Saturday, December 20, 2008

Double Shot at Love: I Feel a Rant Coming On

Ok, so I was really excited today, because I found out that a person I used to work with is on Double Shot at Love, which gives me a legitimate excuse to both watch the trash and blog about it! But as it turns out, I can't stomach blogging about this shit. I'll still root for the guy I know and all, but the first episode seriously made me physically ill. During the "big reveal" in which Rikki tells the contestants they've been meeting both her and her twin Vikki, Rikki leads with "I was born with another part." Cut to shocked contestants, guys saying things like "I can't believe I kissed her!" and "Please don't have a penis!" and girls saying things like "This happened to me before... twice in a lifetime is too much."

Most of the negative stereotypes this show plays with, I can take because I naively imagine that people, you know, KNOW better. They know that this is MTV and if a bisexual woman is slutty and petty and fake, well, that's not saying much because everyone is slutty and petty and fake on MTV. But using severe and apparent transphobia for drama and laughs is nothing short of appalling. Because one month ago, there was little known day called the Transgender Day of Rememberence. Because for some people, and I want to stress that world - we are talking about people, not a concept, people with families and friends and lovers and jobs and childhoods and hopes - for some people, "twice in a lifetime" might represent too many times they found out someone they cared for was disgusted by their body. "Twice in a lifetime" might represent too many times they were harassed for trying to use a restroom. "Twice in a lifetime" might represent too many times they've had to face discrimination from teachers, employers, doctors and other officials that made life more difficult to navigate. "Twice in a lifetime" might represent too many times they felt threatened just for existing. "Twice in a lifetime" might represent too many times they were a victim of violence. "Twice in a lifetime" might represent too many times they read about a person like them being killed for being a person like them. But probably not, you know. It was probably a lot more than twice.

Don't tell me I'm overreacting when I say: according to MTV, transgender people don't deserve a shot at love.

You see, sometimes things are said or done, and I can hear the average person twenty years from now saying sternly, "I would have never let something like that happen." You know, how we say now, "If I was around when the Native Americans were being slaughtered, I wouldn't have contributed," or "If I was alive during segregation, I wouldn't have just sat back". But here's the thing: you most likely would, and that doesn't mean you're evil. Everything around you would encourage you to be oppressive or apathetic. This retroactive denouncement bothers me to no end. It accomplishes nothing except covering one's ass from being called prejudiced. Listen: it's much more impressive to own up to your prejudice and privilege, to acknowledge that the world around us still encourages us to treat some people as "normal" and others as deviations from that norm, and therefore less worthwhile. White does not mean normal, male does not mean normal, able-bodied does not mean normal, straight does not mean normal and cis-gendered (born with a biological sex that matches one's identity) does not mean normal. When a kid asks you twenty years from now if you tolerated prejudice, fear and violence, what are you going to be able to say to them?

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