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Zoolander 2 "mocking non-binary"

(40 Posts)
FreshwaterSelkie Tue 24-Nov-15 06:24:10

I am sorry to start yet another trans thread, I don't want to add to the stream of trans topics overwhelming us all, but I've only recently had my revelation of the damage being done to feminism by all of this, and I'm still working through my thoughts on it all. This is what's set me off this morning.

The gist of it is that transactivists have launched a petition to boycott the new Zoolander film on the basis that Benedict Cumberbatch, who is playing an androdygnous comedy character is "offensive". They comment: "This is the modern equivalent of using blackface to represent a minority", and 'By hiring a cis actor to play a non-binary individual in a clearly negative way, the film endorses harmful and dangerous perceptions of the queer community".

I keep getting stuck in the logic failure loop! It's OK for non-binary people to utilise (appropriate?) whichever bits of gender performance they feel best express them, and that's fine, but if someone who doesn't feel non-binary does the same, then it's offensive. How do they know Cumberbatch is "cis"? He might be yearningly non-binary inside and terrified to come out! How would we know? Also, he's an actor, so his job is dressing up and pretending to be people he's not, which seems to have eluded the creators of this petition.

"Cis" people dressing up as non-binary = blackface, appropriative, offensive. Why doesn't that apply when it's born men dressing up and demanding to be treated as women?

And all this is based on a few seconds of material from the trailer, when the film hasn't even been released yet. It's Zoolander, every last person in it is bound to be portrayed as a TOTAL arse - really, it should be viewed as progress...

VocationalGoat Tue 24-Nov-15 06:37:19

I read this over my coffee on Sunday morning and went into a rant.

I am one of the most tolerant people you'll meet. But ffs, it's Zoolander!
Maybe as a woman, I could claim to feel like the transgender movement is a blackface of my own gender.
I don't really feel that way at all, but I could argue a case if I wanted to be ridiculous.
This petition is ridiculous.

squidzin Tue 24-Nov-15 09:19:15

This is great publicity for the film.

Queenbean Tue 24-Nov-15 09:22:54

This is a great example of kicking up a fuss about something making a mockery of your cause and ruining and good work that has been done on it

Now instead of listening to trans issues some people will think of the movement as a big joke, not to be taken seriously

SmashingTurnips Tue 24-Nov-15 09:27:49

I keep seeing "womanface" used on gender critical blogs - I hope it catches on as it describes certain manifestations of transgenderism perfectly.

Also on the subject of films I was appalled by this.

Oliversmumsarmy Tue 24-Nov-15 09:28:00

Its acting, its comedy, its not real life. Ben Stiller is 5ft 6" why aren't we getting male models up in arms that some one of his stature is making a mockery of male modelling.

What is everyones thoughts on White Chicks?

Pooseyfrumpture Tue 24-Nov-15 09:27:53

It's a trailer. What, two minutes long? Why not wait to see how/if it's an issue in the whole film rather than just a badly edited trailer?

QueenStromba Tue 24-Nov-15 09:58:02

Do transactivists have any self awareness at all?

WindyMillersProbationOfficer Tue 24-Nov-15 10:02:33


HermioneWeasley Tue 24-Nov-15 10:09:29

I heard about this - it made me really want to see the film grin

So this is offensive, but Tara Hudson's ridiculous boob job, eyelashes and hair extensions are what "living as a woman" looks like? Fuck off.

FreshwaterSelkie Tue 24-Nov-15 11:49:17

I will totally go and see the film, which I hadn't been aware of until this kicked off, so it really has been good publicity! You're SO hot right now!

Actually, I think the blackface comparison backfires on transactivism quite badly because you're on shaky ground trying to justify why that is an outrage, but drag and transvestism, and possibly many more elements under the trans & queer umbrella, aren't. Personally, I think they are comparable.

