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Transparent

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The series on Amazon Prime, Transparent, is not only about the broad issue for the LGBT community of inequality but specifically the main character, Maura, played by Jeffery Tambor is a trans-person. Maura was born a man who always felt she was a woman and hid her true self from her friends and family her entire life and waited until her children were all adults before she even came out to anyone except her wife. The show is about Maura’s process of gender reassignment, and the obstacles both she and her family face. I believe IMDB described this show the best in their summary: “An LA family with serious boundary issues have their past and future unravel when a dramatic admission causes everyone’s secrets to spill out.“ Although Transparent only has one season out so far, it has already won a plethora of awards. Jeffery Tambor who is the main character won a golden globe this year for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series. Also, the show won a golden globe for best television series. In addition to the shows golden globe awards other wins for transparent include an AFI award for TV series of the year, Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Comedy Series from the Directors Guild of America, and four awards from the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA) just in 2015 alone. Between 2014 and 2015 transparent was also nominated for five other awards.

It is my personal theory that this show inspired/have Bruce Jenner the courage to come out himself after hiding the truth about this gender his entire life. Recently Jenner has grown his hair out and been spotted out and about sporting a bright red manicure, everyone in his large family is alleged to be supportive of Jenner except for his ex wife, Kris Jenner.  In case you haven’t heard, not too long ago Bruce came out to his family that he is trans. Now he is getting his own spin off series to document his process of becoming a woman. The story line is a little similar… But this will be a reality show. Honestly, if you’ve seen season 1 of Transparent you will know that the concept of Jenner’s reality show totally mirrors Transparent.

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There have been shows and movies that have come before the show “Transparent” that have shed light on the subject of the inequality that exists for the LGBT community but not much progress has been made for the civil rights of this group really since Harvey Milk in the year 1978 when he was a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from District five. Lady Gaga tried to help in 2009, when she gave a speech about the DADT policy.  According to Wikipedia, Lady Gaga “called the October 11, 2009, National Equality March rally on the National Mall ‘the single most important event of her career.’ Gaga attended the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards accompanied by four gay and lesbian former members of the United States Armed Forces who had been unable to serve openly under the U.S. military’s ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ (DADT) policy”.  So far Laverne Cox has been the only person openly representing the transgender portion of the LGBT community. Laverne Cox is an Emmy award nominated actress and a respected African-American business person. Cox was nominated for her role as Sophia on the Netflix Original series, Orange is the New Black. In 2014 she won Glamour Award for Woman of the Year. Also in 2015, Orange Is the New Black won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance in an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. OITNB has won 30 awards and been nominated for 52.

I agree with the following point that Linda Holmes made in the article “What Monkeys Eat” because I feel that it correlates with the fact that the inequality of this group of people is not only absurd but unnecessary.

The utter lack of importance of the underlying subject, in fact, is exactly what tells you how close to the surface and at how high a temperature these conflicts are simmering. In fact, it is often those conversations about seemingly insignificant cultural issues that (for me) sheds light on what makes larger issues of war and peace and the economy so difficult to address. People absolutely make decisions about where to get information based on who understands and relates to them culturally.

In this case the underlying subject is obvious, it’s about accepting not out casting this group of people. These shows that are talking about the issues or even just using a Trans actor or actress are helping by shedding light on the subject and putting it into the collective unconscious of the people. I agree with another point that Linda Holmes made in the article “What Monkeys Eat” in which she describes the reason why pop culture is important.

Writing about popular culture is more the view from the ground. It’s looking around at the people you both live with and walk past, looking at what they’re listening to and reading and thinking about, whether it’s what they ought to be thinking about or not. In short, you don’t have to like the resonance of a moment in order to acknowledge it. And how you write about it is always going to matter more than what you’re writing about. It’s always going to be possible to write well about small things or badly about big things. It’s easy as pie to write dumb, destructive things about war or the economy or hugely critical issues — things that have the capacity to be far more of a scourge and a danger than somebody writing any of the really intelligent pieces that went around about Miley Cyrus twerking. (That, by the way, stoked all kinds of interesting conversations around race, gender, appropriation, tradition … sometimes a twerk is just a twerk, but sometimes it is emphatically not.) So no, Justin Bieber is not important. But Justin Bieber is, and for me personally, it matters what’s being said, not just what it’s being said about.

In closing, Transparent does focus on the view from the ground, and the issues and a Trans person goes through as an individual. Furthermore, Transparent touches on the view of this group as a whole, which is also helpful because you can see the big picture from their perspective. In closing, Transparent is the most progress that has been made for this community in a while, since it is all about this group of people. Shows and movies are a huge part of Media and Pop Culture because entertainment is the thing that changes the public opinion quickly, not actual serious life events. According to ETonline.com more and more shows will be coming out this year with this topic as it driving force, Besides the Jenner spin off. “Discovery Life’s New Girls on the Block follows a group of Trans women in Kansas City, Mo., and is set to premiere in April, and ABC Family recently announced My Transparent Life, a show that aims to be the real-life version of the Emmy-award winning Transparent.”  Hopefully, this group will gain respect and cross the finish line into equality (even if it is one piece at a time).

