Zoolander 2 isn’t just bad for trans people – it’s a step backwards for us all

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#1
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/24/zoolander-2-trans-people-step-backwards-for-us-all

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CL4LNWHegk

This week, you may have come across a petition asking you to boycott the film Zoolander 2. A trailer for the movie features a scene with Benedict Cumberbatch introduced as “the most famous supermodel in the world”, the androgynous “All”. “This is the modern equivalent of using blackface to represent a minority,” the petition claims, asserting that the portrayal is “an over-the-top, cartoonish mockery of androgyne/trans/non-binary individuals”. The trailer has upset many people, and the petition (as I write) has collected nearly 12,000 signatures and much commentary.

Comedy, surprisingly for a form that intends to bring joy and joviality, is always upsetting people. Jokes rely on broad strokes, stereotypes, caricatures, exaggerations and simplifications. Most comedy could be described – advertised, even – as “over-the-top, cartoonish mockery”. And we’re OK with that when the targets are appropriate: reality TV stars, politicians, the posh. “Punching up”, it’s sometimes called. Lampoon the lucky, the strong, those who can bear it – topple the oppressors, but never the oppressed. The original Zoolander was 90ish minutes of calling male models stupid. What if they felt upset? Sorry, guys – you’re rich and beautiful, no one is going to feel outraged on your behalf.

Transgender people, non-gendered people, the androgynous and those with gender fluidity are beginning to be represented in pop culture. Non-binary gender is becoming part of mainstream understanding. In the Zoolander 2 trailer, it is All who is modern and successful, and the cis male models who are past it, unnecessary, asking stupid questions: “Hot dog or a bun?” Maybe this bluntly drawn androgyne exists because everyone gets made fun of in comedy? It’s fair, some might argue – we’re all targets. Equal-opportunity mockery.

Gender is a prison we all live in – “men don’t cry”, “women are nurturing”, “women can’t read maps and men can’t multitask”. We’re all diminished and restricted by sweeping statements defining boy and girl, our expectations and disappointments with ourselves, the way we look, what we enjoy, and the choices we make. Many of us cis people don’t spend much time thinking about why we identify as our gender, what has been thrust upon us by expectation and conditioning and how it is making our lives worse. We apologise for not liking sport or not wanting to hold someone’s baby when it is the concept of gender that is wrong. Bodies have a sex, but gender is a thing we made up, like your star sign or nationality. It doesn’t really say anything about who you are. The destruction of gender binary would free everybody.

So this is how I see it. When society has a conversation, it’s a macrocosm of real people talking. You’ll be in the pub or at the dinner table, conversing and listening and sharing ideas, and then Derek makes a joke to lighten the mood. Most of you laugh. Derek gets told off by someone – “It’s a really serious topic, Del. Stop that Chinese accent.” And the conversation continues. Derek would tell you his comedy cheered everyone up. Toni would tell you it really pissed her off. Charlie is tweeting what Derek said and has lost seven followers. That’s the way we talk. And I’ve changed my mind about petitions – I’ve realised they are part of the conversation, too. They’re an arms folded, face tilted “Can I just pick you up on that?” And checking ourselves, defending our position – that’s important. Perhaps comedy needs offence for balance, and this is the dance we do to get better.


#2
"Perhaps comedy needs offence for balance"

No fucking shit
A poem.
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#4


posted it again because
[img]http://i.imgur.com/LYZyCdp.gif[/img]


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#6
Transphobia huh, great publicity for a sequel that nobody cares about.
Shit movie but maybe trans controversy can sell some tickets.
#8
that's fucking stupid get over yourself


comedy is sometimes offensive (the best kind is)


quit being cry babies
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#11
is that quote the actual article? its a mess, the guardian really needs to step up its game
Eat your pheasant
Drink your wine
Your days are numbered, bourgeois swine!
#12
Quote by GuitarGod_92
Gender is the worst and most nonsensical social structure since race hmu

huu
A poem.
Quote by yoman297
no girl, movember isnt for you. shave your stache pls

I can out-bore you any day
#13
it must suck to not be able to enjoy anything ever
___

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she was saying things like... do you want to netflix and chill but just the chill part...too bad she'll never know that I only like the Netflix part...
#14
Silly trailer, maybe-valid controversy (in its present form: dumb controversy), and dumb article.


