Over the media, there will be good programs and bad programs; we will never get rid of shows like Jerry Springer or movies like “Dressed To Kill” because they make money for the producers.
Trans ™: how the trans movement got sold outDo you remember “Metrosexuals” the new “in” look is androgynous or cross gender.
From Zoolander 2 to Brewdog, now being transgender is cool, corporations are co-opting the sexy bits to turn a profit.
By Ray FilarI
25 November 2015
Nowadays, trans people are everywhere. According to pop culture, gender fluidity is the new thing. Seeing the money making possibilities, everyone wants in. But they don't always get it right.
The new Zoolander 2 trailer has just dropped, featuring the trans character ‘All’. Played by cis actor Benedict Cumberbatch, the trailer shows the androgynous All giggling inanely in response to the question: “do you have a hotdog or a bun?” Pop star Will Young recently released the video for his single ‘Brave Man’, featuring the trans actor Finn walking around naked as passers-by abuse him, first mockingly and then violently.
Yet trans people are cool enough to feature now - not quite, but almost like that point in the 90s when Will and Grace and Sex and the City were at their heights and everyone wanted a sassy, bitchy, gay male best friend who could help pick out the right pair of shoes.
This partial acceptability stems from the trans movement’s push for inclusion. It’s a respectability drive, supported by a bevy of companies who are jumping at the chance to use trans or non-normative gender expression to sell their products. Trans-ness is sexy. Major London retailer Selfridges now has an section called ‘Agender’, which they describe as ‘a celebration of fashion without definition’. The denim label Diesel has the billboard slogan ‘this ad is gender neutral’. And the craft beer company Brewdog just launched the supposedly ‘transgender’ beer No Label, boasting that it uses hops that change from ‘female’ to ‘male’ in the brewing process.
Community activist Felix Bear Lane has described this kind of opportunistic trans-branding as "jumping on the transwagon": trend-spotters gaining wind of a new way to make money and grabbing it with both hands. The transwagon is just the newest vehicle in a long tradition of liberation movements being co-opted by capitalists and conservatives.As long as there are $$$$ to be made we will see negative portrayals of trans people. And I wouldn't say "sold out" because we are not the ones who are making the money, it is more like we were "pimped out" because they are making money off of us.
When the next fad comes around, there will be a sharp drop in the number of supposedly ethical campaigns around trans identities - few of which will have helped end the discrimination that trans people face. When a minority cause becomes successful enough to reach further than the group immediately affected, outside responses are always the same: how can we sell this? And then: what can we sell next?