The shift in our society toward the definition of beauty is ever evolving. When I modeled in my late teens, being dark haired with an Italian heritage cost me many commercials. Back then the advertisers wanted the blondes with the blue eyes and porcelain white skin. Our society embraced this look.
Times have, of course dramatically changed as our population in the United States has become diversified as the Latinos and African Americans populations totaled over 30 percent in 2013. We have become a nation of many diverse backgrounds as the American culture has absorbed immigrants from many countries.
Diversity is the word for all media campaigns as advertisers need to reach their audiences, while representing them. Being dark haired with olive skin tone now is not a determent, in fact it may be a benefit. Our role models in fashion, media and politics is changing rapidly, as we as a Nation who leads the world, is setting the new standard for acceptance.
The transgender community movement is part of this current culture. Transgender women have been around for decades. Many were called trannies, as a throw back to the transwomen who were greatly abused for dressing and acting like a woman. Sylvia Rivera and Marsh Johnson were the famous transgender women, who founded the first transgender activist organization, STAR, while they were forced to do tricks on the side, to fund the movement.
Drag Queens, like RuPaul, made it all look so glamorous to look like a woman. RuPaul and her fellow Drag Queens set a standard of beauty that rivaled the super models. Their look, though often over the top, still has changed how we view a woman, for when RuPaul is in drag, she is a woman!
The transgender community, as it becomes mainstream, kicking into overdrive with Caitlyn Jenner coming out and becoming the poster child for a transgender woman, has forever changed what a woman looks like. Like Ru Paul, she has set a new standard of beauty, not only for the transgender woman and cross-dressing male, but for cis-woman (born as a woman) who are looking rather drab compared to Ru Paul and Caitlin Jenner.
These “girls” are trying so hard to pass as a woman, something we women have never dealt with, they are raising the bar for the beauty and maintenance for a cis-gender woman, who have been playing with make-up since they were a pre-teen, and have lost their excitement for it. Taking hormones for younger skin is not worth the risk of cancer, wearing four- inch heels isn’t worth the pain, and fitting into a form sculpting dress isn’t worth the exercise it takes to look toned.
Perhaps, we cis-women have become a bit lazy in maintaining our appearance, justifying we are getting older and its okay, yet these transgender women arguably are not all beautiful like Caitlyn, are still looking pretty good, as they are working at it to look their very best as a woman. They are changing the definition of beauty as Caitlyn showed us all on the cover of Vanity Fair. Photo shopped or not, she looked amazing.
Cis-women have been through the woman’s movement demanding acceptance and respect in the workplace and their personal relationships. They have become educated, while proving they can be as successful in the boardroom, as in the bedroom. In many ways, they were forced to tone down their feminine self to be accepted and taken seriously in society. They have fought hard to be accepted and taken seriously.
The one constant is that our society’s concept of beauty is changing. The lines of gender are blurred. Yet, being attractive not only comes from the outside, but from the inside by being comfortable in your own skin. A happy woman is a beautiful one.