Turnips, that film looks quite horrid sad

slugseatlettuce Tue 24-Nov-15 19:28:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RomiiRoo Tue 24-Nov-15 20:05:48

I just read this article actually - logic loop is a good description. The evidence and justifications used point to an entirely different conclusion than the one drawn, more of a logic leap or twist. I can't work out how trans* breaks, rather than reinforces, the gender binary (and it reinforces the gender binary in a very specific way - stereotypical glamour womanface/advertisers creation womanface, not your average-woman- in-all -her-wonderful- diversity -face)

EDisFunny Tue 24-Nov-15 20:50:28

I don't watch a movie like Zoolander to learn anything or take anything from it at all except that it made me laugh.

I think the complaints against the new movie are stupid and boring.

TheCarpenter Tue 24-Nov-15 20:57:59

Compare this to the portrayal of a trans person in tangerine. Not to be laughed at, but beating the shit out of a woman and calling them fish a-ok.

If I felt I were being portrayed on screen in some way I'd rather be in Zoolander.

TwatTheNinja Tue 24-Nov-15 22:13:08


Transactivists aren't keen on drag queens either.

FreshwaterSelkie Wed 25-Nov-15 06:29:35

I had always understood that drag was wholly embraced not just by the LGB of LGBTQI but also by the TQI? (though perhaps mostly, if not only, by the G and not the L) For example, laying claim to Conchita Wurst as being part of the movement. Interesting to see that it has now been cast out of the fold. But not for being derogatory to women or downright misogynistic (which it frequently is) because well, that's just women whining, isn't it? It only seems to matter if it's deemed transphobic.

I may be a bear of very little brain, but I cannot square this circle: it is OK to dress up as a woman if you are a man dressing up as a stereotypical woman to poke fun at women, but not if you are a man dressing up as a man who dresses in gender ambiguous clothing to poke fun at men who dress in gender ambiguous clothing. It's OK for drag to lampoon women, but not to lampoon trans people. Or, women = fair game, non-gender-conforming = must be treated with kid gloves. The only way that seems to make sense to me is with an underlay of ingrained misogyny, that woman is free to be appropriated, derided and mocked in ways that other classes of people are not.

VashtaNerada Wed 25-Nov-15 06:49:50

I'm an idiot for joining another trans thread but just wanted to say that obviously not all trans people or trans activists think the same, some might be offended by this and some won't be.
I don't know anything about this character at all, as a general point it's nice when you do see trans actors playing trans roles in terms of visibility of trans people and showing society that there are many different ways to be trans. Not sure if that's the issue here or something else though. Will watch the film and see!

VashtaNerada Wed 25-Nov-15 06:51:40

Same goes for drag, some trans people don't like drag (either because it's seen as mocking transgender people or mocking women) and some embrace it. It's a diverse group!

Thefitfatty Wed 25-Nov-15 06:59:28

My biggest issue with the petition is that nobody knows anything about the character. They don't know if it's even a transwoman, or just a very androgynous woman or a long haired cis man who likes fur and has an effeminate giggle. Who knows, maybe All wins the day in the end and is actually a fantastic representation of non-binary individuals. How about actually watching the film before telling people to boycott it.

If I started petitions every time a woman was made to look stereotypical in a movie trailer I'd never have time to do anything else.

slugseatlettuce Wed 25-Nov-15 07:33:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SmashingTurnips Wed 25-Nov-15 08:12:34

This was done to the film Stonewall.

T activists complained that the film "whitewashed" and "ciswashed" events. The film ended up doing really badly because it was daubed as racist and transphobic by not portraying enough transwomen and particularly transwomen of colour.

The film was based on true life events and is one of the few films made about lesbian and gay culture and struggle. But it was trashed, boycotted and panned because it didn't rewrite history and focus on trans people.

The T really is a parasite on the LGB.

Brugmansia Wed 25-Nov-15 09:45:11

I've seen recently, on twitter mostly, a campaign from some within the LGB community to "drop the T". There was an interesting article interviewing the man who started it in which he explained it was triggered by the events surrounding the Stonewall film. Interestingly be did the interview anonymously. I'll see if I can find it.

SmashingTurnips Wed 25-Nov-15 09:52:19

I know the article you mean I think. Is it this?

And here where he writes about Stonewall.

Brugmansia Wed 25-Nov-15 09:58:25

I think that's the one.

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