Sometimes Bodies Are Just Bodies


For decades now, sympathetic portrayals of trans people in the media have usually made use of the same phrase: “a man trapped in a woman’s body” (or vice versa).

Though it may help some cis people start to understand the basic concept of trans-ness, it’s not always very accurate. In a blog post on the subject, Janet Mock explains why she doesn’t identify with the body-as-cage narrative:

Why don’t I like it? Because it places me in the role of victim, and to those who take mainstream media depictions as truth I’m seen as a human to be pitied because I’m someone who needs to be saved, rather than a self-determined woman with agency and choice and the ability to define who I am…

Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →