Why do straight men have such a problem with trans women?

In my most recent post, I discussed comments made by Victoria Secret’s chief marketing officer Ed Razek who suggested trans and plus size women can’t sell fantasy. Folks from all communities rallied to the frontlines of social media to prove Razek wrong and demonstrate the many ways in which trans and plus size women  have revolutionized the beauty and fashion game.

Among those people, is openly trans makeup artist and beauty guru Nikita Dragun. In a recent tweet, she posted an open letter to Victoria Secret that trans women can sell “fantasy”.

There is no doubt that Nikita embodied the image of a Victoria Secret Angel. She’s beautiful, radiant, and glowing. The tweet garnered lots of support and love from her fans.

As a YouTube Star, Nikita often shares makeup tutorials and storytime videos. On November 21st, 2018, Nikita posted a video sharing some of her troubles and how she was kicked out of a famous rapper’s party for being a trans woman.

Nikita never names the rapper, but she does express the frustration she felt for being asked to leave the party.

Since Nikita has experienced a surge of popularity for her response to Victoria Secret, the story time video took to Twitter, and users’ comments were less than kind. One user named @cashmerejOnez shared the following:

https://twitter.com/cashmerejOnez/status/1071342062270861312

The tweet received over 90,000 likes, over 35,000 retweets, and countless comments in agreement. Unfortunately, like often on the internet, these several thousand people missed the point.

So where do I begin?

First, let’s start with the obvious. There are tons of straight men that want to have sex with trans women. Pornhub has an entire section dedicated to transwomen. It wouldn’t exist if somebody wasn’t interest in having sex with trans folk. Also, if @cashmerejOnez had actually watched Nikita’s video, he would have learned that the rapper rolled down his window to holler at Nikita and get her number.

The fact that Nikita was kicked out of the party is simply indicative of the shame straight men have for being attracted to trans women. As such, they take out their own self hatred onto the trans person and shame and belittle and isolate them to reaffirm all things toxically masculine about themselves.

Two, how does accepting an invitation to a party mean that you are interested in having sex? If I were invited by my gorgeous model friend to a party hosted by a famous rapper, I’m not saying no. Nikita didn’t seek the rapper out, throw herself onto him and demand him to have sex with her. She was literally existing and minding her own damn business.

Lastly, trans women don’t always want you, fellas. Cis women don’t always want you. Gay men don’t always want you. Why do you always think that you are sexually desired by others and you have to reject them to reassert yourself as a man?

Yes, you are completely entitled to sleep with whoever you want to, but the issue here isn’t that Nikita wanted to have sex with a rapper and was rejected. The issue is that she was at a party attended by hundreds and asked to leave because she was trans.

Men, here’s a bit of information in case you’re unaware. It’s not always about you. Stop shaming others because you are uncomfortable with who you are. The existence of a person within your vicinity does not threaten your masculinity.

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What’s Wrong With Victoria Secret’s Comments on Trans and Plus Size Women?

Hours before the Victoria Secret Fashion Show held on November 8th, 2018, Vogue published an interview with VS Chief Marketing Officer, Ed Razek. When asked if VS plans to use plus size and transgender models, Razek responded to Vogue, “Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is.”

He went on further to say that VS has tried to include trans and plus-size models, but people simply are uninterested. Razek told the Vogue interviewer:

If you’re asking if we’ve considered putting a transgender model in the show or looked at putting a plus-size model in the show, we have. We invented the plus-size model show in what was our sister division, Lane Bryant. Lane Bryant still sells plus-size lingerie, but it sells a specific range, just like every specialty retailer in the world sells a range of clothing. As do we. We market to who we sell to, and we don’t market to the whole world. We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don’t.

Razek’s comments sparked outrage in online communities for his outdated and insensitive use of the word “transexual” and suggestion that plus size women and trans women are not suitable VS models.

However, there are others that suggest VS has done nothing wrong, and they have every right to shape their brand how they want to. Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 9.27.29 PMScreen Shot 2018-11-14 at 9.26.19 PMScreen Shot 2018-11-14 at 9.37.12 PM

It’s true that Victoria Secret has authority on the type of consumer they wish to sell to. However, they can’t control who buys their product. Let’s face it. Your mom, grandma, cousin, and baby sister shop at Victoria Secret. You’ll be hard pressed to find a young woman (with the means of course) who hasn’t perused the 7 for $28 panty special. And of  all the people aforementioned that shop at VS stores, none of them fit the criteria of a VS angel.

So what exactly is the VS market and what is this “fantasy”?

To simply put it… Men. The Victoria Secret runway and print ads are all designed for the male gaze. That’t the fantasy they are creating, and it’s the one we are all buying into.

Companies never sell the product. They sell what the product can provide. Toyota doesn’t sell cars. They sell safety and reliability. Allstate doesn’t sell insurance. They sell peace of mind. And McDonald’s doesn’t sell burgers. They sell happiness in a red and yellow happy meal.

Victoria Secret doesn’t sell underwear. They sell desirability. You want to be these women because they are the true definition of beauty as dictated by men. Trans women and plus size women don’t fit into this fantasy land because they’re not socially desired by men.

There are plenty of trans women that model and fit the body type of a VS model, and plus size models like Ashley Graham are demonstrating the growing interest in women that don’t fit the size zero mold.

What really is the deal with Victoria Secret? They simply don’t think we’re desirable, but don’t let the tweets fool you. You as a consumer have every right to demand what is marketed to you. Victoria Secret would not show on your Instagram feed or Facebook timeline if you weren’t the consumer.

This idea that cis white men and women with teeny waists and perfect peach beach bods is archaic, and they’re far behind their competitors. When Cheerios realized hey black people eat our cereal too, they made a commercial featuring interracial families. When Apple realized wow people all over the word really like this iPhone, they marketed to global audiences.

Victoria Secret’s excuses for not having plus size women or trans women are whack. They’re the same excuses they used for not having VS angels of color. In 2015, Maria Borges, made history when she walked down as the first VS model rocking her natural hair. And Kelsey Merritt, a filipina VS angel, didn’t join the team until early this year making her the first filipina VS angel in the company’s 41 year history.

The world is changing and Victoria Secret simply can’t keep up. Don’t waste your time and take your buying power elsewhere.