Auf’ed Is A Word In Every Gender: A Few Reality TV Notes

So here’s the thing: while waiting this past weekend in my just-across-the-block-from-the-evacuation-zone apartment for the threatened transformation of New York from this:

Into this:

…I did not spend my weekend writing posts for Feministe, as was my brief, but instead watching Project Runway.

Project Runway Australia.

I won’t qualify Project Runway as a guilty pleasure. It’s a full-on, bells and whistles, so much fun that even a lapsed Catholic can enjoy it simple pleasure. I started watching the U. S. show in its fourth season, and have been devoted ever since. (Although I do have a few words for you, Mr. Christian Soriano! Love your clothes–but lose the catchphrase.)

But what are you going to do when you’re all caught up on the current season, and still need your “let’s make a dress from tile grout and shower curtains!” fix? Easy–watch the international editions, starting with Australia.

So fiancée and I huddled next to our cats and our “Go Bag” to watch Season Two of PR: A. Which leads me to the subject of today’s musings-posing-as-a-post: reality shows, and transness, and Anthony Capon.

Anthony entered the show saying that his look was “androgynous” and then proceeded to not only spend practically the entire season wearing skirts, dresses and high heels, but to send male models wearing his women’s fashions down the runway.

Three times.

Anthony’s kinda fabulous, in every way, I think. I won’t claim him as one of my peeps–not mine to say is actually one of the foundational statements of my movement, don’t you know–but I think my world is just a bit better knowing he exists.

However, it’s been a good weekend for folks who identify as trans and appear on reality shows. Dancing With The Stars is having Chaz Bono as a contestant this time around, along with David Arquette, brother of Alexis. (And Nancy Grace. It’s a decidedly mixed bag.) America’s Top Model is bringing back Isis King, the trans woman who actually had her surgery paid for by Tyra Banks. (Plus 100 points to Tyra for having Isis on the show twice! Minus one million points to news coverage for referring to Isis as now “officially a woman”.) At this point my dream of making fun of George Will every Sunday as This Week With Christiane Amapour‘s permanent trans correspondent now is surely within my grasp! All I need to do is to get on one of the more honest reality shows first. ‘Cos the news programs long ago left that genre.

This has been presented for your consideration in lieu of writing my post about Jo Walton and feminist sci-fi, which is coming very soon. I swear!

This entry was posted in Celebrity, Fashion, Gender, Popular Culture, Trans and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Auf’ed Is A Word In Every Gender: A Few Reality TV Notes

  1. Diana says:

    (for reference I am a cis woman) I loved seeing the fluidity of Anthony’s gender performance (at least in terms of clothing). That and Isis King’s achievements both during and after her transition give me hope that we, as a society, can begin to understand how genderqueer and trans individuals differ. Maybe that’s a bad way to phrase it. Maybe it would be better to say it gives me hope that we, as a society, can begin to understand that genderqueer and trans individuals can differ. I get so angry when people ask why can’t trans people simply break gender norms (without “disfiguring their bodies”) or why a person would transition only to continue to date people they “were allowed” to date before. Gender and sexual orientation are complex (mind bogglingly so sometimes). At the end of the day, we must define these things for ourselves and then make choices accordingly.

  2. cheshire says:

    I love project runway, but I am uncomfortable with anthony being classed as trans, unless he has changed his position post show (in which case change pronouns and ignore what I am saying) he was very clear that he was a cis male, a very femme cross dressing guy, but he does say at one point say “some people get confused, I am a guy”

    I think it is important to say, as well as noting that not all trans women are femme, that no all maab femmes are trans, to recognize that gender is internally definied, that anthony isn’t trans because he likes dresses, and that a trans women isn’t less female because she prefers loose cargo pants over a little black dress.

  3. Jenna says:

    That dress is gorgeous. I would wear that, if I weren’t afraid of tripping over the long hem. High fashion is not designed for someone who is 5’3″.

  4. Brigid says:

    I think *I* have a new dream, which is to see you making fun of George Will every Sunday as This Week With Christiane Amapour‘s permanent trans correspondent. Do keep us posted on developments, won’t you?

  5. ginasf says:

    A correction: Dr. Marci Bowers donated the SRS surgery to Isis, Tyra did not pay for it. Considering the amount of publicity ANTM and the Tyra Show got from Isis (aka income), that’s the least they could do.

  6. Diana says:

    Cheshire,

    The author wasn’t saying that Anthony is trans, just that his gender fluidity (in terms of clothing) made the world a better place (I quoted the relevant part below).

    “Anthony’s kinda fabulous, in every way, I think. I won’t claim him as one of my peeps–not mine to say is actually one of the foundational statements of my movement, don’t you know–but I think my world is just a bit better knowing he exists.”

  7. Sara says:

    Saying “her surgery” or “the surgery” while assuming that the reader will know intuitively what kind of surgery you’re talking about bolsters the idea that genital reconstruction is the single surgical procedure that is intrinsically associated with being trans (framing it as an essential, presumptive component of trans-ness).

    I fully acknowledge that this linguistic issue is pretty minor and that not all trans people feel the way I feel about it, but I just wanted to put my thoughts out there.

Comments are closed.