Alisa at PostBourgie writes about a new VH1 show featuring a team of trans women traveling around the United States to make over cis women in need. I hadn’t heard of TRANSform Me before; this is how VH1 describes it:
TRANSform Me is a makeover show in which a team of three transgender women, led by the inimitable Laverne Cox (I Want To Work For Diddy), rescues women from personal style purgatory. Laverne and her ultra-glam partners in crime have undergone the ultimate transformation, so they’re the perfect women for the job.
They’ll travel the country in their tricked out fashion ambulance, siren blaring, and swoop into scenes of fashion disaster. They’ll not only make women look better but feel a whole lot better about themselves. It’s about discovering one’s inner personal style.
Laverne and the girls will cruise from boutiques to beauty salons in search of just the right look. And they won’t pull any punches with their subjects–or each other!
Each episode of TRANSform Me will cover the makeover of one woman who’s written to the show asking for help. The subject expects to be made over for a reality show–but she doesn’t know it’s going to be by three transgender women.
On one hand: It is good to see trans-identified people in the mainstream. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy wasn’t exactly the most politically conscious show in the world, and in a lot of ways it played into some ridiculous stereotypes, but it did bring gay men into households across the United States; same with Will & Grace. Those shows were problematic for a lot of reasons, but in the trajectory of gay rights and acceptance in the United States? I think they pushed things forward. I think they helped to open a door for Ellen Degeneris — whose original show tanked after she came out as a lesbian — to become one of the most popular talk show hosts in the country (and not just on those godforsaken coasts, either). Popular culture matters, and a lot of times it’s going to be ham-fisted in dealing with marginalized groups, but I fall pretty firmly on the side of “it’s better to have marginalized groups imperfectly represented than not represented at all” (the caveat, of course, is that a marginalized group serving as a punchline is not just “imperfect” representation).
Which brings me to that other hand: I haven’t seen TRANSform Me, but I do worry that the trans women will be punchlines or caricatures. I worry that VH1 set it up so that the trans element of the show is a “gotcha!” moment — “You thought you were getting a make-over, but really you’re getting it from transgender chicks OMG!” I worry that “trans” will get a lot more attention than “women.”
But again, I haven’t seen it (is it even on yet?). Anyone have any further intel or thoughts?
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