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The recent furor over a ruling issued by no less than Donald Trump himself owner of the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) allowing transgender contestants to vie for the Miss Universe title sparked numerous debates around what it means to be a “woman” and what defines “beauty”. The Miss Universe pageant after all is a beauty contest where contestants are judged presumably on the basis of criteria around feminine beauty.

A rule requiring contestants to be “naturally born” human females was originally applied by the MUO which was criticised as being “an antiquated rule grounded in prejudice, fear and stereotypes”. So, obviously, it seems that being woman is now considered by the chattering classes to be a debatable concept. I also picked up amongst the social media chatter someone insisting that the Miss Universe contest is a beauty contest and “not a vagina contest” (transgenders do have a vagina of course, a man-made one perhaps, but a vagina nonetheless). But if, as the assertion implies, we are taking off the female aspect of these contests and focusing more on the “beauty” aspect of it, then beauty, it seems, is also up for re-defining today. Not surprisingly then, much of the debate revolves around definitions of what a woman is and what one would consider a beautiful “woman”. It’s a minefield of a debate made more complicated when the concept of “woman” was conveniently divorced from its biological aspect by some camps in this “debate”.

Perhaps a different way to approach the “debate” is to move away from the intractable issue of what a woman is and what feminine “beauty” is and focus more on why feminine beauty exists. In other words, why do heterosexual men take certain specific qualities in a woman as bases for determining how “beautiful” she is? Why, for example are men generally attracted to women who sport long thick shiny hair, smooth soft skin, a slender waist, proportionately broad hips, full lips, full breasts, and facial symmetry among others? All of these qualities seem to offer no significant survival advantage in the wild (i.e. a “beautiful” individual is not necessarily more adept at acquiring food or evading predators than an “ugly” individual). So they obviously evolved and survived natural selection because they offered individuals that possessed these features an advantage when it comes to attracting sexual partners (which is a key step to propagating one’s genes).

Many of the “beautiful” qualities highlighted in beauty contests involving females are fitness indicators. Heterosexual human males have evolved a finely-tuned mate selection mechanism that carefully evaluates prospects on the basis of these — and many of these aim to send out one primary message: this specimen is fertile!!. And because youth is a big determinant of female fertility, many of these fitness indicators are reliable gauges of youthfulness. Indeed, it is mainly most of these that tend to degrade most quickly with age — most prominently the luster of hair, the fullness of lips, and the suppleness of skin. Indeed, much of the products hawked by the beauty industry centres around these three main features that strongly determine female “beauty” in the eyes of heterosexual men.

In short, beauty is not in the eye of the beholder, but in the survival agenda of our unique individual DNA sequence.

Thus, one cannot deny that beauty pageants are won on the basis of standards set by what human heterosexual males have been programmed by tens of thousands of years of evolution to find “beautiful” in human females. It is for this simple reason that the highlight of the Miss Universe pageant — and most other conventional beauty pageants for that matter — is the swimsuit competition portion of the contest. After all, when else is the executive summary of the mating call (and fertility advertising) of each contestant most evident than when there is not much on to degrade the signals being sent out by the candidates’ fitness indicators?


[Photo courtesy Wikipedia.org.]

Consider then what transgenders and/or transsexuals have to go through to achieve this feat of biological marketing…

When changing anatomical sex from male to female, the testicles are removed and the skin of foreskin and penis is usually inverted, as a flap preserving blood and nerve supplies to form a fully sensitive vagina (vaginoplasty). A clitoris fully supplied with nerve endings (innervated) can be formed from part of the glans of the penis. If the patient has been circumcised (removal of the foreskin), or if the surgeon’s technique uses more skin in the formation of the labia minora, the pubic hair follicles are removed from some of the scrotal tissue, which is then incorporated by the surgeon within the vagina. Other scrotal tissue forms the labia majora.

Results may vary. However, in the best cases, when recovery from surgery is complete, it is often very difficult for anyone, including gynecologists, to detect that someone has undergone vaginoplasty. Because the human body treats the new vagina as a wound, however, any current technique of vaginoplasty requires some long-term maintenance of volume (vaginal dilation), by the patient, using medical graduated dilators, dildos, or suitable substitutes, to keep the vagina open. It is very important to note that sexual intercourse is not always an adequate method of performing dilation.

There wouldn’t be much point to the surgical changes performed on sexual organs unless other aspects of the person are modified to resemble the female anatomy — specifically aspects of it that weigh heavily on attracting heterosexual males. Facial feminization surgery (FFS) is a set of reconstructive surgical procedures that alter typically male facial features to bring them closer in shape and size to typical female facial features. FFS can include includes various bony and soft tissue procedures such as brow lift, rhinoplasty, cheek implantation, and lip augmentation. Breast implantations is the enlargement of breasts, which some trans women choose if hormone therapy does not yield satisfactory results. Some individuals may elect to have voice surgery altering the range or pitch of the person’s vocal cords. Tracheal shaves are also sometimes used to reduce the cartilage in the area of the throat to conform to more feminine dimensions, to greatly reduce the appearance of an Adam’s apple. Because male hips and buttocks are generally smaller than those of a female, some MTF individuals will choose to undergo buttock augmentation.

