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“Your scars are just as beautiful as the rest of you”: Wherever there’s Jazz Jennings going transgender, there’s also her mom, Jeanette Jennings, going transgender along with her

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Wherever there is Jazz Jennings, it seems, there is also Jeanette Jennings, Jazz Jennings’s mother.

The 19-year-old transgender celebrity moved yet one more time into the spotlight on New Year’s Eve–wearing a crimson one-piece bathing suit on Instagram that shows off to a T the upper-thigh scars from her “confirmation” surgery in 2018. “I call them my my battle wounds because they signify the strength and perseverance it took to finally complete my transition,” she wrote.

And sure enough, one of the very first commenters on the photo was 53-year-old Jeanette, who takes credit for discovering that her boy was actually a girl at age 2. According to the New York Post:

Jazz’s mother, Jeanette, responded to her most recent post with praise in the comments. “My sweet girl, you are the strongest and bravest of all the souls I’ve even known and I’m blessed to be your mom,” she wrote.

“Your scars are just as beautiful as you the rest of you. I love you with all that I am. You make me proud everyday,” she continued, adding three hearts to the end of her words.

Jeanette Jennings has been at Jazz’s side talking transition since, well, forever. Or at least since 2007, when, under the name “Renee” Jennings, she shepherded young Jazz, then age 6 and in kindergarten, through an interview with ABC’s Barbara Walters and revealed that Jazz was one of the youngest transgenders in America:

“We’ll say things like, ‘You’re special. God made you special.’ Because there aren’t very many little girls out there that have a penis,” said Renee.

That very year, 2007,  little Jazz started her own charitable foundation, TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation, with some help, of course, from mom Jeanette and Jazz’s father, known variously as “Scott” and “Greg” Jennings.

By age 11 Jazz was on puberty blockers, with “her parents’ approval,” in the words of the New York Post, as a prelude to the massive doses of estrogen she started taking on entering high school at around age 14.

Also at age 11 she snagged a second interview with Barbara Walters where she talked “boys and dating, medicine and the ultimate surgery to become fully female.” In addition, she starred–along with Jeanette and Greg–in a TV documentary, I Am Jazz:

11 year old Jazz…and her family face a life-altering decision as the ebullient tween approaches puberty. Through extensive archival family footage and first-person interviews, Jazz and her family share their powerful personal story as they grapple with the possibility of hormone blocking therapy and issues related to fertility, discrimination and identity.

And by age 13–miracle of miracles!–she was a published author, of a children’s book titled,like the documentary, I Am Jazz, which was all about…herself. Cute illustrations by Shelagh McNicholas show Jazz sporting sequined dresses (one with a darling purple bra strap showing) and posing with–guess who?–yes, mom Jeanette and dad Greg.

In 2015 an all-grown-up Jazz began her five-season reality show, yet again titled I Am Jazz, which, as the years pass, homes in on that all-important “bottom” surgery (if you’re squeamish, don’t click the link, which includes the words “tissue-expander” and  “scrotum the size of a grapefruit”) to take place the minute she becomes a legal adult at age 18. Co-starring…Jeanette Jennings.

Meanwhile, Jazz Jennings has been accepted at Harvard, after dropping out of real high school (“stress” and “binge-eating”) to attend an online virtual high school.

She hasn’t gotten around to enrolling yet, but I hope that when she does, she’ll be able to rent a second dorm room–for Jeanette Jennings.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

Slate’s Christina Cauterucci has a sad: Her wife has TSA Precheck and she doesn’t

FAQs
Slate staff writer Christina Cauterucci takes time off from mourning over “revenge-porn victim” California Democratic Rep. Katie Hill’s abrupt resignation from Congress and hailing the Democrats’ new abortion-till-birth policy stance to address a pressing problem in which the personal has become the political:
Her brand-new wife, Deb, has TSA Precheck and she doesn’t.
Or at least didn’t until just recently.

[I]f you and your romantic partner have different statuses, the airport can be much more than a series of trivial degradations one must endure at the start of a vacation. For some mixed-Precheck-status couples, it’s become a crucible—a test of loyalty, a spotlight on income or lifestyle differences, or a reminder that, in a relationship, one party’s personal choices almost always affect the other. A long-awaited getaway can easily turn fraught when it begins with this minor dilemma: Should a Precheck member take her rightful place among the elite in the shorter security line, even if it means leaving her spouse behind?

