Jokes Made At The Expense Of Transgender And Non-Binary People Are Never Funny

Jokes Made At The Expense Of Transgender And Non-Binary People Are Never Funny

Enough with the "I identify as a toaster" comments.
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One of the reasons I love going on Twitter is because I come across countless tweets and videos that make me laugh, but every now and then I see a tweet where the joke being told is offensive. The creator then goes on a tangent about how the joke should not be taken so seriously and that you can make fun of anyone or anything with comedy. There may be a grain of truth to that statement, but I strongly believe that you should not use a group of marginalized people as the punchline for your joke. Right now it is popular for people to make those kinds of jokes about gender identities.

These past few years there have been an increasing amount of conversations about how there are genders beyond male and female and that there are many pronouns that people identify with that are not he/him or she/her. They have educated thousands of people and truly made a positive impact, but some see these discussions as laughable because they refuse to acknowledge that the gender binary is a social construct. The idea that someone’s pronouns are they/them or ze/zir is ridiculous to them and this leads to harmful jokes being made about non-binary and transgender people.

A common joke I see is that people will say they “identify as a toaster” and that they must be addressed as a toaster or you are discriminating against them. The justification for those kinds of jokes is that there are so many gender identities that it is hard to keep up with all of them and that if you slip up for even a second, you will permanently be seen as problematic.

Accidentally misgendering someone once will not get you stoned. The only thing that matters is that you listen to that person correct you and then you apologize and address them by their correct pronouns from then on. What is actually a problem is when you belittle their identity and their experiences by saying you identify as an inanimate object and claiming that it is just as reasonable as someone saying they are non-binary or transgender.

And as far as the argument of it being too difficult to keep up with the different types of gender identities, that just proves you are lazy. I am sure that those of you that think that way are more than capable of remembering the names of most of the people you interact with, so why is it “so difficult” to remember their pronouns? A person’s pronouns are an integral part of their identity, just like their name, and shrugging it off and choosing to call them by the pronouns you have deemed fit sends the message that their existence is invalid.

If you think that refusing to take the time to learn what each person’s pronouns are makes you edgy and hilarious, then I feel sorry for you. Basing your humor on the struggles of others is pathetic and shows your lack of creativity, but more importantly than that, it can be detrimental to the people that are at the brunt of the joke. It takes strength to tell the world that you identify as a gender that is outside of the binary, and being met with insensitive “jokes” can have adverse effects on the mental health of those people. Transgender and non-binary people are more likely to attempt suicide than the rest of the population and further ostracizing them by making jokes at their expense can aggravate any mental struggles that they are already facing.

For those of you that have decided to make an effort in learning about non-binary pronouns, below I have linked a helpful article written by Sassafras Lowrey, a genderqueer person, that includes a chart explaining how to use non-binary pronouns.

Go here to read Lowrey's Article

Cover Image Credit: taedc / Flickr

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Please, If You're Somehow Still Using The 'R Word'— Leave That Habit In 2018

Come on guys, its 2018. Google a new word.

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Maybe it was because I witnessed two boys get in trouble in elementary school for using this word as an insult.

Maybe it's because I fell in love with a thing called Camp Able. Maybe it's because one of my best friends is a special ed major. Or maybe it's because I try to be a decent human being. I do not use the R word.

Until this past semester, I hadn't really heard anyone use it often despite one encounter in 6th grade. Most of my best friends I have met while serving at places like Camp Able or Camp Bratton Green where summers are dedicated to people with diverse-abilities. I think having been surrounded with like-minded people for so long made me forget that some people still use it as an expression.

Let me tell you, it's annoying.

The word itself has been brushed off even in a "scientific" sense. It means to be slowed down, but it has stretched far beyond that meaning and has turned into an insult.

It's an insult of comparison.

Like any word, the power behind it is given by the user and most times, the user uses it to demean another person. It's like when you hear someone say "that's gay."

Like, what? Why is that term being used in a derogatory sense?

Why is someone's sexuality an insult? Hearing someone use the R-word physically makes me cringe and tense up. It makes me wonder what truly goes on in someone's mind. People will argue back that it's "just a word" and to "chill out," but if it was just a word, why not use something else?

There is a whole world full of vocabulary waiting to be used and you're using something that offends a whole community. Just because you don't care, it does not mean it shouldn't matter. Just use a different word and avoid hurting a person's feeling, it really is just that simple.

