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Media Depicts Transsexuals in Lipstick and Heels. Transgender, Tgirl

Skirt Chasers: Why the Media Depicts the Trans Revolution in Lipstick and Heels



AS A TRANSSEXUAL WOMAN, I am often confronted by people who insist that I am not, nor can I ever be, a “real woman.” One of the more common lines of reasoning goes something like this: There’s more to being a woman than simply putting on a dress. I couldn’t agree more. That’s why it’s so frustrating that people often seem confused because, although I have transitioned to female and live as a woman, I rarely wear makeup or dress in an overly feminine manner.



Despite the reality that there are as many types of trans women as there are women in general, most people believe that all trans women are on a quest to make ourselves as pretty, pink, and passive as possible. While there are certainly some trans women who buy into mainstream dogma about beauty and femininity, others are outspoken feminists and activists fighting against all gender stereotypes. But you’d never know it by looking at the popular media, which tends to assume that all transsexuals are male-to-female, and that all trans women want to achieve stereotypical femininity.



The existence of transsexuals—who transition from one sex to the other and often live completely unnoticed as the sex “opposite” to the one we were assigned at birth—has the potential to challenge the conventional assumption that gender differences arise from our chromosomes and genitals in a simple, straightforward manner.

We can wreak havoc on such taken-for-granted concepts as woman and man, homosexual and heterosexual. These terms lose their cut-and-dried meaning when a person’s assigned sex and lived sex are not the same. 



But because we are a threat to the categories that enable traditional and oppositional sexism, the images and experiences of trans people are presented in the media in a way that reaffirms, rather than challenges, gender stereotypes.

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