There’s no clear right or wrong answer to this question. On one hand, it makes no sense for the Precheck partner to suffer through a more invasive security screening just to spend a few more minutes of quality time with her spouse in a longer line. On the other hand, what is a spouse but a designated travel companion on this journey we call life? And unless a Precheck boyfriend is willing to full-on leave his girlfriend at the airport, he’s not getting anywhere faster, in the end. Why leave her alone just to wait for her on the other side?

And believe me, for Christina and Deb, it was just awful:

She tells me that I’ve occasionally made “puppy-dog eyes and pouty faces” when she’s left me with the hoi polloi at the security checkpoint…

[E]very flight felt like a tiny reminder of our income disparity. In addition to the Precheck thing, I was younger and working in a much less lucrative field than she was. Some years, she’d have status on United and we’d get an upgrade to Economy Plus, the extra legroom sumptuously wasted on our short frames. I was always the grateful tagalong, never the proud provider. Going on vacation didn’t just mean splitting up at airport security. It meant either staying in cheap accommodations that fit my budget, or a nicer place that she’d have to subsidize—something she’d do happily when she was feeling flush, but which would leave me feeling slightly guilty.

So–whom to blame for this airborne status hierarchy?

Real or imagined, Precheck status does create a social division. It’s easy to laugh at the absurdity of the stratification of the airport—the tiers named for precious metals, the endless levels of boarding priority—but those divisions can nudge couples into real-life disputes.

Oh–here’s something to blame: capitalism!

The sophisticated globe-trotters with disposable income line up over here, the poors and the hicks over there. I didn’t mind being part of the latter group until I started traveling with someone whose boarding pass placed her with the former….You’ve got to hand it to a government-run surveillance program that can seem, in a certain light, like a marker of social cachet.

Airline status levels are nothing more than corporate gimmicks, customer loyalty programs designed to keep passengers from taking their business to whichever airline has the cheapest tickets. It may seem bizarre, and a little sad, that these frequent-buyer punch cards could have such power….But in the broader, dehumanizing context of air travel—with its body scans, Snowpiercer-like class segregation, and occasional acts of violence to remove passengers from oversold flights—it’s easy to see how a difference in status could surface existing points of tension in a relationship, especially if one person consistently gets better treatment than the other on trips they’re taking as a pair.

My take: OK, Christina, just cough up the $85 the TSA wants so Deb won’t get under your fingernails about the pouty face.

Which you did, as you say. But maybe there’s still a chance you can sue someone. Or something.

Update: Thanks, Glenn Reynolds!

Posted by Charlotte Allen

Merry Christmas from Amanda Marcotte: Hallmark’s Yule movies are basically Nazi propaganda

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Salon’s favorite elf burns like a Yule log over the Hallmark Christmas-movie roster:

Running down this year’s schedule of Christmas movie offerings is like a trip into an uncanny valley of shiny-teethed, blow-dried heteronormative whiteness, with only a few token movies with characters of color. It’s like watching “The Stepford Wives,” but scarier, since the evil plot to replace normal people with robots is never actually revealed.

None of this should be a surprise, because Hallmark movies, as cloying and saccharine as they are, constitute the platonic ideal of fascist propaganda.

That is probably a startling statement to some. When most of us think about fascistically propagandistic movies, we think of the grotesque grandeur of Leni Riefenstahl’s films celebrating the Third Reich — grand, but cold sweeping shots of soldiers goose-stepping and flags waving, all meant to inspire awe and terror. But the reality is, even in Nazi Germany, the majority of movies approved by the Nazi minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, were escapist and feather-light, with a Hallmark movie-style emphasis on the importance of “normality.”

There’s plenty of reason that empty-headed kitsch fits neatly in the authoritarian worldview. It’s storytelling that imitates the gestures of emotion without actually engaging with real feeling. The Hallmark movie steers clear of the real passion or deeper emotion that tends to be the engine driving more artful fiction. Characters who have real feelings, after all, can prompt empathetic reactions in the audience, and empathy for others is the greatest single threat to the authoritarian mindset. And so schmaltz walks through the paces of “love” without touching on any of the messy but compelling realities of it….

[The qualities that people cite when they defend Hallmark movies — comforting, formulaic, soothing — are all a result of the aggressively conformist impulse that drives them. And that impulse and fealty to the dominant culture stands in direct contrast to the values of diversity Hallmark facetiously claims to hold.

Hallmark movies, with their emphasis on returning home and the pleasures of the small, domestic life, also send a not-at-all subtle signal of disdain for cosmopolitanism and curiosity about the larger world, which is exactly the sort of attitude that helps breed the kind of defensive white nationalism that we see growing in strength in the Donald Trump era….

