Andreja pejic reddit
It's no secret that transgender people are the identity du jour right now. When we're not having our safety systematically attacked or our very right to exist questioned, we're adorning book andreja covers, TV screens, and awards shows around the world with grace and dignity.
Just last week, Vogue Paris released a cover shoot with transgender model Valentina Sampaio, which they remarked is "changing the face of fashion and deconstructing prejudice".
But is it really? It's not exactly a new phenomenon for transgender women to grace magazine covers and catwalks, with Vanity Fair, Marie Claire, Elle and Time featuring the likes of Andreja Pejic, Hari Nef, Laverne Cox and others. Indeed, Vogue Paris itself has previously run multiple spreads and features on a range of transgender women.
Despite this, Emmanuelle Alt, editor-in-chief for the issue, writes "only when a transgendered (sic) person poses on the front cover of a fashion magazine and it is no longer necessary to write an editorial on the subject will we know that the battle is won", as if she dreams of a day she can put a transgender model on a cover and not draw attention to it. Given she chooses to point it out though, she's clearly decided we're not there yet.
Posturing as pushing for positive change while still participating in the very past one admonishes isn't rare – allies have long appreciated that lip service is free. But in light of the right wing climate of anti-transgender sentiment, transphobic and damaging rhetoric from publicly elected figures and in some cases even the active legislation away from transgender rights, it feels a little sour.
Even without the wider context, it complicates the issue when the women we celebrate and lift up as our heroes not only fit but inadvertently set the narrow and constrictive feminine ideal that society deems necessary for transgender women to achieve (and punishes them for failing to meet). It's a faux ultra-womanhood that many cisgender women would laugh at for themselves, yet turn around and impose on their transgender sisters.
Take the unveiling of Caitlyn Jenner's "new look" in Vanity Fair. Although certainly raising awareness, it's easy to see how a publicised event like that can also set unrealistic standards for many trans folk without access to hormones or housing, let alone millions of dollars, stylist teams and reality TV air time.
And while it's understandable for the media to draw attention to those with looks or fame, this also creates unachievable goalposts for what is already a community at high risk of discrimination.
In her book Redefining Realness, Janet Mock points out how such assumptions and expectations constrict us, saying "the work begins by each of us recognising that cis people are not more valuable or legitimate, and that trans people who blend as cis are not more valuable or legitimate".
The notion of "passing" sets up a dichotomy in which a person can either pass (i.e. be read by others as cisgender), or they can fail. Where "passing" is the only road to acceptance, success relies on being able to mask the fact that one is transgender. But gender isn't an exam, or even a trick question.
In the same way that a cisgender person may exist and present themselves in varying states of masculinity, femininity and androgyny as they see fit at any given time (for example, a butch cis woman is nevertheless still a woman), so does a transgender person. Our gender isn't defined by our appearance, and it doesn't have a failing grade.
Mock recognises that her ability to "blend as cis" is a conditional privilege that "does not negate the fact that I experience the world as a trans woman (with my own fears, insecurities, and body-image issues) no matter how attractive people may think I am".
I too live with the conditional privilege of "passing" as cisgender, and it's important to recognise that – especially in light of many in our community that don't have that or other privileges. Being able to "pass" is less about appeasing feminine beauty ideals, and more about safety and acceptance. Being visibly different can often be dangerous. There is much about us that we can't choose but which nevertheless affects how we exist, andreja pejic reddit how we're perceived, how we're treated.
This isn't to place blame on transgender women who meet (or indeed surpass) societal beauty standards, but to recognise that their relationship with public perception is important.
It isn't our job, as transgender people, to take the lead in changing beauty standards. I don't inherently have a problem with fashion magazines showing off beautiful people. But by only publicising beautiful transgender people who fit the already exceptionally narrow standard of feminine beauty, they cannot truly claim to be "deconstructing prejudice" or breaking down barriers. When transgender people don't fit the standard of beauty set by magazines that claim to be celebrating us, the consequences can be violent.
In the same way that we don't expect cisgender women to look like Kim Kardashian or Tyra Banks, or blame them for not being so, we shouldn't expect transgender women to to meet an often unattainable standard to be taken seriously, respected or to be safe.
All models represent an exception in the range of human appearance, and transgender models are no different: stunning, maybe even a little bit revolutionary at times, but not the standard by which we should measure others.
The mark of progress, of "deconstructing prejudice", can't just be lip service and glossy pages. It has to be measured by whether their presence affects change and action, and how that change supports those not represented: the trans folk without access to medical coverage or resources, the trans folk with bodies that don't fit literal model-like proportions, non-binary folk and so many others.
It's through our diversity that we find the beauty in community. That doesn't happen automatically, but we can definitely start by not judging that community by its cover girl.
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Some call it a handkerchief, some a hankie, some a pockerchief. I like to name it the pocket.