Friday, February 27, 2009

Assorted Real World Ramblings

Anywho. So I've been watching this season of the real world because I wanted to see how the transgender kid was going to get treated, both on the show by her cast members, and by the unwashed masses. And now I just spend most of the episodes cringing, and then feeling bad that I was cringing.

And then I go and read the comments below the episodes on MTV, and I make comments at people that end up getting removed because of how vitriolic I get at the stupid hateful things people say.

It's a terrible cycle.
My reactions are thus:

-To Katelynn: I think she's a pretty normal girl for the most part. But if I had to live with her, there would be blood. She drives me crazy. I don't like how she walks aroud the apartment with all of her roommates there, in pretty unflattering underwear. I actually agree with her housemates, even if not their reasons for saying it, "put some damn pants on". She just in general seems to be very inconsiderate of the people around her, and so just as a person that makes me absolutely crazy. I also was not keen on how she completely flipped her speech style in episode 8. Or how she became a complete psycho. CHILLL!!!! I dunno. It's painful to watch her insecurities play out on that kind of scale, she's not that great with people in general. And I guess the plus side of all of this is that none of it reaaaally is to do with her gender status. Like I said, for the most part she's pretty normal, and it seems like most of the cast members have chilled out about things. Oh yeah and seriously, what was up with that pole dancing bs in the gettysburg episode?

-To MTV: I know the whole point of her being there is to educate people about transgender issues. But if there could be more moments where she's just chilling, and not being asked about her gender status, that'd be neato. It's gotten very one note. we completely lost the plot thread from the beginning of the season about her boyfriend, which is a shame, because it was way more humanizing.

-To the Cast: Everyone needs to chill out. Jeez. They argue over the most petty things, and no one is all that interesting. Chet and Ryan is the best thing about this season. Even if both of them are also dumb as bricks. They mostly make me laugh. And the editing MTV has done to make them the couple of this season is pretty fantastic. There's a serious bromance going on here.

Yeah I feel dumb for wasting a blog about the real world. But this is how I roll.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Paradox of Transgender Fashion

The paradox of transgender fashion, and this applies mostly to MTF, FTM, and some C/D folk, but I suppose could apply to androgynes too. But I think it's mostly to the other three categories of the transgender community. At any rate, the paradox is thus: Because of the society driven need for gender based markers to mark out one's identity in the world(the gist of which is the incredibly boiled down age old "boys wear blue, girls wear pink"), a person who is transgendered in order to be properly recognized in the gender in which they are living, are required to gender their fashion in very concrete black and white ways. The paradox of this is that a lot of fashion, has moved toward androgenous concepts for the past several decades. So that while a trans person is wearing these very gendered clothes in order to mark their gender, they are pulled out of the normalcy of that gender, by that very act of having to dress in extremely gendered ways.

And the thing is, this is often an internal pressure that is pedaled in by the insecurities that society pushes into the transgendered person, that anything that is left indefinite or ambigious with their fashion, is taken by society to mean that they are not fully committed to their transition.

What this results in, more often than not, is a kind of hyper-gendered fashion sense that often times gets blocked into the extreme fringes. This of course creates the stereotype of the transgender woman(I think because women's fashion has the greatest play in it in terms of gendernessnessness, which I think is probably tied a lot into how greatly women's roles in society have changed over just the last 50-60 years) who is in someways outed by the outlandishness of her fashion choices, which she makes generally out of an intense desire to eliminate the confusion of her gender. This is not always the case, it's just the stereotype that you see in movies and popular culture--it's the general view that a lot of the populace has of transgender people. Which, it's not good or bad, depending on how the look is being owned.

I think the central question you want to ask yourself though, is are you wearing what you're wearing because you want to, and it's an expression of who you are, and your own style. Or are you wearing it because you don't feel safe, and are coming from a place of persecution and insecurity? Which I mean, I don't think that question is limited any particular life experience. I think everyone has those questions sometimes about fashion. But I'm more wondering about it from the lens of the transgender experience. But maybe that's the thing too. In a lot of ways these questions apply to everyone. But we act maybe, like they should just apply to one group of society when we're asking them.

It's a decent question, in terms of fashion. Are you dressing to express your own aesthetic and ideas, or are you dressing to conform to a gendered fashion out of insecurities about your male, female, or androgynessness?
Oh, and I realize that the way I explained this got lost in digressions, and now makes absolutely no sense any more. But oh well!