Nature is a wonderful thing. It inspires, it impresses. It’s also something that I am having difficulties with. What is nature and what is happening when something isn’t right? What if there is something that isn’t “right?”
This morning my eyes caught a news article about Valentina Sampaio. This is a model from Brasil, who will star in a campaign by Victoria’s Secret. Normally, this isn’t something I would write about. I am not a trendwatcher or fashion blogger. There is a reason why I’m writing about her career move.
Valentina’s face was already on the cover of Vogue. Again, nothing to write about for me. I agree that isn’t quite an accomplishment. Why do I write about this model? It’s because I am a father of two children and, together with my better half, try to make my children see that there is nothing wrong with just being yourself. It’s not an issue that they want to live and love the way they want to. You can be whoever you want to be. Do what you want. Except when you decide to hurt others.
Valentina is “different.” Valentina is a transgender model. In case you missed out, the term transgender is something that the media often writes about. Some people consider transgenderism to be something that isn’t natural. What is not-natural anyway?
When you decide to go with the term a mistake by nature, this can lead to strong reactions. A mistake suggests that there is something not right. Yes, something isn’t right, but not in a way one could think.
We all seen these images of those with killer bodies. Magazines are filled with people who are fantastic. When there are some flaws, there’s always an option to use Photoshop to correct it. Everything that differs from these people is not normal. Everything different should not get any attention, according to some people. That’s why there is a constant discussion about plus-size models. There is also a discussion about transgender models. Then Valentina steps in. When you look at this from one side, you know that her birth certificate stated a different gender. When you are willing to look beyond, you’ll notice a young woman who is thrilled that she is part of Victoria’s Secret campaign. This is after the decision-makers voted against transgender models and plus-size models. The reaction to the news that these aren’t really models was a strong one. That’s why they probably decided that things needed to change. It’s a different discussion if this change is enough.
Are you willing to look further, you will see someone who was born with a different gender. Again, the usage of the word mistake is something to use with care. I am using this term because I am a believer that it was a mistake. A mistake made by Mother Nature. The transition or change was needed to correct this. Not so that she could make fame or fortune.
You should compare it to what we see as nature. Sometimes what we see as nature isn’t natural at all. It’s man-made. Forests have been created for the benefit of people. Still, we consider it as nature. If a tree formsan unwanted accessory, the tree can be cut down. We like to have control over nature. This is also the case when it comes to the things we use on or in our bodies: make-up, moisturizers, botox, liposuction. It’s all because we want to do this. What if this isn’t enough? What if you want to become someone who you already are, but your body prevents this? What if there is only one thing to do: move forward into a direction that some people won’t understand. A direction or journey that some will not approve of?
I can’t imagine what it’s like. Not for those who are, but also not for those who are close to those who are. This is beyond any kind of imagination. That’s the moment when I as a parent must act. Telling my children that there is more to this world. Things we might not understand why they are done this way and why there is a need to change. Yes, this is very easy sitting in my chair on the camping we are visiting this year. I am writing this from the perspective of a parent who sees that his son sometimes likes “girls things” and a daughter sometimes likes “boys things.”
Eventually, it all comes down to acceptation. The acceptance that “this” is also possible. But also: that it’s allowed, that it’s possible. As long as this is not something that is generally accepted, I will continue to write about this. I will also discuss this with my two children. Different, what is that anyway?
I have difficulties with nature when people suggest that something isn’t natural. Based on false ideas. Based on hate. Based on discrimination. Nature is nature and sometimes we as humans simply cannot control this.