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  1. The studies that supposedly show kids growing out of body dysmorphia that has them wanting to be another gender have been shown to be conflating two different conditions: 1) transgender kids who state they ARE a gender different than what they were assigned at birth, and 2) kids who state I WANT to be. Many children try out the other gender at different times in childhood. This can be expressed in asking to be called a different name, hanging out more with kids of that gender, dressing differently, etc. It is very common. It is also much more common for girls to state they want to be a boy than for boys to state they want to be a girl. These kids are not transgender nor do they have body dysmorphia related to gender. These are the kids that "grow out of it." Jazz has consistently stated she is a girl/female. I think the difficulty for folks who are not transgender is we have likely never had think about why we are the gender we are. Our genders have been confirmed for us from birth through subtle messages and some rather strong ones. If anything many of us at different times may have struggled against stereotypes of how we are supposed to be, but we have not questioned whether we are what we are. For transgender kids and adults, it is more than how you are telling me girls/boys act doesn't match who I am or I want to wear different clothes. It is a sense that this gender is not who I am. Where this gets most difficult is that TV focuses on the outer things, clothes and bodies. There is no good way to show the inner issues. Also, we typically only see transgender folks who are physically transitioning. The vast majority of transgender people do not physically transition to the level that we are shown on TV. And the vast majority trans women who undergo surgeries, etc. do not dress to feminine extremes. Much like cisgender women, transgender women present themselves in all different kinds of ways.
  2. The unfortunate thing with this show is that in trying to maintain some privacy for Jazz, we do not see her outside of things related to her being transgender and her physical transition. TV is a visual medium. It is going to focus on what we can see. I can understand the frustration of having fought for gender equality only to feel like someone is focusing their idea of gender on appearance. At the same time, I see that as more of a problem of the show, not the person. Jazz is young and discovering who she is. Yes, she can come off giggly and silly. She is in some ways quite immature. In others she has been through a lot. She is intelligent. She has not said she wants to spend her life being taken care of. While we had the storyline of her struggling with school and switching to homeschooling, it was not based on lack of intelligence or low grades. The kid is smart and has through most of the time we've seen her been presented as a good student. She is kind of damned if she does/damned if she doesn't. If she wants to embrace the gender norms that many people assign to being female, then she is moving us back in terms of feminism and/or focusing only on appearance. If she doesn't then others will challenge whether or not she's acting enough like a girl. Yes, she needs to mature and improve in her ability to debate with others. Heck, I am too far past 17 to remember how well I could structure an argument around an issue that struck to the core of who I am and my validity as a human, but I am guessing I was not ready to have a well-reasoned, even-handed detailed debate addressing the finer nuances of history, gender, women's rights and the role of women in society.
  3. @TwirlyGirly we are in agreement. I was trying to explain where the idea of gender as a social construct comes from without conflating it with discussions of people being transgender. Two separate items. I think that is also where many laypersons struggle because it is so hard to explain how you know you are the gender that you are so we tend to focus on what are perceived as gendered looks or behaviors. As you say, unfortunately some studies conflate this also. It also makes us need really specific language that can be very hard to maintain. I do like your equating discussions of gender as a social construct with gender non-conforming since that is often based on ideas of how people in given genders should look and/or behave.
  4. Adding to the above, the argument of gender as a social construct was posited prior to much of the research on gender's impact on the brain. I would now pose it as many supposed gender-based behaviors are a social construct. Within our society, there are behaviors we expect of men and women. These are societal norms that are not carried across all societies. Many people have argued against these societal norms, especially given how many of them have been used to hold women back. The ideas that all women should want children; women are only sexual when in love and/or women only want sex if there is a material benefit offered (money, status, security); women are more emotional/cannot control their emotions; women are the homemakers; women love to shop; women care about their appearance; women are competitive with each other to compete for men; etc. Similarly boys don't cry; all men want sex all the time; men are into sports/athletic; men do not want to take on childrearing, nurturing or caring tasks; men are slobs who need to be taken care of; etc. There are societies in which these beliefs do not track against gender. They are not hard-coded. There are gender differences shown in the brain. These differences do not necessarily generate the behaviors our society expects. And are all people are not the same. As new views see gender as more of a bimodal distribution, so too are people challenging the idea that specific behaviors, likes and dislikes should be associated solely with a person's gender. If we allow for variation within behaviors and accept them as part of the norm rather than outside of the norm, fewer people will feel ostracized or as if they are somehow wrong in who they are. Note, this is not to say that correcting societal expectations of gender-based behaviors will end having transgender persons. Absolutely not. Transgender is rooted in the brain and body. Transgender people have always existed and will continue to exist as will people with other variations. We're all part of one big complex world in which we try to put everyone into distinct boxes only to have many people sitting outside those boxes looking in.
