Laverne Cox: Vanity Fair Pushed ‘Cisnormative Beauty Standards’ with Bruce Jenner Cover


One of the most famous transgender individuals in America Laverne Cox released a statement on Tumblr in which she agreed with Breitbart Editor-at-Large Ben Shapiro. Shapiro said in a column for Breitbart on Tuesday that it is ridiculous to portray Bruce Jenner as a womanly woman on the cover of Vanity Fair in order to make it more credible that Jenner is a woman. There are many transgenders who look nothing like women.

Shapiro argued that Vanity Fair and others who champion Jenner’s alleged transformation say gender has no meaning, then portray Jenner as a stereotypical ingenue in order to make him look like a woman, tacitly acknowledging that gender means something.

Cox made the same point, writing:

But what I think they meant is that in certain lighting, at certain angles I am able to embody certain cisnormative beauty standards. Now, there are many trans folks because of genetics and/or lack of material access who will never be able to embody these standards. More importantly many trans folks don’t want to embody them and we shouldn’t have to to be seen as ourselves and respected as ourselves. It is important to note that these standards are also infomed by race, class and ability among other intersections. I have always been aware that I can never represent all trans people. No one or two or three trans people can. This is why we need diverse media representations of trans folks to multiply trans narratives in the media and depict our beautiful diversities.

Shapiro concluded:

Being a female is more than injections and plastic surgery, and even those who purport to believe Jenner is now a female recognize that, or hold the utterly incoherent position that genders are completely subjective and impossible to objectively define, but that we can objectively recognize transitions between them – and that those who refuse to submit to the delusions of the mentally ill must be denounced as intolerant and unscientific.

One example of what Shapiro refers to: When Kevin Williamson, writing for the National Review, titled a piece, “Laverne Cox Is Not A Woman,” one online trans supporter wrote, “ …it is pointless, reductive, and intolerable for a mainstream newspaper to generate attention by providing a public platform for a woman’s identity to be diminished and degraded by someone who has absolutely no right to make judgments about the gender of anyone besides himself.”