Time’s refusal to place Cox on the list of the most influential people of the year says far, far more about the real state of transgender erasure and invisibility in the U.S. cultural landscape than does its attempts to reap the rewards of its own snub of her by placing her on the cover months later. Giving her the cover for the upcoming issue allows Time to hail Cox as an icon within her own community, while conveniently failing to acknowledge the place she, Mock, and other transgender women hold within the larger sphere of cultural influence—something her inclusion on the Time 100 would have and should have done.
The difference between the two may seem like splitting hairs, but it’s really not. Transgender individuals, and particularly trans women, are impacted to an extreme degree by the way they interact with the society outside of their community.
…Time’s snub came just months after Grantland reporter Caleb Hunnan made the decision to reveal the background of a transgender article subject, over her objections—after which she committed suicide. That piece, and the initial hoopla that surrounded it, reads like a textbook circlejerk of insulated sports journalists who are bogglingly unable to comprehend the spectacle of a secretive trans woman trying desperately to hide her prior identity.
In its apology, ESPN acknowledged that no one on its staff is trans. Moreover, no one on its staff had thought to run the article by a trans person at any stage, either for their thoughts on the high risks of outing a trans woman against her will, or the merit of exploiting her death after the fact in an article that attempted to paint her desire for privacy as duplicity and her trans identity as a kind of catfishing. The invisibility of trans women outside of their own community is lethal.
It’s worth pointing out that Time also bizarrely called Cox an “unlikely icon" even after placing her on the cover. Unlikely? Really? An intelligent, gorgeous woman starring in one of the most critically acclaimed shows of 2013?
This is only “unlikely” in the eyes of media that refuses to render trans women a visible part of the world we live in.
In earlier trailers for Gareth Edwards’ franchise reboot, the monster had been hidden, and as one Japanese fan put it: “When I finally saw [Godzilla], I was a bit taken aback.” Other Godzilla fans called him a “calorie monster” or “Godzilla deluxe,” quipping that the creature had “done a ‘super size me.’” The monster’s added girth made it difficult for these fans to take Godilla seriously, with one commenter on a Japanese forum saying that he couldn’t help but laugh at him.
Fat-shaming Godzilla might seem like a non-issue to some (it’s just a movie, after all!), but it shows just how ridiculous our fatphobia is, a stigma that has real-life implications for Godzilla’s human counterparts. When we can’t accept even a fat lizard on-screen, how are we likely to change a culture that views Melissa McCarthy as a “hippo” and a “humongous creep” or would suggest, in any universe, that Kate Upton is fat?
1) Don’t make someone else’s personal pain about your emotional experience. Humans do pretty crappy things to other humans. The truth is, we aren’t entitled to feel good about the news all the time—especially not when the news is asking us to relate to human tragedy.
2) The more important the news is, the more straightforward you should be in telling it. This holds true for the headline as well as the actual reporting. In terms of the news, if the most straightforward headlines aren’t enough to sell the most important news of the day, then maybe it’s because you aren’t actually covering what’s really important.
3) Stories can be worthy without being upworthy. What CNN seems to be forgetting is that it’s not impossible to get these stories the views they deserve without the Upworthy treatment. Take the sheer number of debates you’ve read this week about Dylan Farrow. No one wants to have that conversation. But it’s being had because we recognize that sometimes we need to put on our adult pants and have adult conversations about the serious stuff.
Rock and roll is dead, the web is dead, Facebook is dead, Hip Hop is dead.
At one time or another, everything seems to be considered dead and buried. The latest tripe is that the Social Media Editor, as a practice, is dead. This is ridiculous.
All the elements just seemed right with Circa—that they’re embarking on something new, that they’re trying to do something no one else has done before, and that they look at news presentation in the same way—that it’s broken—as I do, and they want to fix it. That’s something I always wanted to focus on and make something I do—it’s something I jump out of bed and think about.