  5. A few times now Jazz has changed from saying pretty vagina to saying she wants one that looks normal. To a large extent, I think the whole pretty vagina thing was used for shock value. She clearly enjoyed making her father and brothers uncomfortable. Personally I do not find vulvae unattractive. We are told that they are in a girls are icky kind of way; one more body part to feel is not up to par. Most of us never really see ours up close. I have seen quite a few in my day. Never found them particularly unattractive. In fact, some are quite lovely. Clearly YMMV. The focus on depth is from the doctors' concern that they would not have enough material to create a vagina of a normal depth. Otherwise I don't know that she would think of it that much. Given that her vagina will not react with the same expansion ability that non-surgical ones do, depth does matter. Should she choose too have penetrative sex at some point in time, she needs sufficient depth to not be hurt.
  6. To me the huge focus on Jeanette last night was because that's where the drama was. She was clearly upset at the situation. While Greg is more controlled in his outward reactions, that't not who Jeanette is. While I would rather be around Greg (and I have often been told I am cold because I do not react like Jeanette), I can understand her reactions and feel sorry for her. She was the adult* caring for a child in a city away from home. Most people would prefer to have their partner with them during a time of great stress. And, as she stated, this was much harder than she expected. Other moms told her, but often we don't understand until we're in the middle of things. When overwhelmed it is hard to find the way out. Given that Jazz had complications, things were much worse than any of them were prepared for. She was due for a breakdown. The cameras were there when it happened and the producers ate it up. *yes, Ari is an adult. As Jeanette's child, she is not someone Jeanette is likely to lean on. She would see herself as needing to be strong for Ari. Hence her decision not to tell the girls about grandpa's situation until he was stable. I always look at this show with a bit of a side eye. The focus of the show is Jazz. They only have this show because Jazz is transgender. So whenever that can be the focus, it is. while Jeanette is more wrapped up in Jazz's life than she is for her other children, I don't get the sense that the others have been neglected. It is the issue of having special needs child. There will be a differing amount of attention, not necessarily neglect. I also suspect that outside the show they talk about more than Jazz and her vagina. The twins and Ari seem to be doing well. Somebody did something right in raising them. I saw Greg as simply very tired. He is also dealing with his father-in-law's emergency surgery and his daughter's emergency surgery. He was trying to help Jackie while Jack was in the hospital and is clearly concerned for his daughter. His being more quiet and looking exhausted is not a sign of impending divorce to me. It's a sign that he is worn out between the emotional toll and the travel. They all need a really long nap.
  7. There was a moment in this episode or the last where Jazz moved away from saying "pretty" vagina. Ultimately she seems to be looking for genitals that fit within norms; that is, nothing that looks seriously odd. Too some extent I think she kept saying "pretty vagina" (or just vagina) to get a rise out of her parents. Greg does show his embarrassment. And yes, Americans need education on the difference between a vagina and a vulva. (Thinks to Laverne Cox's character explaining genitalia to the other prisoners on Orange is the New Black.) To some extent I blame Oprah with her infamous, "My vajayjay is hurtin'!" I will say that I do not find vulvas unattractive. I have seen more than my share throughout the years. I don't see anything ugly there. There has definitely been a shift in expectations based on the porn-perfect vulva that has women going in for labia surgery, typically to reduce the labia. I find this interesting given that there are other cultures where large or long labia are considered ideal. It seems that no matter the body part, we are always told there is something wrong with it. I assume the extended doctor shopping was plot driven. I also assume being told she might need a second surgery was for drama. Dr. Bowers has an excellent reputation; she and the team worked hard to find the best possible solution. I don't see her pulling a last minute bait and switch.
