If Mulan didn’t teach you something, you weren’t paying attention.
18 Adult Lessons You Missed in Famous Kids’ Shows
Okay, so, I read this this morning, and when I got to number two, I was floored. For something that seems to try to be supportive, it comes off as really transphobic.
The text of the image is: “Miss Martian from Young Justice is a shapeshifter with this preferred form. This is what she actually looks like. She keeps it a secret and refuses to acknowledge it as who she is instead identifying as someone else. Like a transgender person.” (capitalization and punctuation edited by me)
I really enjoy a lot of Cracked content, but this particular image really soured me on the whole listicle and removed a bunch of my enthusiasm for keeping up with them for today.
Couple things: I’m a straight cis man, so I am not an authority by any stretch of the imagination about this. I was raised in the United States, so as a straight cis boy I absorbed a lot of bullshit in from my culture. I have also spent a lot of time over the last couple years trying to be a less shitty person, trying to be aware of both overt and covert forms of bullshit I am embedded in and have perpetuated so that I can stop those things from happening.
I’ve read work by trans authors to try to understand not only ways people very obviously treat them poorly (murders, assaults, super obvious criminal behavior) but also about the micro aggressions and shit that just wears on a psyche, like trans erasure, gender policing, and so on.
So, again, nowhere near an expert, just a guy trying to stop being the shitty guy I was.
What struck me about #2 (created by user Scribsnow) is that if the point is that the character is representative of a trans person, calling the physical body she may have been born looking like (but can change at will) what she “actually” looks like and calling the shape with which she DOESN’T identify her “true form” and saying she keeps that part a secret and doesn’t acknowledge it is fucking insulting. Any trans people are welcome to please tell me I am reading way too much into this. I hope I have educated myself enough at this point that I’m not misrepresenting or speaking for any trans people, but just relaying stuff smarter trans folk than I have said about this kind of stuff.
Based on their sourcing ( http://www.s8.org/gargoyles/askgreg/archives.php?lid=665&PHPSESSID=73o3dutj7fau1mf98fpvpsa8l6&qid=15359 ) and a cursory perusal of their other board posts, I don’t doubt that Scribsnow is trying to be supportive and missing the mark.
Which, again, as a person who is actively trying not to suck at stuff like this, I empathize, because on my road to being a less shitty person, I’ve fucked up, I’m sure. I don’t doubt that I’ve said some stupid stuff around my trans friends.
I think Scribsnow’s heart’s in the right place, but something there obviously still needs work. I think the Cracked team’s hearts are in the right place, but something still needs work. It’s not the first time something’s been unintentionally transphobic while trying to be trans supportive in a Cracked article. Which will hopefully change for the better. I would like to think they’re working toward better inclusivity. It’s there in a lot of ways. It still needs work, though.
And I’d like to think I get it, because I know I sure as hell need more work on it. As much as I’d like to think I’m helping, it doesn’t mean I’m not inadvertently fucking up. It needs to be brought up so it can be fixed.
I think the reason I got as riled as I did about it is I’m disappointed in the Cracked editorial team for making it number two. Really, having it in its present form at all. The rest of the listicle tackles racism (#5, #3), sexism (#15, #7), ableism (#10, #9), classism (#17, #11), abusive relationships (#18), all kinds of stuff. Even though it’s user-generated content, the editorial team still curated and ranked it, and put something upsetting at runner-up to the money prize.
To go from “Peter Pan makes the assumption that everyone starts off white and that’s racist as hell” and “the idea all ugly people are bad, and all pretty people are good is super toxic to a healthy existence” to, “boy, why can’t trans people just accept their birth bodies” is kind of fucked, right?
It would be nice to see the image revised to better reflect the trans reader’s statement and the series author’s statements as written in the source. I can always hope, right?