we’re all sniping at each other based on appearance. I even noticed myself doing it and certainly in the past I never would have done so… I never felt like I had room to talk…
He’s infected the national discourse, fed it through filters of ignorance, hatred and then lies and somehow instead of being blocked out… they emerge, beyond reason or logic… I’m frankly tired of it. This isn’t a revolutionary thought. Trump simply speaks from a place of base instinct (likely the only functional parts of his brain) and this translates to the initial and most virulent impulses of the electorate. Whether you love him or hate him, you’re talking about him.
I hate it. I don’t want to talk about his ignorant, wasteful and spiteful ways anymore. I want better topics, happier words and a more hopeful future.
But, much like my prospects of being beautiful, shit isn’t bright.
This is me trying to elevate the conversation. This me bring our national discourse up a notch. This me trying to inject some much needed metaphorical Narcan into the opiated masses. My art, my words and my person may never be useful or necessary but I give them despite that, despite the potential for spite. In fear, in virtual hiding, surrounded by those who don’t understand or want me, I say: “Fuck it, I’m pretty, bitch”