Basically, watch the damn film. Quit boycotting shit. Quit making "PC gone mad I tell you!" statements.
#16
didn't read. don't care. everybody move on with your lives.

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#17
Professional crybabies. That was like the funniest part of the trailer.
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#18
Quote by GuitarGod_92
Gender is the worst and most nonsensical social structure since race hmu

ugh whites
#19
Quote by WCPhils
it must suck to not be able to enjoy anything ever

I actually wish I didn't care about stuff sometimes because I was reading a book today, just your average thriller (but pretty good for what it was) but I couldn't stop thinking about all the ome dimensional racial stereotypes the author used and I was trying to figure out whether the author meant it that way or if he was portraying the characters' viewpoints, but if the latter then why were ALL of them like that, etc.


If I didn't care about any of that I could've just enjoyed the book properly and had a relaxing day off
cat
#20
Quote by guitarxo
I actually wish I didn't care about stuff sometimes because I was reading a book today, just your average thriller (but pretty good for what it was) but I couldn't stop thinking about all the ome dimensional racial stereotypes the author used and I was trying to figure out whether the author meant it that way or if he was portraying the characters' viewpoints, but if the latter then why were ALL of them like that, etc.


If I didn't care about any of that I could've just enjoyed the book properly and had a relaxing day off

Always helpful to give authors the benefit of the doubt. If it was exaggerated and consistent, maybe he was making a point about those stereotype/the use of stereotypes in general? Or maybe there's some sort of allegory about reader demand/publishing house marketing?

I mean I totally wouldn't know, but it's those are valid ways for writers to critique things in my experience.
#22
Quote by ali.guitarkid7
Always helpful to give authors the benefit of the doubt. If it was exaggerated and consistent, maybe he was making a point about those stereotype/the use of stereotypes in general? Or maybe there's some sort of allegory about reader demand/publishing house marketing?

I mean I totally wouldn't know, but it's those are valid ways for writers to critique things in my experience.

I'm definitely inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt on this since I don't know much about him and I haven't read his other books. Also given the subject matter I think he did a decent job of portraying both sides of the issues wrt to race.

And I wasn't a fan of the writing itself so if I had to criticize something I would rather go with that since it's less ambiguous haha
cat
#23
A few years ago, a joke was a joke. As long as it was meant in a lighthearted way, no harm, no foul. I actually like it when people lob jokes my way. I'm a fan of humor regardless of the subject. As long as it's funny and good natured, have at it.

However, the movie looks like shit tbh.
Originally posted by Joshua Garcia
I just come here to dick around.
And maybe occasionally wave my dick around.


My D is major
#24
This is garbage on both ends. First off, i can almost guarantee the movie is going to be a flop because these kinds of sequals always suck. Secondly, im sick of these pussified outraged people. "Insult the oppressors, not the oppressed".. Seriously, stfu. Comedy is about making people laugh. If the humor is there and trans people are at the brunt of the joke, too fucking bad. Learn to laugh at yourself once in awhile and move on. Or just dont watch the movie. People who say "its okay if you make fun of THAT group but not my group" (which they literally said in the article) deserve a verbal slaughtering.
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#25
I think everyone is probably not enough of a moron to not be conscious of the fact that these characters are meant to be over-the-top ridiculous.
Free Ali
Last edited by chrismendiola at Nov 26, 2015,
#26
Quote by Watterboy
This is garbage on both ends. First off, i can almost guarantee the movie is going to be a flop because these kinds of sequals always suck. Secondly, im sick of these pussified outraged people. "Insult the oppressors, not the oppressed".. Seriously, stfu. Comedy is about making people laugh. If the humor is there and trans people are at the brunt of the joke, too fucking bad. Learn to laugh at yourself once in awhile and move on. Or just dont watch the movie. People who say "its okay if you make fun of THAT group but not my group" (which they literally said in the article) deserve a verbal slaughtering.

I'm glad someone gets it
Originally posted by Joshua Garcia
I just come here to dick around.
And maybe occasionally wave my dick around.


My D is major
#27
Quote by guitarxo
I'm definitely inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt on this since I don't know much about him and I haven't read his other books. Also given the subject matter I think he did a decent job of portraying both sides of the issues wrt to race.

And I wasn't a fan of the writing itself so if I had to criticize something I would rather go with that since it's less ambiguous haha

What book was this, btw?
#30
Quote by M00NAGEDAYDREAM
didn't read. don't care. everybody move on with your lives.

