Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Appearance

This post is about appearance, and an appearance. It's about a woman with all the grace and poise of a 10-ton truck, and a pushed-in face that would not look out of place on a bulldog. A woman of 47 from a hicksville place, a spinster, unemployed and living alone with her cat. Never been married, never dated, never been kissed. Not just plain, Ugly. A joke. Hopelessly out of place amongst the young and the beautiful, the glamorous and sexy performers she was amongst. Strictly Comedy relief.

Now please watch this video.



She's not Trans. But the unpretty appearance, and her lonely life, would not be out of place amongst many late transitioners. They too would have looked in the mirror every day, and seen something worse than ugly, deformed and un-natural, until they transition. Un-pretty is a step up for them, not matter how bad they look, and no matter how solitary their consequent existence.

They too would have had to endure the jibe, the barbs, the rolled eyes and mocking laughter. They too would have had to have the courage to continue, to defy the world's mockery and scorn, and throw it back with a good-natured laugh. And they too would have been hurt as she was, because although you can tolerate it, the pain is just as real. You still feel it, even if you don't show it. You just get better at coping with it with practice.

And then... we have the sheer incongruity that she has the voice of an angel, one that belongs to a beautiful diva, not a frump. Not just a talent, a great talent. One that the world has missed out on for 47 years, losing the honour and privilege of listening to her voice because no-one would give her a chance. It is a great loss to the world, and entirely the world's own fault.

She is beautiful. We know that because once she starts to sing, her physical features are forgotten, and we can't help but be entranced by her inner beauty.

That is the first lesson. We take too great a stock on appearance.

Now for the second.

If she had the voice of a bullfrog, a horrible croak, she would be no less beautiful and courageous a person. The sheer defiance of the world's hostility that she showed, and the courage and good-nature with which she reacted to the barbs showed that.

I have been granted the privilege of being in the company of many such women. None that I can think of nearly as un-pretty as her, but many who are at best, plain. And some of whom are objectively pretty, even beautiful in the conventional sense too. But all of whom have had to show that same tenacity in the face of adversity, the same ability to carry on despite the hurtful remarks, the insults, and the hatred.

And all of whom would trade a million years of being told they had an "inner beauty" for one day of being able to look in the mirror and feel sexy and beautiful. Even the ones who really do look that way to others. It's part and parcel of being a woman.

If you want to know what being a late-transitioning transwoman is like, to have a true understanding, not merely an intellectual one, view that video again. She's not Trans, but that is really who we are.

My face is not too bad, but my body is like Susan Boyle's and has been since age 6. However, I have been granted the opportunity of exercising my talents before the world where she had not. My talents lie more in Systems Architecture rather than music of course. I'm glad that finally she may be getting the recognition and opportunity to excel that she deserves.

12 comments:

sugarandmedicine said...

Very touching. In french, the term jolie-laide often comes to mind re this aspect of beauty withing and without. Mainstream entertainment and culture don't interest me from a performing standpoint though. When I play at the local pride, and someone comes up and excitedly asks me for a CD, or even years later tells me they saw me play a few songs and were 'blown away' - it's fine for me.

There is an aspect of media coverage regarding trans folk that I find as annoying as it is epidemic. The sensationalism of the before / after processes and pix. It reduces transwomen to men who do a 'fabulous' job of looking like women. The media is always looking for the most sensational aspect, such as a homely woman with a beautiful voice. The experience of seeing it is itself sensational because we are programmed to believe that beauty only comes out of the package we are used to seeing.

Anyway, thanks for the post, it hit home for sure. B.

Bad hair days said...

Hm. Actually I expected an ugly person after reading your text, not the sympathetic woman, that she actually is.

mythusmage said...

She is indeed a sassy lady. A good person from a good family. I've known some truly ugly people, and their physical appearance had nothing to do with it.

RadarGrrl said...

While she's not exactly catwalk material, she's far from being a hound-dog. To boot, this woman has something that so many of the so-called 'beautiful' people lack. She's got character. In spades. She's got all sorts of spunk and courage to be able to get up on that stage, in front of all in the audience just rooting (not the Oz version) for the pretty ones, and blow them all away. That makes up for the plain look. Hell, she's prettier than I'll ever be.

But that also goes to illustrate the point that beauty is about far more than physical appearance. I'd relish an evening or few with this girl, just because I can tell she's got a ton of stories to tell.

Paris Hilton and her beautiful friends can go back where they came from. This is where it's at!

Wonderful post, Zoebie!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe the misogyny in this post!

RadarGrrl said...

Misogyny is at the heart of transgender issues, Anon.

Zoe Brain said...

I repeat:

If she had the voice of a bullfrog, a horrible croak, she would be no less beautiful and courageous a person. The sheer defiance of the world's hostility that she showed, and the courage and good-nature with which she reacted to the barbs showed that.

I have been granted the privilege of being in the company of many such women.
That's misogyny?

Anonymous said...

Let's see...

'grace and poise of a 10-ton truck'
'pushed in face'
'not just plain, ugly'
'the unpretty appearance, and her lonely life'
'a frump'

You've already outed your mysogyny there, before you then try and make-out that you think that her looks shouldn't matter.

See, if you were not a mysogynist, her appearance wouldn't have even entered your head in the first place...

And you are screaming 'male privilege' in:

'I have been granted the privilege of being in the company of many such women. None that I can think of nearly as un-pretty as her, but many who are at best, plain'

'My face is not too bad, but my body is like Susan Boyle's and has been since age 6. However, I have been granted the opportunity of exercising my talents before the world where she had not.'

What makes you think so are so much better than her??

Nica said...

Girl got voice.

True Zoe.

Anonymous said...

I am not fond of music or singing so the whole thing is a publicity manipulation for the entertainment industry.

RadarGrrl said...

Interesting. YOU are not a fan of music or singing, so the whole thing is therefore media manipulation? I'm sorry. I don't follow.

I'm a drummer and very much a fan of music. While I'm hardly a fan of the prefab music that these shows turn out, there are some bright spots, and talent shows are hardly anything new. I prefer to support local music, because of nobody does that, there is very little other music. Think about it.

Unrelated: Hello Nica.

Zoe Brain said...

"Better" than her?

Er... just how thick to you have to be to say something like that?

I was given opportunity that she wasn't. I was privileged to be given an opportunity to display my talents. She, with an even greater talent, was not. That's wrong. It's unjust.

Even the extremely hard-of-thinking would see that.

But I guess that if you are of a vicious and spiteful nature, any excuse to attack will do, and mere facts won't get in the way.