Are transgenders therefore entitled to participate in a contest that, at its most fundamental, is really a contest where participants aim to convince the panel who is most fit to bear and raise healthy offspring?

You be the judge.

[NB: Parts of this article were lifted off the Wikipedia.org articles "Sex reassignment surgery (male-to-female)" and "Facial feminization surgery" and used in accordance with that site's Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License consistent with the same license applied by Get Real Post to its content.]

benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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12 Comments

  • mamang sorbetero says:

    Miss Universe should be for natural born woman, and not for artificial beauty, transgenders may have the embodiment of a woman through surgery or whatever means to achieve beauty, yet they missed on one thing, the essence of being a woman, a woman who can bear and rear up a child, trans have their own pageant, local and international, they have to be contented with that…

  • traffice2000 says:

    Watching Ms. Universe Pageant with transgenders will be more fun and stiff competition. I can’t imagine a former man will answer the question of “what the essence of being a man and became a woman?” It will be a history in a making =D

  • benign0 says:

    There’s this thing called the Crying Game moment. It’s from the title of a movie about a transvestite who dated a heterosexual bloke for some time. When the guy finally found out the “woman” he had been dating had a penis, he had a real fit and the scene that followed became a classic (I think Jim Carey parodied it in one of his movies).

    A lot of us experience mild versions of the Crying Game moment. When we catch ourselves checking out what looks like a hot chick from a distance only to realise upon getting close enough that said chick is not what we thought “she” was. Good for laughs at best, feels like you want to kick yourself at worst.

    Trouble is, our brains are hard-wired to spot these biological signals even from the corner of our eye and lock onto the signal until we decide how to act on it. Fortunately we are able to spot phoney signals before it is too late. Unfortunately surgical technology is getting better…

  • Mercury says:

    I think that the reason why beauty pageants were put up because of beautiful women were intended to compete with each other while some lucky men will have an opportunity to court any one of them. Think of it as a fishing pool. If we allow transgenders enter the competition then it kinda defeats this purpose.

    Well, if they can bear a child, why not?

  • alconce says:

    Beauty as embedded in our reptilian DNA is an attraction towards the opposite sex of our choice to have sex and produce an upgraded offspring mainly for the survival of the species as Darwin put it. That is why we have these beauty contests for real women so the male specie can widen their choice in selecting their mate for pro-creation.

  • prone_to_fire says:

    the description of the sex change operation made me cringe. it sounded like it was taken from an instruction manual from the saw movies.

    inverted dong….ughhhhh

  • tonybac says:

    if transgenders are really allowed in these “female-only” beauty pageants, then might as well remove those signs at comfort rooms regarding female and male, its just discriminatory. I don’t believe in evolution, but homosexuality, for me, is the digression of it. Evolution is also about pro-creating. No two same homosexual will EVER be able to pro-create, unless a “female” homosexual and a “male” homosexual both agreed to pro-create. But that is already like betraying their identity. Modern society accepts homosexuality as a type of new gender because they already attributed gender-classification as psychological. But nature ONLY classifies gender physically and biologically. It is because of our distorted thinking that we could do away with the natural and biological process of gender classification that our modern society accepts homosexuality as another gender. I’m not against transgender, I’m just stating what I know and saw are facts that have stand out for millenniums and will continue to stand-out even into this post-modern times.

  • Don says:

    Gay friend of mine actually hated the idea of drag queens in Miss Universe. The point of being gay is having a preference for the same sex. Transgenders just render being gay completely moot. “Why should I go for a guy dressed as a woman? Might as well go for the real deal! Kind of defeats the purpose being gay.”

    • benign0 says:

      Actually, you’ve hit upon what I’ve been wondering about for so long. Why would some gay people cross-dress if gayness presumably implies an attraction for qualities that fit your own gender? Following that presumption, you’d think that a gay person would look for a partner who embodies the very qualities of a heterosexual individual of his/her gender and as such wouldn’t be attracted to a cross-dresser of his/her gender.

      • Don says:

        At the end of the day, the drag queen still has XY chromosomes that cannot lie, surgery and twisted humanist philosphy be damned.

        Besides, Donald Trump owns Miss Universe now; his BS about “inclusion” can’t overcome the fact that he’s losing money. Anybody want real inclusion in fetes of physical appearance, go for Joe Weider’s Mr. and Ms. Olympia contests.

  • i think text vote for miss universe pageant is unfair because all the gay ang lesbian will vote they stick together ..ang later on lesbian will joint mr univese contest..O!!boy .

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