Stretched earlobes, shrunken breasts. Image from NYT article.

Media coverage of the transgender movement overwhelmingly skews to focus on males, even though ‘TRANS WOMEN ARE (purportedly) WOMEN!’

One might imagine that the typical overrepresentation of default male perspective would be reversed in reporting on the Gender Identity movement whose adherents demand social recognition as the other sex, but that isn’t the case. In the world of transgender, just like the real world, prostate-bearers are heard more than uterus-havers, who have to fight for recognition regardless of their inner sense of themselves as male, or their legal status as male, or what have you.

There isn’t much media coverage of women who identify as transmen, or increasingly, as “transmasculine”: a neologism that reflects the genderist belief that clitoris-weilders have certain appropriate traits called femininity and if they don’t, they must be crossing over into penis-brandisher territory or at least a separate category.

Fourth Estate coverage of the “men” of the Gender Identity movement, when it occurs, generally follows two templates. First is the well-worn Chrysalis Narrative/ Ugly Duckling/ Heroic Journey tradition whereby one overcomes malaise and becomes their TRUE SELF via various precarious routes to reinvention through the capitalist miracle of affirming grooming practices, wardrobe updates, pharmacology consumption and/or cosmetic surgery. This is a super popular angle because it conforms to advertising norms in general, in whose interest all media exists. This is the number one framing of all transgender news outlet coverage regardless of sex. This narrative is as old as human history. The other news template for transmen is the spectacle of the unlikely “pregnant man”. That women gestate and bear offspring is not newsworthy, but if a man could do so it would be quite. These “pregnant man” stories serve as clickbait by troubling the impossible, another current iteration of an ancient paradigm (see the myth of Zeus/Athena or Jesus). Note that the equivalent stories about women who impregnate are entirely absent in myth, and also in media coverage of transwomen.

So it is notable that the New York Times (or anyone) featured a story about transmen that focused on female members of the transgender community yet bypassed either of these tropes. In an extraordinarily neutral piece, Amy Sohn reported on the practice of breast binding by female members of the Gender Identity community. You can read it here:

Interestingly, many members of the Gender Identity community did not like a neutral gaze cast upon the transmale subculture:

Female teens who do not bind their breasts=sexual “fuckable” objects