In order to create an original argument, I chose Beyond Image Content: Examining Transsexuals’ Access to the Media chapter from Sex Change, Social Change: Reflections on Identity, Institutions, and Imperialism book by Viviane Namaste and Trans Woman Manifesto from Whipping Girl by Julia Serano. This paper is aimed at revealing the main concepts and problems presented in readings that would contribute to the understanding of the main theme.
First of all, it is important to note that both authors consider the theme of representation of transsexuals and transvestites. Namaste states that there are plenty of talk shows, films, and books unjustifiably discriminating them. For example, Priscilla or Ma Vie en Rose films. The majority of people consider it a mental disorder. However, Namaste emphasizes that speaking of transsexuals, people speak only of their appearance paying no attention to their inner world, feelings, and emotions.
Furthermore, media representatives simply do not listen to voices of transsexuals1. It shows that generally people try not to notice them and humiliate. At the same time, one might mention plenty of dismissals of transsexuals in the media field. As a result, transsexuals can express their opinion only as long as it does not interfere with the majority of ordinary people. All in all, Namaste stresses that transsexuals should possess their rights, and their voice should not be suppressed by the society.
In her book, Serano discusses concepts of transphobia, cissexism, and misogyny. She claims that the determination of gender given at birth is not always true as sometimes it is determined at a subconscious level, and there is nothing extraordinary. There is no such thing as a “real” gender-there is only the gender we experience ourselves as and the gender we perceive others to be, states Serano2. In particular, she points out that feminine transsexuals are ridiculed due to her femininity. When a woman wears a man’s shirt – it is nothing to worry about, but as soon as a man wears a woman’s shirt, it immediately becomes a sign of mental illness. As far as transphobia is directly connected with sexism, it also humbles the role of women reducing everything only to the body.
It becomes obvious that people are frightened by transsexuals because they blur traditional boundaries of sex. In this connection, Serano encourages people to change their attitude and become at least more polite. In addition, she calls transsexuals to protect their rights within the feminism concept. Serano claims that people need to stop pretending that there are significant differences between men and women. In the end, the main thing is how a person feels. In other words, the main point is to be a human and to realize the very cultural values, thus recognizing rights of all people.
In conclusion, it should be stressed that the problem of the topic is the unjustifiable attitude towards transsexuals. Therefore, my paper would develop the following working thesis: in spite of the fact that gender change still seems unusual and considered by the majority of people as something strange, there is need to improve the attitude towards transsexuals as all men are created equal.
- Viviane Namaste, Sex Change, Social Change: Reflections on Identity, Institutions, and Imperialism (Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press, 2011), 13.
- Julia Serano, Whipping Girl (Berkeley: Seal Press, 2016), 43.
Namaste, Viviane. Sex Change, Social Change: Reflections on Identity, Institutions,and Imperialism. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press, 2011.
Serano, Julia. Whipping Girl. Berkeley: Seal Press, 2016.