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“A Hot Tranny Mess”

As we all know going on a reality television show is all about capitalizing on one’s 15 minutes of fame, and hopefully branding one’s “TV Personality” but going on a show that pertains to a specific field of the arts is generally a way to advance the artists career. You may have heard of Christian Siriano even if you’ve never watched an episode of Project Runway before because he has successfully branded himself after winning the show. You may not have heard of Mitchell Perry, he’s the guy that tried to revive one of Christian Siriano’s catchphrases, “A Hot Tranny Mess”, which may or may not have had something to do with him getting kicked off the show at episode 5 of season 13. If only he focused on his work and not the fame while he was on the show…  Mitchell Perry is a young, independent Fashion Designer from Fort Lauderdale, Fl. You may have seen him on Season 13 of Project Runway. He made it up until episode 5 then he got the boot. I first met Mitch at the art institute of Fort Lauderdale about 2011 or 2012 it was during my first year of college, he was a sewing lab monitor as he was in his senior year, and he was very helpful and kind to me, he made me understand how to sew lining. I will always think of this moment when I think of him.

Does it bring them to their peak too early? Do shows like this that capitalize on the artist make their career because of their work or does the evolution of their “TV personality” make their career better? If you’ve ever sat through an episode you’ll see the unapologetic product placement before you see any designs. Since I met Mitchell Perry before he went on this show, I know that he does indeed have design skills. The rest of the “TV personalities” of Project Runway make me question if they know how to do little more than use a sewing machine, as if that is the only requirement for getting on the show. It is clear from some of the challenges on the show that most of them are unfamiliar with Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, which designers use to make flats and sketches (when not doing it the old fashioned way, by hand.)A sketch is the concept of a design and a flat is like a blueprint. It is the inextricable evidence like this that has led me to the conclusion that the producers & directors of Project Runway are more concerned with whose “TV personality” will give them the most ratings over which young designer has the most talent and would therefore be the best fit for the opportunity to advance their career.

On one hand this show is great for any young designer’s career, but on the other it can make them mediocre. It exposes the weaknesses within their design skillset; you can lose a job opportunity before you even get to the interview. Naturally, any future employer who may be watching the show will now know all of your pitfalls before meeting you and getting to know you. On the contrary, just being on the show both makes the individual apart of pop culture/the media for that season and opens doors for you. This comes with the price of fame. I’m a designer myself and I would rather not go on a show like this, I’d rather put in my hard work into something or some other company than be exploited for ratings to make the lifetime network more money.

On the mylifetime.com website a fan of the show posted his opinion in reference to a comment that Mitchell Perry made while on the show.

Cj Sayler  5 months ago

I was incredibly offended by Mitchell Perry’s comment “a hot tranny mess” how dare he marginalize a group of people that really only need all our love. As a Gay man I understand our history and Mitchell Perry really needs to learn “our” history. He was a poor representative of the Gay community and I’m glad he is off the show. I believe Project runway needs to address the issue!

This comment and the catchphrase “A Hot Tranny Mess” originated from former Project Runway contestant, Christian Siriano, could’ve been a huge problem for the network. It’s crazy how well this has gone under the radar. I don’t know how I haven’t heard more about it until now. Given the fact that Christian and Mitchell are both openly gay men, this faux pas about the LGBT community didn’t blow up as much as it probably would have if a straight person made “A Hot Tranny Mess” their catchphrase.

Mitchell Perry is now using Instagram to promote himself and using Etsy to sell his sketches. His links to those are below

http://www.etsy.com/shop/themitchellperry

http://instagram.com/themitchellperry

It seems as though with his attempt at reviving the catchphrase, “A Hot Tranny Mess”, and branding himself that he is trying to be a tastemaker but is unsuccessful. His catchphrase is offensive. According to Jack Lule in his understanding Media and Culture; An Introduction to Mass communication, v. 1.0 he explains tastemaking.

Historically, popular culture has been closely associated with mass media that introduce and encourage the adoption of certain trends. We can see these media as “tastemakers” – people or institutions that shape the way others think, eat, listen, drink, dress and more. (Similar in some ways to the media gatekeepers discussed above,) tastemakers can have huge influence… along with encouraging a mass audience to keep an eye out for 9or skip0 certain movies, television shows, video games, books, or fashion trends, tastemaking is also used to create a demand for new products.

 

 

“A Hot Tranny Mess” – parody

“A Hot Tranny Mess” – Christian Siriano

 

http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/project-runway/season-13/designers/mitchell-perry