  8. Ted was, by the typical standards of the time (although, as always, taste varies greatly) a good looking guy. He thought he was more important and deserving of more praise than he ever was. He was generally awkward around people, so he would have been awkward with women, as shown by his somewhat minimal dating history. He seems to have kept up appearances for reasonable periods of time so that there were a good number of people who could not imagine that this affable young man could have committed such heinous crimes. He is a monster who was able to hide it to the people in the Republican organizations he worked with and the members of his Mormon church. He knew how to pretend to fit the mold, at least for awhile. Those who knew him more closely (ex-partners, etc.) did not come to his defense. His girlfriend, being on the inside and seeing more and more of the real Ted, called the police. It was interesting that they said many women called about the possibility that their boyfriend was the Ted that the Seattle police were searching for. How horrifying would it be to be in a relationship with someone you could imagine kidnapping and killing women? And how horrifying is it that women who felt that way likely did not feel they could safely leave those relationships? I found the show interesting if a bit clunky. I am old enough to remember when this was happening, but have not followed the case closely; i.e., did not study up on it beyond my memories. I did work with someone who, earlier in his career, had carpooled with Bundy for a few months. He said Ted was always pleasant and didn't stand out in any particular way. He wasn't one to share much personal info, but none of them were; another case of Bundy holding it together in small interactions.
  9. I don't see the transgender women as necessarily expecting their wives to stay with them. Per the show, Lawren was severely depressed (and most likely still depressed given her muted affect) prior to coming out to Jennifer. Part of the fear she expressed was that her wife would leave. Troy/Lucy wants Cindy to stay, but has acknowledged that they may not be able to make it work. Leslie had more of an expectation that Stacy might stay if, as has been stated on social media, Stacy is bisexual. The show never said that Bev chose to leave. I suspect Karen decided that transitioning was a good time to drop Bev too. They have such a horribly toxic relationship. They are also at the point where their kids are out of the house. Many have said how people should wait so they don't hurt their kids. I know it's tough to think I might say something neutral to good about Karen. but she played her role as husband and father until her kids were grown. Of course, she played that role horribly, so . . . not the most positive review. I know many transgender persons, some who were able to keep their relationships when they transitioned and many who were not. I think the show did show this transition as being hard on everyone in the family. If anyone was dealing with major depression, that is also hard on the family. However, people don't choose depression. It happens and it is very difficult to deal with. When someone is stuck in a depressed mindset, I don't expect them to snap out of it or not let it affect the way they are coping with life. It can be a long way from depressed to okay.
  10. Amidst the reality TV shenanigans, we saw some real insight into the great dysfunction that is Bev and Karen's family. Karen is a controlling ass. Bev prefers to be a victim. It was telling that Karen said Bev refused to be involved in any of the household decisions during their marriage. Bev was able to avoid all responsibility and blame any issues on Karen. Karen has no respect for Bev and treats her like garbage. I didn't see Cas as treating Bev poorly here. She called her "Mom". She offered to help her get a new birth certificate. It seemed to me that Cas was acting the role she had been forced into over the years - trying to mediate between her parents. She does use this slow, measured speech when talking to Bev. I think she means for that to be calming. To some extent she was mimicking Bev's own speech pattern. Bev and Karen do not communicate at all. That had to be 22 years of absolute misery for everyone involved. It was interesting that we heard that Cas and Karen had been estranged prior to them bonding over being transgender. So from what we've been told, both children at some point were all "F this; I'm out!" They both re-engaged with their parents during the divorce, with each taking a side on whether they support Karen's transition. Karen will now present as female. Unless she makes some major changes in the way she interacts, she will always be a controlling jerk. If she does enter another relationship, it had best be with someone who is very forceful and confident. If she finds another Bev, she'll steamroll over them, hating them and herself in the process. Bev needs to find a social life outside the bar. When she complimented the man dancing with her, I was laughing. They looked like kids at a school dance pretending they knew how to dance. The arm swinging was really funny. Seeing Bev at the bar had me thinking of an old Saturday Night Live skit with Jon Lovitz as the devil being sued in the People's Court. When the plaintiff is asked her occupation she announces, "I am a barfly, your honor." Bev, don't be a barfly. You'll end up in court with the devil. Then again, if the divorce goes to trial, she's pretty much there.
