This column isn’t just commentary on the culture: “Ack, reality shows. How idiotic.” It’s an analysis of the unconsidered philosophical and moral underpinnings of one of our new top ten commandments: Thou shalt tolerate everything (except people who disagree with you).
Double Divas is the show about two women who run a bra shop in Atlanta. One web site with a “.org” extension (which is for non-profits) looks like it was produced by a semi-illiterate 12-year-old, but these sharp businesswomen would have hired a pro. The Lifetime cable channel web site is legit.
Molly Hopkins and Cynthia Richards cheerfully fit bras on women of all persuasions, sizes, shapes, colors, and ages. And genders. Cynthia Richards even produced a sort of bra for men who run marathons, because their nipples bleed without protection while running. Her bro bra was a flop, aesthetically and popularly. The one male customer who saw it would rather bleed out than wear it.
The latest episode featured a transgendered person, who was tearily grateful that Molly treated him like everyone else.
From the age of four, he said, he knew he was a woman in a man’s body, so when he grew up he had someone cut off the male parts and is daily drugging the rest of the body with hormones in order to look like a tall woman. As far as he explained it, no inborn physical or biochemical anomaly created sexual ambiguity in his body. He just had a feeling. Now he spends much of his time looking for clothes that fit, and tolerance.
This now familiar story begs a couple of questions. First, what real woman would do that to any man she liked?
And most importantly, why wouldn’t this person tolerate his own body? Why didn't he tolerate what could have been a pleasing complexity without mutilating his body?
The word “queer”, once an insult, has been adopted by the homosexual community as a good word. It always meant “odd” or different. But now gay people don’t want to be thought of as odd, or even eccentric, regardless of statistical reality or the garishness of their pride parade costumes. They want whatever cachet the straight majority might be imagined to enjoy, except when they want to remold that majority in their own image.
Today we understand that a woman who literally starves herself to death because she thinks she’s fat exhibits “body dysmorphic disorder” — but a man who castrates himself is … self-actualizing? Certainly there are plenty of doctors who are willing to go along with this illogical and unequal application of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders definition of BDD. The APA has been extraordinarily flexible in its identification of what is illness and what is mental health, depending on which way the winds of politics and insurance compensation blow.