[It’s critical to be mindful of the role that Hallmark movies are actually playing in our society. The very fact that they’re presented as harmless fluff makes it all the more insidious, the way they work to enforce very narrow, white, heteronormative, sexist, provincial ideas of what constitutes “normal.”

There’s plenty more of this stuff if you click the link.

Update: Thanks, Instapundit!

Posted by Charlotte Allen

Merry Christmas 2019

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And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Ire: Death Eater trans activists scream the Cruciatus Curse after J.K. Rowling says “sex is real”

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Image: Media Matters for America
Maya Forstater gets canned from her NGO job in the U.K. for tweeting stuff like this:
My belief as i set out in my witness statement is that sex is a biological fact & is immutable. There are two sexes. Men are male. Women are female. It is impossible to change sex. These were until very recently understood as basic facts of life
“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling tweets this:
Dress however you please.
Call yourself whatever you like.
Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you.
Live your best life in peace and security.
But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?
Expelliarmus!
In her tweet, Rowling effectively dismissed all of this, suggesting that Forstater was being fired for “stating that sex is real,” a common transphobic assertion that has been dismissed by medical experts and other scientists. …
Waking up Thursday morning to Rowling’s unequivocal defense of Forstater was searing. I felt foolish and betrayed. I felt guilty for not affirming my siblings in the trans and non-binary community who had the courage to speak out against her history with conviction. I thought of the numerous conversations I had navigated with other trans and non-binary people on Rowling’s history, nodding in agreement that, yes, she had been extremely problematic and hurtful and certainly engaged in casual transphobia, but I demurred at suggestions she was consciously bigoted.
I wonder now if I’ll be able to separate the author from the text, if and when I decide to read the books again — a decision I’ve yet to come to a conclusion on….

I think of a community that gave me a new home, my own kind of Hogwarts, after I came out as transgender — a community that continues to foster that same safe space for every queer or trans person who needs it, and which commits itself intentionally toward growth and learning in its inclusion.

J.K. Rowling’s latest opinions, as much as they might sting, can’t take that magic away from me. I can only hope she takes this opportunity to practice some of the same values she taught us and listens to trans fans of her books.

Amycus Carrow:

By centering sex in their conception of womanhood, opponents of trans equality argue along the lines of Forstater’s claim that trans women are not women because they are not female. In doing so, opponents of trans rights dehumanize trans people by questioning the legitimacy of their gender identity, passively reinforcing the belief that trans identity is a mental illness. In the U.K., trans people and their allies have completely rejected any conversation around legitimacy because they believe that one should not have to defend one’s identity or existence.

Bellatrix Lestrange:

Hate speech has no place in a free and democratic society. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from the consequences of that speech. And yet, constantly, people in a position of relative power or authority seem to be saying that they should have the right to say or write rude, vile, violent or discriminatory things about their fellow citizens. But even more, they think that they should be legally protected from any and all consequences of those actions, even if their speech has negative consequences on the people to whom it is addressed.

Lord Voldemort:

Fans and critics alike have been calling out Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling for years for her history of playing online footsie with noted transphobes. This week, she finally made explicit what a lot of those fans and critics have argued: She’s an aggressive biological essentialist, and vocally supports known transphobes and their beliefs. It’s the latest stage of the slow-burning, deepening estrangement between Harry Potter readers and a woman who has often been as ill-suited to the role of pop culture celebrity as she is eager to play it….

She became a beloved juvenile fiction celebrity for writing a story about a very privileged group of “misfit” friends who fought exaggerated avatars of classism and racism. But at every turn, success seems to have made her more vindictive, more resentful.

Just by the way, here’s what Medical News Today has to say about whether “sex is real” or not:

The differences between male and female sexes are anatomical and physiological. “Sex” tends to relate to biological differences.

For instance, male and female genitalia, both internal and external are different. Similarly, the levels and types of hormones present in male and female bodies are different.

Genetic factors define the sex of an individual. Women have 46 chromosomes including two Xs and men have 46 including an X and a Y. The Y chromosome is dominant and carries the signal for the embryo to begin growing testes….

Gender tends to denote the social and cultural role of each sex within a given society. Rather than being purely assigned by genetics, as sex differences generally are, people often develop their gender roles in response to their environment, including family interactions, the media, peers, and education.

