In the feminist ranks I hear a lot of railing about the beauty standard that women are judged by. Far too often that chatter is coming from the vanillacentric privileged wielding women who the system was designed to benefit. We had an example of that recently from Oxford University student Alice Robb who complained that President Obama calling his daughters strong, smart and beautiful like their mother 'stung her'.
Easy to say that problematic bull feces when the beauty standard is designed to make women who look like you the default setting for what society considers attractive.
I submit that if the trans community is going to accomplish our stated goal of making the TDOR irrelevant, what has to happen is to make it untenable for society to easily dehumanize us. When people are dehumanized, they are considered irrelevant and disposable by that society, and that leads to the slippery slope of genocidal levels of mayhem and violence aimed at them.
As the trans human rights push gains momentum, we will have to use all the tools in our civil rights toolbox in this fight to reduce anti-trans hate crimes committed against us and ensure that the perpetrators of them are punished.
One of the things we trans women have to confront is the 'unwoman' meme. I believe the 'unwoman' meme aimed at trans women is one of the factors that fuels the anti-trans violence aimed at us, and it needs to be destroyed. One of the methods in doing so will be thinking of being considered beautiful not as a detriment to womanhood but as a human rights strategy.
We trans women have to deal with the reality that we live and interact with a world in which being attractive is considered an asset. When I talk about being beautiful in this post, I'm not just talking about the physical aspect of it. I'm talking about inside your mind and heart as well.
One of the strategies we African-Americans used during the civil rights movement in terms of battling the 'unwoman' meme aimed at our women and girls was to not only consistently reinforce the fact they are beautiful, but create the Miss Black America one to drive that message home at a time when we didn't have Black contestants in the predominately white Miss America and Miss Universe pageant systems.
The Miss Universal Queen pageant in Thailand, the Amazing Philippine Beauties one in Manila and the Miss Continental pageant system here in the States are ones specifically created for trans women. There are also similar pageant systems create for African-American transwomen as well even though the compete, place and win in the Miss Continental ones.
Now thanks to Jenna Talackova's fight, the Miss Universe system is open to trans women who have the desire to compete in them. It remains to be seen if Miss America and the Miss World system will follow. .
I believe that far from hatin' on the beautiful trans women among us, we need to be holding them up as examples. We point to the world and say yes, trans women are beautiful, attractive, and given the opportunity can compete and possibly win a beauty contest in a head to head match up with a cis woman.
When we acknowledge to ourselves that we are beautiful women in our own right, we own our power.
Being more determined not to allow others to denigrate our femininity and our beauty is also a way to deal with the shame, guilt and fear in our own ranks. When we do so, we take pride in ourselves, have better self-esteem, stand up a little taller, are more confident as we deal with the world around us, will be less likely to engage in self-destructive behaviors and less likely to take crap from people.
We'll also experience the freeing of our minds and spirits the revelation that we are beautiful gives us.
So yes, we trans women need to consider being beautiful as a trans human rights strategy.