Not funny

Feb. 8th, 2010 10:40 am
allyndra: (Default)
[personal profile] allyndra
Okay, this is a rant. It's a rant about transphobic humor, and I'm cutting it to spare those who've been the target of that kind of humor, not to spare people who don't think it's worth getting pissed about.

I heard this Taco Bell commercial on the radio again this morning, and it always makes me so mad I have to turn the radio off. Have you heard the one I mean? It's supposed to be a telenovela, and it starts with the male character saying, "I'm not the man you fell in love with." And that's where I shut it off, because it ends with the female character saying, "I wasn't born Maria. I was born Marvin." (her voice goes super low and rough on that last sentence, to underscore the joke) And the male character makes this disgusted, "Ugh," noise.

And you know what? I am sick to death of transphobic humor. WTF, America?

I remember a while back, there was a list linked on of the ten worst fathers in America. I clicked it, and there were abusive fathers of varying stripes listed. And then Thomas Beatie, who got media coverage as 'the pregnant man.' If he'd been on the list because the paparazzi were bad for his family, I would have been doubtful that he was one of the worst fathers in the country, but I would have understood the reasoning. But no. He was listed because his existence meant that the man who wrote the list had had to discuss trans people with his own kid.

Yeah, sure Thomas Beatie was the bad father in this scenario.

You know, I talked about trans people with my son, too. It wasn't a harrowing experience. We talked about Isis on America's Next Top Model, and how tough it must be to be born in the wrong body, having people tell you you're one gender when you know that you're another. We talked about how people can be mean about it, from the mockery Isis faced from the other models to the violence and attacks that some trans people go through. So, yes, we had that conversation, and it wasn't traumatic. Sorry, list author, the fact that it was traumatic for you says a lot more about your own issues than it does about the subject matter.

The reason I mention that 'Worst Fathers' list is, I think of it whenever that Taco Bell commercial comes on. If the very subject of transmen and -women is so terribly, terribly problematic, why isn't that conservative list-maker railing against crappy, offensive transphobic humor, instead of just against trans people who want families? Don't the horrible Taco Bell commercial and all of the other transphobic humor in our media lead to questions from your kids, too?

The problem is, they don't, because we let them slide. They don't lead to the same kind of questions and Very Serious Talks because we, as a society, just nod along like those jokes aren't worthy of Very Serious Talks. Kids pick up on that kind of normalization. Hahahaha, of course men who used to be women are pathetic! Hahahaha, of course women who used to be men are gross! Hahahaha, imagine if you accidentally kissed one!

It makes me so angry I could scream. Looking at the big picture, I know that this one ad is minor, compared to a lot of what is in the media. But it's a minor instance of transphobia that gets shoved at my ears at least twice a day, and I'm over it. I've sent a complaint to Taco Bell using their website, and I hope any of you who are offended will, too.

To the transgender people on my flist, you're awesome and you don't deserve the shit you put up with.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-02-13 07:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was watching - for some unknown reason - Crocodile Dundee the other day. There's a scene when Dundee the Occker Douche Bag to beat all Occer Douche Bags, goes into a bar and starts chatting up a woman. She's tall and gorgeous. But then Dundee's new cabbie/scum bag buddy tells him "that aint no lady!" Dundee is so shocked and confused he GRABS the woman between the legs and humiliates her in front of everyone in the bar by making a point of being horrified that she has a cock.

She is forced to flee the bar amid the jeers and taunts of everyone there.

Ba dum dum shhhhhhh. That's the punch line.

But noone I was watching with laughed. In fact, we'd only been watching for the irony and the chance to do a bit of 80s jeering ourselves. But this scene kind of sucked the fun out of that.
How could we sit laughing at the badness of the film when it was not just bad, it was offensive? Sexual assault for comedic effect for crying out loud.

I could stop thinking of the humiliation that a woman like her, in real life, would feel. Thinking she's met someone who's interested in her. Enjoying being appreciated for her beauty. Enjoying being just another woman in the crowd. And then the betrayal. The brutality.

It made me fucking sick to my guts just thinking about it. It still does.

The thing is no one really finds it funny anymore - trans humour isn't really humour. But ti's going to take a while for it to actually go away. TVNZ will still air crappy movies like Crocodile Dundee, Taco Bell will still use lazy ad execs to write their crummy advertisements.

Just for a little while longer. But eventually, like the attitude that says taunting trans people is funny, the willingness to even air that crap will go away too.

We just have to keep on fighting it.

So even though I'm all the way in NZ I'm going to make a point of complaining to Taco Bell. Thanks for the heads up.


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