Earlier I wrote a piece called ' Who's story is it anyway?'
I was upset by the portrayal of transgenders in the media. I was apprehensive of the (at the time) upcoming Bruce Jenner interview.
Fast forward to now and things are a bit better. ABC treated Bruce fairly, so you would think we were off to a good start. But media coverage, while increasing, has not changed it's stereotypical coverage. Today I read an op-ed in 'The Advocate.com' by Brynn Tannehill covering the same issues. His piece is well written and to the point.
Here is a clip from it that really gets to the problem:
" In short, people want what they expect, including transgender stereotypes. They want the clichés and the tearful stories. They want transgender people to expose the most intimate details of their lives for the supposed "education" of others. They want all the stuff that trans folks are so familiar with talking about in media that we've created a "transgender documentary drinking game," where you take a shot every time an interview features footage of a trans woman poignantly painting her face with makeup, pulling stockings up her legs, trying on high heels, or uncomfortably reflecting on the infamous "before" and "after" diptych.
'The media is a business, and just like any other business it is about making money," Allyson Robinson rightly explained in a recent op-ed explaining why networks give cisgender [nontrans] audiences what they want in trans stories. "It has to show pictures of a trans woman putting on mascara or doing the laundry in a skirt and heels or dramatic 'before and after' shots, because society's desire to leer at those things is what gets eyeballs on the screen.' "
It's really the same old story of humanity. People want what they want, and there is always someone to give it to them, especially if a profit is to be made.
What can we do about this? Resist, of course, don't give them what they want. Present a strong, self-confident and non-threatening image. It's going to take a while to sink in, but eventually it will.
I read that the women's rights movement has been ongoing for over 150 years, lets hope we don't have to wait that long.