Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Stereotyping From the Inside Out

On Transadvocate, Marti Abernathy discusses the Worst YouTube Video Ever.

As a cisgendered person, I'm coming at this from a position of privilege so I'm not in any position to tell someone whether they should find this utterly offensive. When I went to the YouTube site I saw that the creators of the video have posted a few comments

"Explanation:

We are happy that Chris is visible as a genderqueer ass in our media, and we're certain she holds similar views on people's transphobia. We are also somewhat educated members of the queer community who despise the medical and psychiatric fields' current view on transgender, which is that it is a disorder. This is a parody of those doctors!"


and

"Hun, we didn't make this video to communicate the message that transgender identities result from child abuse or anything else. We made it to laugh at people who think that."

However, being a member of several marginalized groups, time and time again, I have seen incidents where someone thought they had come up with brilliant satire (e.g. Black Entertainment Television's "Read a Book" video) that was, in reality, a blatant justification for stereotyping black Americans. The fact that it was made by Blacks didn't/doesn't change that fact. So I can understand why the fact that this Worst YouTube Video Ever was created by members of the transgendered community might not/doesn't change the impact that it may have on those who are harmed by it.

I swear, do I need to bring VanGoghGirl on the internets to tell people that saying you were only joking doesn't get you off the hook when you're being offensive?

By the way, the "But I'm one of you guys!" argument fails. Always.

3 comments:

Marti said...

For a minute, I thought maybe I was nuts.... I'm so glad you get it. So many people don't.

Lisa Harney said...

I thought I'd posted a response, but I guess I wasn't paying attention.

Anyway, I didn't really see it when Marti posted (sorry, Marti), but I do see it now. Yeah, totally out of line, not just really stupid.

RachelPhilPa said...

I really did see the video as mocking the psychiatric profession for how it pathologizes trans*folk.

I was, however, totally gob-smacked by the BET video.

I'm not sure why I feel differently about the two; perhaps because the Worst Video featured the oppressors (the psychs) and seemed to be mocking them, but the BET video featured the oppressed group and was playing out every stereotype. But, then again, I'm white, so my ignorance may be showing. (I'm also trans, BTW.)