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Laverne Cox in Allure Magazine

Laverne Cox, along with several other women, recently appeared in a nude photo shoot for Allure Magazine, which was perhaps the first time that a woman who is openly trans had been included in such a feature in a women’s magazine and was widely hailed for this in progressive media, especially given the context in which trans women of color like Cox are forced to negotiate the complex intersections of racism and misogyny in the patriarchal world we inhabit.

On Feminist Current, Meghan Murphy, who has been criticized for transphobia in the past [1], took a very different view: that Laverne Cox’s body naked body in a women’s magazine represents nothing more than an attempt to appeal to the male gaze. Why the other women in the photoshoot were not subjected to similar criticism is not stated.

Murphy writes

If women or transwomen were truly allowed to love themselves, I doubt they’d be spending thousands and thousands of dollars sculpting their bodies in order to look like some cartoonish version of “woman,” as defined by the porn industry and pop culture. The fact that Cox’s body is seen as “subversive” because she is trans doesn’t change that. Her body doesn’t look subversive. It looks like any other objectified female body, sculpted by surgery and enhanced by Photoshop.

Murphy hypocritically refers to Cox as a ‘cartoon’ while decrying the objectification of women.  Also one will notice the dogwhistle trans-misogyny throughout the article such as putting “women” in quotes, which is successful in that the article attracts even more blatant hateful transphobes in the comments section who misgender Cox and gleefully trash her further.  (And notice that while Murphy challenges many other comments, she never responds to these blatantly hateful comments, which are heavily upvoted on her site).

I argued with Murphy in the comments section myself, where she makes the utterly silly defensive claim that her comment about “cartoonish” bodies didn’t refer to Cox at all.  Nobody would believe her in this claim, including her own transphobic supporters in all likelihood.

Here I created I relatively brief storify documenting some of the awesome responses to this hateful trash from feminist twitter.  I’m sure I’ve overlooked a lot of awesome responses, but hopefully this gives an overall idea.

[1]  Regarding Meghan Murphy’s history with transphobia, see this uncritical interview with Sheila Jeffreys focusing on her elaborate transphobic conspiracy theories.

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