  11. I am giving Leslie the benefit of the doubt on some of this. Yes, it absolutely sucks that Stacy went back to work so quickly after giving birth. early on we were told that she works part time in her family's business, so they can probably be more accommodating to her. Also, given that it is her family's business, that is where the idea of her being able to pick up more hours (aka the family will help you out some; that is, unless they had already been hoping she could work more) would make some sense. It would be so much better if they were financially secure enough for Stacy to take time to be home with the baby. Unfortunately that is not happening. Leslie lost her job. I would expect that she has applied for unemployment and is most likely looking for a new job. Unless Leslie had to go into the unemployment office to apply and there was a chance that someone there would balk at her gender, the show wouldn't focus on that. So we're not going to hear about it. For them to film any job interviews, the hiring company would have to agree to filming and Leslie would have to explain why she was being filmed - not a good way to start things off. With the medical stuff, we are definitely missing some components in the story. If the endocrinologist leaped from bleeding nipples to remove tissue, that would be very odd. It may be that among this group of doctors the surgeon would be the one to order a mammogram, ultrasound, etc., then determine whether to do a biopsy. The endo referred her to a surgeon. When they say she has abnormal cells she either had a biopsy (I would expect to have heard that word if one was done) or she had the mammogram, etc. that showed an abnormality. She is now going in for the biopsy; they may have decided to remove all of the abnormal appearing tissue as part of the biopsy. Years ago this would have meant knocking her out and doing this in an operating room. Now this and many lumpectomies are done in surgeon's offices; while it is less scary than going under, it is still scary. To my mind, she and Stacy have every right to be concerned. I haven't heard her say she has cancer (She's no Betty Jo on My 600 Lb Life). I have heard both Leslie and Stacy express concern that they don't know if this is a setback or a major issue. Her saying she wishes Stacy could be there with her seems reasonable to me. I would rather have a partner with me than go alone. She followed her comment by saying it was important that Stacy be home to take care of the kids. Sounds reasonable to me. The show is playing up the drama - it's life-threatening! This is reality TV gold! Depending on the nature of the cells, even if they are not cancerous, it could mean she cannot tolerate hormone therapy. Not physically life threatening but certainly emotionally difficult. Stacy and Leslie are stuck in a way. They are getting paid to be on reality TV. They are not being paid enough to take care of all financial issues, but it's not money they can afford to throw away. Got to film when asked. At the same time, they need to work on a plan to get out of their financial hole. And I do mean they. While too much is falling on Stacy in their current situation, they decided to have a second child. They have been in a financially precarious situation for some time. They were already hunting and fishing to supplement their food budget. They represent the working class - living, working and trying to make ends meet - a situation in which one person losing their job quickly becomes critical. They are among the many who do not have a large rainy day fund to fall back on and are now being met with additional expenses. If things go well, Leslie's procedure and tests will go okay. She'll find a new job and they'll be able to stabilize again. But that might take more than a minute, especially if she has to get through filming before she can really commit to a new job. It's hard to start then say, "I'm gonna need these days off, then this afternoon, then . . . . " It is also hard to look for a new job when you have a medical concern. Again, I just started but I need time off for . . . doesn't play well.
  12. I'm of two minds on Beverly. In an earlier episode she mentioned that she only recently started forming a better relationship with the daughter that wasn't shown in this episode. It seemed like neither of Beverly's children respected her as a parent. She and her daughter are now aligned in how uncomfortable they are with Karen's transition. Her other child, Cas, has aligned with Karen and still has issues with Beverly. This family has an incredibly unhealthy dynamic. Beverly has never referred to Karen as Karen or she. I absolutely understand her saying she had a life with her husband and her memories are related to a husband and wife relationship with what she had every reason to believe was a man. She has 22 years that are now called into question. She cannot be expected to change overnight. However, she is also not willing to try, as I suspect she was not very willing to try to understand Cas. At the same time, Karen is an ass. Again, regardless of gender, a jerk is a jerk. Karen is a jerk. We saw it with the realtor. We see it every episode. Karen seems like she was a controlling husband who left little room for anyone else's opinion. She still wants to control other people's thoughts and feelings. She never should have been doing that in the first place. She certainly loses any expectation of that during a divorce. Beverly seems to have been a victim throughout this relationship. She also seems to have, to some extent, used her victimhood as a means of martyrdom for which she expects some level of affirmation. With the dissolution of her marriage, she is now realizing she was just a victim. She was treated terribly by her husband. She did not have a good relationship with her children. As often happens, they may have blamed her for not standing up to him more. Bev's friend seems glad she will be getting out of the marriage. If Karen was a decent person and a caring spouse, she would have expressed concern for Bev's late nights, especially if she feels Bev is potentially using alcohol to deal with her issues. Instead she went with "I don't like you staying out late". Why? Is Karen embarrassed? Is it affecting her sleep? It certainly didn't sound like concern for Bev's well-being. I feel sorry for Bev but I also find her annoying. She is in a terrible situation. She also needs to take some control of her own life. She needs to figure out her finances. She needs to stand up for herself. It has to be hard having been AJ/Karen's doormat for all these years. If she can't get it together herself, I hope her friends and daughter can help her through this. Otherwise she is easy prey for another jackass who will treat her terribly.
