November saw a milestone for the trans community, and I wanted to share this celebration with you. Playboy revealed that their November playmate is Ines Rau – who happens to be Transgender, and thus the first Trans woman to appear in the magazine!
Before we get into the politics of Playboy and the way women are referred to as Bunnies, which evidently is a little reductive, and the controversial history of it’s founder, I’d like to steer the conversation towards the broader repercussions of this decision. I firmly stand in the camp that believes that in the fights towards a fair and equal society for all, every little helps. And a trans woman gracing the cover of Playboy is by no means a small feat.
Nudity shouldn’t be taboo. Nudity means a lot to me, since I went through a transition to get where I want to be. Nudity is a celebration of the human being without all the excess. It’s not about sexuality but the beauty of the human body, whether male or female. You can’t lie. – Ines in Playboy
Playboy has for decades been seen as the bible of masculinity, the philanderer’s playbook, the guide for picking up women. It made it’s name appealing to the most masculine of traits in a very heteronormative sense – if you were a “real man” in the 50s you read Playboy, drank whiskey, drove fast cars and had sex with a lot of skinny, buxom women. Playboy has changed however, and going non-nude for the first time in 2016 and including interviews and guest pieces by self-proclaimed feminists like Ilana and Abbi from Broad City. Playboy has realised, as many companies have, that to appeal to the millennial generation, and the “new man”, it must discard the old-fashioned, restrictive ideas of masculinity bolstered by it’s forefathers and embrace a deeper understanding of gender, sexuality and sex.
Ines Rau is, of course, not the singular representation of the Trans community, and like every other “playmate”, she does represent a very heteronormative standard of beauty that the majority of us could never hope (or want) to achieve. For one thing, Ines “passes”, which means that people see her as the gender she identifies herself with, female. This is not true for every person in the trans community and for many is not even the goal, but it’s worth mentioning. It’s also important to note that Ines is, like most other playmates, flawless. I don’t believe that it is necessarily healthy to be constantly bombarded with photoshopped images, and a reductive idea of beauty, where only a tiny percent of the population are considered worthy. However, as playmates go, Ines is most certainly my absolute favourite, and I’d like to raise a glass to her in celebration.
Here’s to more diversity, more acceptance, and more trans visibility!
P.s. Keep an eye out for the upcoming film on XConfessions “We Are the Fucking World“, which will feature XC’s first transgender performer <3 I am beyond excited for you to meet Manon Praline!