Friday, September 02, 2016

Beware glass dreams


The other day I stumbled across a German TV programme called Sexchange. In it, they took half a dozen folk - women and men, and made them over as their opposite gender. Unlike some shows, it wasn't cheesy and didn't seem played for laughs. Now, I don't speak German, but YouTube has an automatic subtitling and translation system.

On a slight digression, the YouTube system is s a bit Monty Python in places. Perhaps this is as the tech is listening to the audio track and translating on the fly. I guess there are many phrases we use that may not convert well into other languages. I think I saw the subtitle "but that's not my tennis" at one point. But occasional slip-ups aside, it's very impressive technology.

As to the German show, it felt serious but not dry. I guess the UK spin on this would have been Channel 4's Boy Meets Girl from the early 2000s (same name as BBC comedy, but different). I think Channel 4 also produced Genderswap, which was heavier on prosthetics and took celebrities through the process. Going back further, there was Move Over Darling by the BBC. Not that I watch out for these programmes. ;-)

The cast of ZDFNeo's SexChange
Why the matchy-matchy boots though?
I find watching people's reaction to their transformation and interaction with the real world (and vice versa) fascinating. Many participants are shocked by their change (sometimes to tears, bless them) and a number are understandably nervous by being out in public. For me, I think the latter is something we trans folk - past timers or full timers - just have to get used to. That's not to say that makes it easier. You could argue that having professional wardrobe and make up helps. But, does being filmed make it harder? I mean, while the better production companies will look after a person (or so i assume), filming has a deadline.

Much as I enjoy the sensitive and thought provoking takes on this subject, they do bother me a little. Not that people are pushed into a role, or that  you could argue the 'trans condition' is forming some type of educational entertainment. No, it's more.... gah, out with it... it's more that it makes me think of What Could Be. A voice within says, "But you could do that. Live in two genders. What's stopping you?"

I try not to listen, because I think that's some type of whimsical temptation talking. If I'm not careful and I listen to it, it won't be long before it's best mate, Green Eyed Monster, turns up and *ahem* 'helps' remind me that I'm in bloke mode more often than I'd sometimes like. Paying attention to that devil eyed ham (Ed: does that make any sense?) push me back towards The Drop and other unpleasantness.

Thing is, I'm not that driven to go that route. It would affect my family and really, for what? I'm tempted to write 'a bloke in a dress', but while externally I may look very blokey (skinhead haircut, beard stubble, tall and lantern jawed), internally, I'm betwixt and between. Plus, I'm not sure the phrase Bloke in a Dress helps. Realistically, it's a stick to beat oneself with mentally and that serves no purpose.

No. Perhaps it's best to remember that TV, the Internet and Old Media have a lure and they're selling something. Perhaps in positive ways, but it's still a transaction and that, like all sales, has a cost.

I guess I'm going to have to invoke some CBT Jedi tricks and not listen to the Dark Side :-)

Take care,
Lynn

6 comments:

  1. It's interesting how shows like this one use very stereotyped gender performances. None of the women are transformed into highly groomed "metrosexual" men. And none of the men are turned into lairy football and beer-loving "ladettes". I bet they got the guys to soften their voices, and the women to act more dominant too!

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    1. Yes, they do seem to aim for those. Is that because they want to perpetuate archetypes, or because the 'guest' requests it in some way?

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  2. 'allo m'dear. Too long away from your loverly explorations. Must tell you, I did a bit of binge reading around here just this week and so enjoyed myself.

    While I find that so much of what I think about remains the same, you do quite heroically manage to produce a real nugget on a staggeringly consistent basis. I would be jealous if you weren't so damn nice you know.

    As such, I am grateful and an admirer.

    Hope you have a great weekend and nice report from this weeks Chams visit.

    xoxo - Petra

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    1. Hi Petra. Long time no see :-) Lovely to hear from you and glad to read that you've enjoyed a good read. That makes this labour of love a little easier.



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  3. Interesting post, Lynn. I must follow up the link to 'Sexchange'. Don't suppose you saw 'Sunday Morning Live this a.m. (BBC1)? India Willoughby was in a heated discussion about trans issues. She's someone who juggled parallel lives for about five years - presenting as a woman during the week and as a man at weekends (when she visited her son).

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    1. Hi, Dabrela. I didn't catch India's comments, I'm afraid. If seems a few folk on social media did and they're not happy with the TERF views. Mind you, that's a bit like saying "liberal voter upset by right-wing views" :-)

      I've read a little of India's story and I do wish the media would leave her old identity behind and let her move on.

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