What’s wrong with this picture?
Helen G // 4 May 2010
Just when you thought that cis people’s crass fixation on trans people’s genitalia could go no further, along comes this article in Argentina’s Momento24 English, demonstrating conclusively that their prurience really knows no bounds:
Barbie changes sex
Andrea Cano and photographer Manuel Antonio Velandia, after 50 years of Barbie, were responsible for the operation, which ended with the change of sex on the popular doll.
Velandia told the media he “chose to these dolls because they are well known and because they are unrealistic women, that would have waists of 40 cm and breasts of a size of 110 cm.”
And he “found it curious that, as with most of the dolls, Barbies are sexless.”
Andrea Cano revealed that “she had since childhood the fantasy of having a doll that was a transsexual and Barbie gave her that chance.”
Thanks to them, and to Decide-T Association of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders of Alicante, the exhibition ‘Invisibles: Natures transgressive’ will be held.
Veladia confirms that “this exhibition is recommended for audiences of all ages as we are to put aside the issue of sexuality as a taboo and that children since early know that there is diversity in this area.”
I can understand Mr Velandia’s objection to the unrealistic representation of women that Barbie dolls perpetuate (including the fact that the dolls are anatomically incorrect) – it’s hyper-feminisation personified – but Ms Cano’s “fantasy” of having a doll of a transsexual woman suggests a large degree of objectification, not least because of its upholding of the gender binary.
To complete their bid for winners of today’s round of trans bingo, the thinking behind their dolls sensationalises surgery and defines our identities according to our genital topography – and, in his last quote, Mr Velandia also manages to conflate sexuality with gender identity.
But perhaps the most striking thing about these dolls is that they show how ignorant Mr Velandia and Ms Cano really are about trans bodies: surely a Barbie doll would “transition” to a trans man, not a trans woman?
If I was posting this on Twitter, I’d hashtag it #cisFAIL. Facepalm moment of the day, no question.