Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Appearances - A blog For Crossdresser.com by Cici Kitten
Like a lot of tgirls, I’m pretty obsessed with appearances. We all want to “appear” more like women, and most of us want to “appear” as attractive as possible. That’s why we spend a couple of hours in front of a mirror before we go out, or go on webcam, or pose for photos. It’s also why we spend a lot of time (and money) looking for new products or techniques or styles that can help us in our appearance. We want to look femme, but we also want to look good. And that’s not a bad thing.
Until we start to get carried away with it. Until we find ourselves in the same situation that women have been in for centuries. Until we get to the point that – with ourselves and with others – all that matters is how we look. How pretty. How femme. How hot.
The truth is, it’s not easy for the average guy to look like a woman. And it’s even harder for the average guy to look like a pretty woman. Heck, it’s hard for most women to look like a pretty women. Most of us are average looking… and that’s not by choice, that’s by definition. (That’s kinda what average means. ) But we see so many attractive people – on tv and on the web, in movies and magazines – that we start to get a skewed view of the world. And we start to expect it.
I was thinking about all of this when I heard the inspiring story of Anna Grodzka. Anna recently became the first openly transsexual individual in Europe to win a Parliamentary seat when she took her place among her colleagues in Poland. You can find the photos of Anna Grodzka with a quick search of the net. I know nothing about politics in Poland, but there’s no doubt in my mind that this one victory is a momentous one for Europe and the world. Anna won 18,000 votes in her district as a member of Poland’s new Palikot's Movement.
(Again, I don’t know much about Polish politics, but thanks to the wonder of Wikipedia, I can tell you that Palikot’s Movement is a left leaning organization that supports gay rights, same sex unions, and abortion in an otherwise politically conservative country. It is headed up by Janusz Palikot, a Polish businessman who made his money in vodka. Ah, vodka! Finally a topic I know something about. One does wonder how many social revolutions have been launched by vodka, but I digress.)
A graduate in psychology, Grodzka runs Trans-Fuzja, a foundation that supports some 1,000 transgender people in Poland. Founded in 2007, the foundation lobbies for legislation that would secure the rights of the group and offers direct help to its members. She told Polish television that her mission as an MP (Member of Parliament) is to, “familiarize people with transgenderism." She also said that she expected the “various unpleasantness” that she knew would accompany her run for office. Judging by the comments on her photos that accompanined the news story, that unpleasantness hasn’t stopped.
By now we’re all used to the uneducated, uniformed, and often prejudiced views expressed in the “Comments” sections of the internet. That’s the place after a news story where anyone can type in a response or reaction. On rare occasions, you might find that a news story has prompted an intelligent discussion. But most of the time, the comments you see are knee-jerk reactions to the story or to the people involved. Strange how the anonymity of the web that has given so many of us tv/cd/tg girls the freedom to express ourselves has also provided the perfect outlet for small-minded individuals to vent their hatred. I should be used to it now. But it still bugs me.
So true to form -- rather than commenting on the Anna’s bravery and courage to put herself out there, the haters online decided to focus on her appearance. (NOTE: There are plenty of messages of support for Anna on the net now, but the first comments I saw all seemed pretty negative.)
“Wow! That's one unattractive female. I hope she's happy.”
“Yikes. The transgender person is fooling no one.”
“OMG. She looks like Quasimodo.”
“Anna, I think I'd ask for my money back.”
I’m sorry to reprint mean and hateful comments like these. I wish I could take the time to respond to all of them. But I know that it’d be useless. For some, all that matters is appearances. Especially when it comes to women. And now that transsexuals are openly and confidently expanding into new fields and positions, we will be open to the same narrow-minded thinking.
Sadly, women have faced these small-minded insults for centuries. Any woman who tries to accomplish anything in business or politics will often hear the same. We hear derogatory comments all the time about female politicians, educators, scientists, and business people. It’s old fashioned thinking. It’s out-dated. And its about time that it stopped.
The thing is, Anna isn’t trying to be a model. She isn’t trying to be an actress or a fitness instructor or an entertainer of any kind. She’s trying to be a politician. She’s trying to change the way an entire nation thinks. Let’s see a model do that. Anna may not be a runway model, but that doesn’t mean she can’t be a role model.
As one commenter who came to Anna’s defense noted in a response to one of the jokesters, “The joke is on them — she is now a happy, confident women not hindered by skin deep chauvinistic criticism, pursuing humanistic goals and ideals for the betterment of humanity. She deserves more praise than any hot model for being able to be what she wants to be against the pressure of the snickering crowd.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. But I will add this. There are two definitions of the word, “appearance.” One is “external show, outward aspect or look,” and this is the appearance that the commenters were commenting on. This is the appearance that too many of us – myself included – are obsessed with.
But there’s a second definition for “appearance”: “The act, action, or process of appearing,” or in other words, “showing up.” And that’s what Anna is doing… she’s showing up. Regardless of her political views, regardless of the length of her time in office, regardless of her success in affecting legislative change. Let it be remembered that Anna showed up. Despite the personal attacks she knew she was going to suffer. Despite living in a conservative country with deep ties to the Catholic Church. Despite having to hear juvenile comments when she’s trying to improve the lives of others.
Woody Allen once said that, “Eighty percent of success is showing up”. And that’s what Anna is doing right now. And, in contrast, that’s what most of the internet commentators aren’t doing. She showed up. Most of them wouldn’t dare show their faces. Or their names. It’s easy to take five seconds to jot down a stupid insult. But it often takes a lifetime of commitment, effort, ingenuity, and courage to make a change in the world, or in a community, or in a family, or in a circle of friends.
Before she started making changes in her life, Anna was Krzysztof Grodzki, and had a wife and a son. “I had a good life, filled with success and love,” she recalled. “But this sense that I was not myself inside always accompanied me.
“I decided to be a candidate for Palicot’s Movement because I want the voice of people who are excluded and discriminated against in the Polish political system to be heard,” she wrote in her blog. “I believe that little by little does the trick.”
Little by little. That is how change will come to the world. And to the transgender community. But at least it has begun. At least tv/cd/tg people are coming out of the closet and courageously starting to fight for our right to be ourselves. At least there are people like Anna. And that – as anyone with two good eyes and an open heart can see – is a beautiful thing.
Take care out there!
Be smart. Be safe. Be sexy!