Body Shaming Is Still Wrong

So, look.... I hate the Republican nominee for president. I find him to be an abhorrent excuse for a human being who does nothing but spew the worst our species has to offer. I am tired of his name. I'm tired of his face, his voice. I'm exhausted of this guy. 

But we need to talk about something that involves him, and that is an art installation. Statues popped up in about 14 US cities earlier this week, and those statues all portray a nude version of...that guy whose name I don't want to use. He is depicted with a micropenis and no testicles. The artist collective responsible, INDECLINE, said, 

Statue by art collective INDECLINE. Image manipulation by Ranma Kumayama

"It is through these sculptures that we leave behind the physical and metaphorical embodiment of the ghastly soul of one of America's most infamous and reviled politicians." 

That's great and all, but here's the thing... this isn't okay. It's not okay with that man body shames women like Rosie O'Donnell, and it's not okay to body shame him, either. There's plenty of low-hanging fruit about the man's character to criticize and use as a shame stick, but you don't need to go to his orange skin, small hands or trademark hairstyle to do it. 

There's more, though. When you point and laugh at this statue, you're shaming a whole demographic of the population: transgender men. 

We forget about trans men. A lot. Seriously, there's this blindspot in our cultural discussions about those who transition from female to male. That's a whole other blog post. And to discuss this matter, I'm going to throw it to my dear friend RM. He is a trans man and has given me permission to share his words here. (I do not feel comfortable using his full name, however, because I don't want him to come to harm.) 

These are his words....

I am a trans man and that is what my body could look like with a common surgical intervention known as a metoidioplasty. By relying on body humor for the SICK BURN in these pieces, you and all your amused friends and family and coworkers are potentially having a great laugh at the body and genitals of a transman.

I can tell you, first hand, that I already don't like what's going on down in my pants. I'm missing some really important details that my brain likes to insist are there (in dreams, especially, leaving me confused and saddened when I wake up) and even if I could surgically correct things, it wouldn't end up looking or acting like the real thing. It's like craving a sushi buffet and then getting sushi flavored oatmeal. Someone asks "why" and I warily answer that "I don't know, maybe I'll like it?"

I don't think a lot about how depressing it feels to be in a body that doesn't suit me, but in the last year or so I've been considering metoidioplasty. Just to try to alleviate an increasing level of anxiety and depression regarding my pants zone. But of course now, I would look at my healed body and see the body that thousands, MILLIONS of people ridiculed and gloated over because of how FREAKISH it looks, and laughed because HAW HAW, he doesn't have BALLS, how INNOVATIVE and EDGY. It's a disappointment, and it's frustrating, but it's also a sad reminder that no matter what I do to fix the rift that my brain and body exist on either sides of, I will end up being ridiculed by the rest of humanity.

I'm sure that the artist meant no harm by the work, but I think harm was done anyway.

Standard Disclaimers Apply:
*surgery is not the answer for all trans folks
*i am speaking about my experiences only
*feel free to message me things about surgery, my current body shape or whatever if you want but don't think that you can ask those questions of anyone else without permission

So, please....artists, individuals....remember that bodyshaming one person hurts a whole swath of people who were born with that body, or who may have their own issues where that is the best their body would be able to do. 

Be kinder people. 

Thank you, R, for letting me borrow your words.