I second this lol
I'm finally 18!!!
#31
Ben Stiller is just a slightly less unbearable Adam Sandler
Check out my band Disturbed
#32
Quote by StewieSwan
Ben Stiller is just a slightly less unbearable Adam Sandler

hey... leave sandler out of this, he did nothing to you
I'm finally 18!!!
#33
Quote by GuitarGod_92
Gender is the worst and most nonsensical social structure since race hmu


I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to trolling attempts, but I can't tell this time.

Are you really trying to be stupid, or did I miss the attempt here?
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#34
Quote by chrismendiola at #33700420
I think everyone is probably not enough of a moron to be conscious of the fact that these characters are meant to be over-the-top ridiculous.

Yeah and it's too bad that some people would just watch Zoolander 2 and think to themselves 'haha man this transgender character is hilarious because transgender people are stupid and don't know what gender they want to be' because it might ruin an opportunity for a genuinely funny character for everyone.

or not because Zoolander 2 probably won't be terribly funny.

I'm still hurt of Anchorman 2.
#35
hey brad, remember when you posted that article someone wrote about Seinfeld being racist, apparently completely unaware that that was the point?
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#38
I think the approach to these issues is a little backwards. You aren't supposed to boycott every single movie that shows even a single thread of "backwards culture" or things that promote negative cultural values. These movies show these kind of things (making fun of trans people, etc) because they are influenced by our culture, not because there is a super evil scheme to oppress transgenders, specially when it's subtle and part of most films/media.

This sort of attack approaches things in the wrong way. You need to show these moments in film and other media and show how they misrepresent transgenders and promote transphobia and discrimination; but show it to our society in general so the culture changes, don't make a strawman out of the movie making it seem like the fault is with the movie itself.
The problem is not with the movie, it's with our culture, so don't make it a point to antagonize the movie in a way that will shift attention to something irrelevant and will surely attract opposition and confusion. For example, you are bound to have people defending the movie for being just "comedy", and attacking the boycotters for being oversensitive, "PC gone mad", etc.
This makes it harder to push for your original agenda (trans rights/etc), since this approach (boycotting a film, etc) basically forces the narrative to be either "Support trans rights but hate a film for shitty reasons" OR "Oppose trans rights but defend a film against shitty backlash". This is a false dichotomy brought into the general discourse solely based on these actions, and the only thing good that can come out of this is that it will be forgotten as quickly as possible so people can start focusing on the actual problem.

This also applies to other problems and media, where this approach seems to be popular among some people.
#39
Quote by gonzaw at #33700647
I think the approach to these issues is a little backwards. You aren't supposed to boycott every single movie that shows even a single thread of "backwards culture" or things that promote negative cultural values. These movies show these kind of things (making fun of trans people, etc) because they are influenced by our culture, not because there is a super evil scheme to oppress transgenders, specially when it's subtle and part of most films/media.

This sort of attack approaches things in the wrong way. You need to show these moments in film and other media and show how they misrepresent transgenders and promote transphobia and discrimination; but show it to our society in general so the culture changes, don't make a strawman out of the movie making it seem like the fault is with the movie itself.
The problem is not with the movie, it's with our culture, so don't make it a point to antagonize the movie in a way that will shift attention to something irrelevant and will surely attract opposition and confusion. For example, you are bound to have people defending the movie for being just "comedy", and attacking the boycotters for being oversensitive, "PC gone mad", etc.
This makes it harder to push for your original agenda (trans rights/etc), since this approach (boycotting a film, etc) basically forces the narrative to be either "Support trans rights but hate a film for shitty reasons" OR "Oppose trans rights but defend a film against shitty backlash". This is a false dichotomy brought into the general discourse solely based on these actions, and the only thing good that can come out of this is that it will be forgotten as quickly as possible so people can start focusing on the actual problem.

This also applies to other problems and media, where this approach seems to be popular among some people.

Completely agree. I'm so sick of this "with us or against us, torch and pitchfork" culture nowadays when it comes to social issues. How do people expect to convince others to change their opinions on issues by attempting to censor media or dehumanizing people with different opinions?
#40
How is it any different to making fun of Jewish people for having a big nose, or an Middle easterner for having a turban.

Calm the fuck down kiddies.
Come back if you want to
And remember who you are
‘Cause there's nothing here for you my dear
And everything must pass
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