i will always defend the beauty of twoc
March 1, 2014
that little thing yesterday with an (apparently) white trans woman saying that it is unnecessary and unreasonable to assert that ‘trans women are the most beautiful” and that is harmful to assert that ‘trans women are more beautiful than cis women” still has me somewhat irritated today.
no joke, i think my earliest experience with seeing a trans woman in the media is ace ventura. wherein he vomits and all sorts of other stuff after kissing this woman, who was played by a cis woman.
if you look at the picture, she isn”t an ugly woman. at all. not even with 90s hair.
but the thing is, is that i do understand that a lot of people (trans women included) don”t quite understand just why this absolute disgust that mainstream media (and actual human beings) continuously express towards the bodies of trans women is a significant problem.
the politics of desirability are convoluted and tough (and super fucking emoitional for a lot of people — and for good reason). we can look at something like the okcupid analysis of who gets responses… we can see that most undesirable (within this analysis) are Black women and Asian men.
Okay. This reality is also evident in popular media as well as the experiences of the individuals who belong to either category.
I know that some do talk about the undesirability of trans women… but i really think that this misses the mark. the problem isn”t that we are undiserable, but that we are disgusting (while, yes, also being hypersexualized). and, as with all things, this compounds when you start talking about twoc — particularly as applies to the intersection of Blackness and trans womanhood.
i don”t think i”ve seen many people explore this disgust and the moral/ethical/social implications of it.
These studies suggest that there is a tight relationship between our sense of moral purity and the emotion of disgust. Violations of our sense of moral purity lead us to feel the emotion of disgust. When we experience the emotion of disgust, we also change our judgments of the moral purity of others.
The disgust that a transmisogynist society imbues into the bodies of twoc is closely connected to why/how we experience so much violence. Why we are such targets of violent rhetoric and why 99% of the people who oppress us cannot be reasoned with.
Because you can”t reason with a feeling of disgust. Even if you manage to successfully address the moral judgements that result from this disgust, it is nearly impossible to actively (via words) change a person”s feeling of disgust they have for our bodies.
Like. Disgust is why so much about the oppression of twoc appears so extreme and amplified. Because this disgust literally causes negative opinions/thoughts/moral judgements to be compounded and more harsh than they might otherwise be.
And this is why combating this notion of the disgusting hideousness of twoc bodies is critical for improving our lives. no, it won”t (on its own) dismantle transmisogyny and free us from it. but it will — immediately and right away — have a massive positive impact on our overall safety and wellbeing.
Because maybe if we reduce/eliminate the disgust for our bodies, the next time someone discovers our ‘trap” maybe it won”t result in a murderous rage. maybe if we get rid of disgust, we”ll finally be able to move beyond the fucking bathroom debate.1
the issue of trans women and beauty isn”t just about desirability (even though it def. factors). it is about this connection between disgust and moral judgement. it is about the connection between disgust and the violence twoc experience.
saying ‘trans women are the most beautiful” is uncomfy for a lot of people because we are disgusting. it is like saying maggots are cute. like dog shit looks delicious.2
so. yeah. i”ll fucking defend the beauty of twoc for as long as i have breath in my lungs because it fucking matters. and, tbh, i don”t give a fuck what anyone has to say about ‘competition” ‘reinforcing normative beauty standards” or whatever the fuck. because those critiques miss the point by a kilometre.
because when we are talking about bodies so disgusting they make people puke, we aren”t talking about beauty. not talking about aesthetics. not talking about attraction. or desirability. not talking about sexualization (or desexualization).
we”re talking about disgust. and how this obliges cis ppl to do what they can to eliminate us so that they no longer have to be exposed to our disgusting, horrible bodies.