Will trans inclusion in the Miss Universe pageant really hurdle us into a world where all gender identities are welcome? The way this battle is being fought and won reinforces the power of "gender gatekeepers," the government and medical officials who determine whether our gender identities are legally recognized.
If I could time travel without, like, disrupting the space-time continuum, one of the many things I would tell a younger me would be that: It’s not the interest in appearance that’s wrong, it’s how you do it. Fascination with the visual is something as broad as the history of human signing (as well as something that underlies ubiquitous ableism in the social and built environment, since not everyone has the ability to see said visual). Sometimes I like to put it in perspective for myself like this—if I were thinking about non-Western cultural and aesthetic forms, I would be less likely to criticize and more likely to think about these practices as a way of being culturally competent, enjoying shared symbols, and evoking continuity with a cultural history.
The disdain in many comments on street harassment is palpable and the message they hold is clear: if you're a girl or woman who likes receiving overt sexual attention from men and boys in public, it's because you lack the self-respect necessary to throw off the confines of external validation regarding female sexuality and beauty.
If fat is a feminist issue, why don't we challenge the dominant view that beauty is a viable concept instead of just accepting that unilateral standards of beauty exist and trying to shoehorn fat women into the "beautiful" category?