When President Biden decided to sit down for an interview with Dylan Mulvaney, the left’s most recent transgender “it girl,” it was reminiscent of President Obama’s many fluff interviews with social media icons. This interview was different, however, because it could have an actual influence on national policy. As Biden nodded along and praised Mulvaney for his “222nd day as a girl,” it occurred to me how absurd the entire scene was. The whole ordeal presents serious problems about the legitimacy of our political system, but also how women find themselves represented in 2022.
Mulvaney, most known for his TikTok “Days of Girlhood” series, represents one of the best examples of the absurdity of the modern transgender movement. As Amber Athey boldly pointed out in an article titled, “My womanhood is not your costume,” “Womanhood is now routinely publicly mocked and degraded by a group of men playing dress-up…” But “[t]he most offensive part of Mulvaney’s act is not that it debases women to the lowest stereotypes. It’s that women are being told to look truth dead in the eyes and then spit in its face.”
Mulvaney began “transitioning” less than a year ago and decided to document his daily experience through what is indistinguishable from right-wing satire. Taking on the common attitude that he is doing society a kindness by taking time to properly educate the ignorant masses, Mulvaney’s style is condescending, aggressive, and entitled. Yet to the casual observer, he appears frantic, hostile, and frankly, creepy, often with an exaggerated smile and manic eyes that tell a story of desperation, not confidence.
As Athey details, Mulvaney’s idea of “girlhood” seems limited to a Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen movie from the early 2000s. He dresses and behaves like a stereotype of a young teenage girl, with literal bows in his hair, and appears to have made a mental checklist of all the things girls like and don’t like, which he ticks off in his videos. Girls don’t like bugs, check. Girls wear “shopping shorts,” check.
Along with his persona of an overly excitable teenager, Mulvaney, who is 25, exhibits moments of activist hostility. On day 74 of his series, he bounces onto the screen wearing tight black leather or latex shorts, which he refers to as his “shopping shorts,” with an overt confirmation of his biological sex on full display. He begins his story by noting that when out on a recent shopping trip, he noticed people kept staring at his crotch. He exclaims, “I forgot that my crotch doesn’t look like other women’s crotches sometimes because mine doesn’t look like a little Barbie pocket.”
For a moment, he appears to slip into adult lucidity and recognize that he could simply wear clothing that doesn’t draw such attention but snaps right back into his wide-eyed, exaggerated persona, demanding that perhaps everyone else should merely “normalize” the idea that women sometimes have bulges. To emphasize this, he begins to sing, “Women can have bulges, and that’s OK,” before getting to the point of the video that the problem comes down to average people noticing the bulge and judging him for it, or so he assumes. No actual judgment was described in the video beyond what he imagined others were thinking.
Mulvaney’s antics would be little more than eye-roll-inducing typical internet nonsense if the influencer wasn’t being simultaneously promoted by institutions such as Forbes, Ulta Beauty, and the White House. He is the face of not only what transgender activism represents but what being a woman means in 2022. You see, Mulvaney isn’t portraying himself as a person overcoming gender dysphoria and living their best life on their own terms. He portrays himself as the typical modern woman who is entitled to speak for all women and the issues they face.
Athey notes this important distinction, saying, “I will always pray that people suffering from gender dysphoria are able to find peace with who they are. However, I do not have any sympathy for those who play-act as women using hackneyed stereotypes, pretend to speak for us — and then have the stones to tell us we are the problem when we don’t comply with their delusion.” For me, this is the defining line in the sand. “Transgender women” are simply not women.
Like so many so-called transgender women, Mulvaney appears to be trapped in a loop where being a girl is an endless series of slumber parties, makeup tutorials, and being cute, sassy, and faux-empowered. His idea of a woman is a fantasy, manufactured by movies and TV shows, where strong womanhood is epitomized by strutting down an NYC street in a tight dress and heels, arms confidently holding bags of designer clothes.
I had the same fantasy. As a child, being a girl represented safety and acceptance; as a teenager, it represented glamour and power; and as an adult, it represented freedom and fulfillment. But the truth was, and still is, I have absolutely no idea what being a woman means, and neither does Mulvaney. I was never a girl, and neither was he. We both experienced what it was like to not fit in with other boys, but we only imagined what it would be like to be a girl. No matter how vivid and compelling that fantasy was for either of us — and despite Mulvaney’s desperate attempts at making it real — it’s still a fantasy.
For most of the lifespan of this movement, the response from regular people has been little more than a raised eyebrow and a “live and let live” attitude. However, the tolerant worldview that prioritizes individual freedom over personal opinion is no longer enough to keep the lines between their life and your own clearly defined. As more individuals like Mulvaney are promoted as absolute authorities on womanhood, real women must stand up and challenge these offensive and inaccurate portrayals.
As left-wing feminists have insisted for decades, I am not a woman, so I cannot defend what being a woman is. Ladies, it’s up to you.