There is not a good enough reason to use it.

I volunteer at two summer camps: Camp Bratton Green and Camp Able. If you know me, I talk nonstop about the two. More realistically, if you know me, it's probably because I met you through one of the two. Even before I was introduced to the love at Camp Able, I still knew that this was a word not to use and it never crossed my mind to think of it.

The history behind the R-word goes back to describe people with disabilities but because of the quick slang pick up it was sort of demoted from the psychology world. Comparing someone or something that is negative to a word that you could easily avoid speaks volumes about who you are as a person.

The word is a word, but it is subjective in its meaning and in its background.

Just stop using it.

A List of Objective Words/Phrases to Use:

Fool/Foolish

Blockhead

Nincompoop

Silly

Ludicrous

Dim-witted

Trivial

Naive

"A few beads short on the rosary"

"On crack or something"

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No, Victoria's Secret Is Not Obliged To Use Plus-Size Or Transgender Models

After Victoria's Secret Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek made it clear the models walking the runway for the lingerie line would not be changing anytime soon, critics decided it was time for the company to adopt a more progressive mindset and encourage inclusivity of every kind of woman.

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On November 8, 2018, as the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion show was set to film and backstage its most recognized models, including Sui He, Candice Swanepoel, Adriana Lima, and Romee Strijd, prepped and interviewed, their Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek's interview with Vogue.com was going viral.

It's no secret the lingerie company is exclusive in the models it hires to represent the brand. Even its most diverse models, spanning from Asian to Black and Brazilian, mirror typically white features, and the models make no effort to hide the months of physical training and dietary rules they keep to achieve their slim runway bodies. The last time the show even attempted to include "plus-size" models was in 2000, which Ed Razek himself dubbed a failure.

However, most critics drew the line after Ed Razak's comments to Vogue were released prior to filming that Thursday in which he essentially stated that transgender and larger-sized models would not be seen on Victoria's Secret runway anytime soon, even though he made it clear they have considered their inclusion in the past. The remarks sparked an outrage online and several models responded with social media postings expressing their support for the transgender community.

The question here is, should Victoria's Secret feel obligated to incorporate transgender and plus-sized models into their shows to represent "all women?" Or are they at liberty to determine who and what their brand represents, and the specific women who will don their lingerie on the runway?

Like any brand, Victoria's Secret is just that: a brand, with a targeted consumer, a determined aesthetic, and deliberate marketing strategy to draw that consumer in and keep them as life-long buyers. More than that, Victoria's Secret, with its internationally televised annual fashion show (that draws in nearly 1.6 billion viewers in 190 countries), has transformed into a label filled with superstar models backed by a devoted fan base. The company extends beyond its retail shops. It's a source of entertainment and as Ed Razek puts it, "a fantasy."

To force Victoria's Secret, or any brand or company for that matter, to alter who represents their product for the sake of political correctness is misguided.

If you don't approve of the models who walk in their shows, don't buy their clothing.

Further, the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is comparable to the Superbowl of modeling. The sixty models selected to walk are chosen from hundreds of models who, in addition, beat out thousands of other models to simply land that audition. They work incredibly hard to become physically fit for the runway, to the point that several high-fashion brands refuse to allow them to walk in their shows, deeming them too fat. To belittle their work and efforts in the name of "inclusion" is what's genuinely shameful.

Yes, it may be disappointing to the plus-size or transgender models who dream of walking for Victoria's Secret or the customers who don't see themselves represented in their marketing that the company refuses to reassess its image, but several other brands including ThirdLove or Savage X Fenty exclusively market to these women. Like any fashion line or clothing company, not every consumer will feel inclined to buy their products, so they choose another store to shop at. However, that does not determine the preferences of other consumers, and many women around the world, like me, are fond of the Victoria's Secret brand and what their models represent.

To me, they're fit, beautiful, and empowering women who faithfully back the people and company they represent.

If you don't agree, that's OK; but don't slander the models who spend years with Victoria's Secret as the end goal of their career in mind or the women who feel empowered and beautiful in their clothing is unjust and really, quite ironic. If your intention as one of these critics is to see the support and acceptance of all women, that must include those who work tirelessly to achieve the bodies and careers that you're shaming for being too "perfect."

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