(Published May 24, 2016)
“Transgender” and “model” are not two words that should go together. Caitlyn Jenner disagreed when the former Olympian posed on the cover of Sports Illustrated wrapped in nothing but a flag. In fact, transgender models are so popular that they now get their own TV show!
Whoopi Goldberg, co-host on The View, recently announced that she will be executive producing a show about transgender models called Strut. Set to air later this year on Oxygen, the show will follow a group of “models” as they strive to make their mark on the fashion industry.
Goldberg stated that “people tend to focus on the stereotype instead of the person, and this series will give viewers a unique opportunity to spend time with real people who are struggling with the same challenges we all face as we make our way through the world.” Newsflash, Whoopi: most people don’t go and get a sex change to become a model. That’s not a real world “challenge.”
Oxygen Media’s Rod Aissa praised the show’s stars “who are working to change the modeling industry and the world around them, by simply being true to themselves.” Aside from the fact that being “true to themselves” involved biologically changing who they were born to be, these models are bringing a positive message to the fashion world. Models don’t need to starve themselves to be beautiful anymore; they should just get a sex change.
Goldberg went on to add that viewers “may even be surprised to discover that [they] have been seeing and interacting with transgender men and women in ways you didn’t even realize!” Since transgenders make up less than 1% of the population, most people don’t interact with them at all. Ever.
In the effort to make this minority seem more prevalent than it is, transgenders have been making frequent appearances on TV. Transgender actress Laverne Cox received attention for her work in Orange Is the New Black and Amazon’s showTransparent features a transgender character. And then there’s I Am Cait, Caitlyn Jenner’s series about his/her post-surgery life.
It is odd that Whoopi would be promoting transgenders after her statement about Caitlyn Jenner last summer. “I was annoyed when Bruce looked better than me as a man,” she complained to her View audience, “so now I’m really pissed as hell. Caitlyn is still cuter than me.” Well watch out Whoopi, now you’ve got more competition.
From Keeping Up with the Kardashians to Here Comes Honey Boo, “reality” TV is notorious for depicting anything but. So a show about a transgender modeling agency is a perfect addition to the genre.
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