I think someone needs to put the Petrificus Totalus curse on Medical News Today.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

How to be a successful “women’s career coach”: 1) mention Gaia; 2) pitch a $999 video “healing” course; 3) brag to the world that you gave your kid Trump Derangement Syndrome at age 3

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Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin is a very successful women’s career coach. We know this because she says so right on her website and also her Facebook page. She is the founder of the Gaia Project for Women’s Leadership (named after Gaia, the earth goddess) and also CEO of Gaia Project Consulting, where she and her hand-picked “certified” team will help either you, privately, or the corporation you work for “allow all of us to share our gifts, grow the bottom line, and lead holistic lives in the process.” Her website is adorned with soft-focus photos of attractive women staring happily at their phone and notebook screens, chatting excitedly with each other, and relaxing in their yoga pants.

One important way for women to get holistic, according to McLaughlin, is to join the anti-Trump Resistance. You can sign up for her daily #ResistanceLive updates on YouTube and Facebook and also buy her #ResistanceLive T-shirts, sweatshirts, and baseball caps online. Because, as McLauglin writes about herself:

She approaches the daily twists and turns in the political landscape by clearly educating her audiences and providing straightforward, tangible action items everyone can take to empower themselves and lead our country to a place where we embrace intersectionality, opportunity and a political system that works for all of us.

And one of McLaughlin’s top “tangible action items,” apparently, has been to persuade her children to become part of the Resistance at very young ages. Indeed, in Twitter posts dated Dec. 19, 2019, the day after the House Democrats voted to impeach Trump, she describes the weeping and cowering fits her two toddlers (one only age 3) went into when Trump was elected in 2016:

My daughter just ran downstairs.

“Honey, while you were in the bath, Donald Trump was impeached.”

She cheered like a banshee. “Now the trial!”

It’s been a long path since she was scared to be on my shoulders during the Women’s March because “Donald Trump might grab me.”

And:

Converting her terror to power, and my son’s tears on the election night at three years old to years of talk about masculinity and integrity and maintaining sensitivity and defending others, has been among the most important work I will ever do.

Soon enough, though, apparently in response to some mean right-wing “ratio”-jarring jeers, McLaughlin made her Twitter account private (although you can still read that she is a “wildchild single mom”). But she neglected to scrub her Facebook page of this post:

Last night, I watched the videos of my kids at the corner of President and Clinton in Cobble Hill, BK on the night of November 8, 2016 shouting “smash the patriarchy!”

I pulled my photos of the protest in Adam Yauch Park on 11/20/16 after Trump’s name was painted with a swastika.

I pulled my pics of the first Women’s March where my 3 yo son rolled in his stroller with a sign he dictated: “for my mother and my sister: Donald Trump is not my president.”

I cried thinking about how my daughter was afraid to be on my shoulders because “Trump might grab me.”

But, as Ms. McLaughlin pointed out, there is a way for the severely Trump-traumatized to recover, especially if the Senate starts laughing over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s reluctance actually to send the impeachment articles up for trial): Sign up to spend $999 on the Gaia Leadership Conference’s year-long video-course, Healing the Heroine:

Healing the Heroine is for those ready to examine their wounds and transform them into sources of inspiration and power. Each month, the training, exercises, coaching calls, expert interviews and community will guide us in an exploration of our losses and reflection on what we’ve learned, and ultimately take us to a place of unearthing the warrior woman within.

Be aware, though, that once you sign up and give your credit-card info, your $999 stays with the Gaia Project for Women’s Leadership forever:

Because of the substantial time and effort we invest in preparation for this program, no refunds are available.

Now, that’s a warrior woman!

Posted by Charlotte Allen

Me for the WSJ: How identity politics murdered the Victoria’s Secret fashion show

Savage X Fenty fashion show
Photo: Getty Images
Beauty, however, is not democratic. And in the age of militant identity politics, identity has replaced beauty as a marketing strategy. Increasing numbers of women, especially the loudest in the media and social media, aren’t interested in partaking vicariously of the supermodel glamour of Kendall Jenner or Gigi Hadid. They demand instead to be told that they themselves are just as lovely as Ms. Jenner and Ms. Hadid—and to see versions of themselves on the runway.

 

One form of fantasy has been traded in for another. Plus-size and other figure-flawed ladies are now ubiquitous in womenswear advertising, especially among Victoria’s Secret’s upstart competitors: Aerie, Third Love, and singer Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty line. An X Fenty fashion show that streamed on Amazon Prime in September was heavy on performers of uncertain sex and hefty bra-and-panty models showing off their cellulite dimples.

 

Beauty has been declining in Western culture for more than a century, starting with the fine arts. Now it’s vanishing even from advertising. But the market is democratic, and we’ll see if social justice can sell underwear.
Read the whole thing here.
Posted by Charlotte Allen