  13. @SunnyBeBe Karen is bald so she had a wig sown in/glued down. She was really excited when it was done. It does look much better than being a very bald woman. If you ever watch SouthPark, she had Mrs. Garrison's hairline. Many of us commented that longer hair would be more flattering. Prior to that she had a wig in a similar cut and length, but the hairline on it wasn't as realistic. Since it's a semi-permanent piece, she may have gone shorter to make it easier to care for. Leslie got fired for reselling a gun she had purchased at the store she worked at. Seems like she bought a new shotgun, then decided she didn't like it. A friend liked it so she sold it to them at her cost. I can see her buying a gun even with money tight. They hunt for food. The gun is a tool to help put meat on the table. To me it's one of those grey areas. The store she was working at can fire her for that. It was a clear violation of policy. She can only use the discount for herself. At the same time that doesn't mean they haven't potentially looked the same way on similar things before and/or were looking for a reason to let her go. It is very hard to prove discrimination because a person can be fired for many reasons. There are only a few for which you cannot be fired. As an attorney friend likes to say, a boss can fire you because they like corn flakes and you like wheaties. This episode was a mess. I sense they had such good footage of Cindy and Troy/Lucy that they cut some of the info on Leslie and Stacy that would have helped tie together their story better. It seemed like we were missing some medical discussion. It was a quick jump to see the surgeon/this could be cancer. Was there a lump? Did she have a mammogram? An ultrasound? I wouldn't be surprised if Stacy ended up in the corner shaking and crying. Pregnant, spouse out of work and possibly very ill - that could break the strongest person.
  14. I have an almost visceral dislike of Beverly. She seems to play the victim always. I feel for her having married a transgender woman who did not reveal their gender until this many years later. Beyond that, she infuriates me. She airs her dirty laundry in the bar but does it in a poor me sort of way. I sense her spouse is a jerk and has always been one; has nothing to do with being transgender - sometimes a jerk is just a jerk. But Beverly doesn't seem like she was abused (in which case I would be more understanding). She seems more like the type be a doormat then be really passive aggressive about how they were treated. Stand up, speak up or keep your eye rolling and heavy sighs to yourself! (Okay, I am more cranky about this than I like to admit). Leslie's reveal at the bar was so TLC. I would expect her to tell her friend prior to showing up in (tastefully done) makeup and women's clothing. But TLC likes the big reveal. Leslie is lucky TLC didn't get access to the clothes in the Botched closet and force her into a bikini or a super tight, really short dress for the reveal. Guess she's lucky that's on a different channel.
  15. So much of what we are shown seems to be altered by them being on the show. I can't say if Leslie is being selfish for pushing to transition now or if she is stuck because they have a contract with TLC. TLC won't be particularly interested in the storyline of we've decided to wait until a few months after the baby is born. Then I'll start the physical transition. That won't leave them much to show. I also feel thats why we see so much focus on hair, makeup and clothing. It's a visual medium and this is what we can see. I don't take that to mean that the transgender women featured don't have deeper things that have prompted their desire to transition. If the primary focus in wanting a more feminine style is to feel like they look the way they feel inside, then they are addressing body dysmorphia. Also it is one of the steps in physical transition. As for Troy/Lucy's transformation, that was atrocious. That stylist (using the word very loosely. What do you call a stylist with no style? Just an ist?). The makeup is so extreme. I wear less when I am on stage and I am really pale. The hair was overdone and out of fashion. The dress made Troy/Lucy look broad-shouldered and boxy. Unlike the other folks who seemed so happy to see their new hair or put on tasteful makeup and more commonly seen women's clothing styles, I expect poor Troy/Lucy to be horrified. I do wonder if Troy/Lucy will be held up as the person who changes their mind about transitioning.
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