Over Sexualisation is the act of pushing sexual characteristics onto an object or being by others, to something seemingly less sexual that its portrayal.
In this article we will be exploring the portrayal of transgender women in the media, the porn industry and how this translates into every day life.
This article touches on sensitive subjects such as porn and therefore may not be suitable for younger readers.
Transgender women in the media:
The media has a huge impact on how trans people are perceived, therefore making sure that transgender characters are being portrayed in a fair and representative way is of upmost importance. The viewers learn about transgender people through the characters, and moulds an idea of what trans people are like in the audience's mind.
There isn't a lot of coverage of transgender women in the mainstream media, however, it has become more and more frequent that we see shows, movies and TV series which feature trans people, or even whole stories about them.
Here are a few examples of the kind of mainstream media trans people have been subject to:
I Am Jazz (2015)
I Am Cait (2015)
The Danish Girl (2015)
Most of these series and movies portray transgender women in a positive light on the most part - however there are certain issues that I would like to outline in this article.
The series 'Pose' is a very in depth representation of the lives of many trans individuals in 1987-1988. In the series, there is a lot of scenes which involve prostitution and working in the sex industry. It shows the reality of how transgender women were (and still greatly are) seen as sex objects part of men's fantasies, where everything was done behind closed doors.
Despite exposing that side of the realities of being trans, it has a positive impact as it accurately represents the struggles of transgender people with being viewed as a fetish. It also demonstrates the struggles of trans women being viewed in that way, and how much they just desire to be loved and cherish for who they really are.
On the other hand, the movie 'The Danish Girl' doesn't portray trans women in the best light. Now, I'm not saying that the movie is all wrong, however, drastic improvements can be altered.
First of all, a man plays a trans woman.
This is a huge issues for the portrayal of trans women, as when the actor (Eddie Redmayne) is off screen, he is a man. This makes the audience associate being a trans woman as dressing up as a woman but really just being a man - which is far from the truth.
The plot thickens when the transgender character Lili Elbe (played by Eddie Redmayne) kisses a man. The character explains to their wife that they were 'not being themselves', they were being Lili. But transgender people don't change as people when they "dress up", they are themselves through and through. There are other small 'errors' which don't represent trans people accurately leading to them being seen as less than people.
Transgender women in porn:
There are fetishes and fantasies about pretty much everything nowadays, and with the porn industry being so huge, no wonder people (mainly men, but not excluding women) take advantage of the uniqueness of transgender people.
The term "Transgender" is the 15th most searched for term on pornhub in 2019. And the 2nd top trending search for gay male searches.
(which, can I just mention that trans women are women, and not gay men - but ok)
Despite their not being an issue with transgender women identifying as trans both on and off screen, men typically only know trans girl from porn - therefore the label 'trans girl' is typically associated with porn and sexual fantasies.
A huge issue with the term transgender on porn sites is that it can be misunderstood. Typically, when you search for the term 'transgender', results of trans women (typically pre op) are shown, however there is little to no regulation whether the individual is actually transgender or a cross dressed. There is a huge difference between the two - despite seemingly similar qualities.
Because of the association of trans women and the porn industry - it has lead to people perceiving trans individuals as fetishes.