Onions Tend to StinkPosted: October 9, 2012
[Updated with commentary on The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, and SNL, which all managed to rip on trans women in the past week.]
The Onion posted a short article today, titled “Nation Did Not See Mark Wahlberg’s Sex Change Coming”. Inspired by this slice of totally-original-not-at-all-cliche-or-damaging humor, I whipped up a funny infographic for them, free of charge.
They weren’t the only ones getting in on the “trans women LOL” action this week, however. Stephen Colbert made two jabs at trans women, on his own show and on The Daily Show, on the same day. During a segment on the Colbert Report (14:56), he talked about a testosterone injection treatment for older men. To amp up the “hilarity”, he pushed his own treatment that combines testosterone and estrogen, ending with the statement, “You’ll not only have six-pack abs, you’ll have double-D breasts.”
Not satisfied with a somewhat indirect attack, he appeared on the Daily Show (12:34) to engage with Jon Stewart in a faux political debate. He quipped, “It’s like telling the host of a dinner party, ‘I’m certain your wife is a female’. Saying it out loud feels wrong, no matter how large her hands are.”
The “joke” being a tired old trope about being able to tell a woman is trans by the size of her hands. Because those darn trannies, aren’t they so fun to pick out of a crowd.
As if that wasn’t enough, a recent Saturday Night Live episode (11:49) with host Daniel Craig went for the full monty, leaving nothing to the imagination. In one sketch, construction workers cat-call women. The “joke” is that Daniel Craig’s character is really bad at it. On top of normalizing harassment of all women, the “joke” reaches its final punchline when Craig delivers the line, “I bet she’s got a big old penis under there, too.”
And people wonder why trans women are so often targeted for violence. “Humor” like this dehumanizes trans people, especially trans women, and is used to normalize physical attacks against us. This isn’t an isolated incident, this is an all-out media assault against trans women.
For a more humorous take on this week’s media failure and more, check out The Start-to-Hate Review System.