The sexist self-delusion of Dylan Mulvaney

Note to trans activists: no amount of cosmetic surgery turns a man into a woman.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill
chief political writer

Topics Feminism Identity Politics USA

Just when you thought the trans ideology couldn’t get any crankier, here comes the face reveal. This is when a man who’s becoming a woman, or thinks he’s becoming a woman, takes to social media to unveil his surgically ‘feminised’ face to the world. Gone is his square jaw and big nose, fleshy giveaways of maleness, and in their place is a thinner, more dinky nose and pert cheekbones. Behold my womanly visage! It’s like a woke version of PT Barnum’s museum of freaks. Barnum pulled back the curtain to reveal women with beards – the face reveal invites us to roll up, roll up and gawk at the man who turned into a lady.

Dylan Mulvaney, the trans TikToker who’s documenting his journey to ‘girlhood’, is leading the charge. Last week, he did a big glitzy face reveal. It’s one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen on the internet. It starts with a title card, saying ‘Dylan Mulvaney starring in “The Face Reveal”’. Then a red velvet curtain opens – roll up, roll up! – and there’s Dylan in a mechanical aqua-blue ballet dress twirling about to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake as he reveals his surgically shaved brow, shaved jaw, nose job, lip lift and Adam’s apple reduction – ouch – for likes and validation. He then reappears dolled up like Audrey Hepburn to soak up the imaginary applause of his 10million followers. It’s hard to know what’s worse – the narcissism of making a mini Hollywood movie about your plastic surgery or the delusion of believing that having your nose, jaw and trachea whittled down by surgeons magically turns you from a man into a woman.

There’s a Frankenstein feel to the face reveal. I’m not saying that to be offensive – Dylan himself used that F-word. He talked about how relieved he was to have the ‘staples and screws’ removed from his scalp – it takes a lot of metal to make a man a woman – because ‘I felt a little bit like Frankenstein having those in’. He means Frankenstein’s monster, but let’s not be pedantic. His reference to Mary Shelley’s chilling morality tale about the misuse of scientific power might be more apt than he realises. Where Frankenstein tells of the dangers of trying to turn inanimate matter into life, the face reveal points to the folly of thinking we can turn men into women. Surgeons who believe they can alter something as immutable as sex are surely ‘playing God’ as much as Victor Frankenstein was when he tried to make a cadaver human.

The woke media are lapping up Mulvaney’s ‘feminised’ face. Pink News gushed over his ‘more feminine appearance’ and his ‘stylishly queer’ face-reveal film. Attitude went wild for his ‘slicked-back hairdo [that] accentuates her sharp features’. Facial feminisation surgery is abbreviated as FFS, meaning we’ve been treated to such entertaining coverage as ‘TikTok Star Dylan Mulvaney Just Revealed Her Stunning FFS Results’ and ‘Dylan Mulvaney Breaks Down FFS Recovery’. A young man who thinks having a sleeker nose and trimmed trachea makes him more female? FFS indeed.

The cult of the face reveal tells us a lot about the woke moment, none of it good. First, there’s the staggering and sexist double standards when it comes to cosmetic surgery. For decades now, the cultural elites have sneered at women who’ve gone under the knife to get a smaller nose or bigger breasts. Whether it was the Baywatch beauties of the Nineties getting silicone implants or even the Essex girls of the Noughties going for a less invasive vajazzle (Google it), the verdict was always the same: what shallow, self-obsessed broads! Yet now we’re meant to fawn over men who undergo insanely more meddlesome surgery in the mistaken belief that it will make them women. The same kind of talking heads who were aghast at vajazzles think a penectomy followed by vaginoplasty is absolutely fine (Google it. Actually, don’t.)

The language our society uses changes dramatically when it comes to male-to-‘female’ surgery. Women’s cosmetic procedures are always jobs: ‘boob jobs’, ‘nose jobs’. Words like ‘plastic’ and ‘fake’ are bandied around. Magazines publish lists of celebs rumoured to have fake boobs. Trans surgery, in contrast, is ‘healthcare’. ‘Gender-affirming healthcare’, they call it. One outlet described Mulvaney’s FFS as a ‘trans-healthcare milestone’. It would be a brave soul who referred to a transwoman’s breasts as fake or plastic. They’d be cancelled in an instant. Which is ironic, because transwomen’s breasts are fake. The likes of Pamela Anderson are accentuating their real breasts when they have cosmetic surgery, whereas men who identify as women are basically giving themselves glorified moobs when they take ‘titty skittles’, as Grace Lavery refers to progesterone supplements.

These double standards expose one of the most sinister elements of the trans ideology: its belief that transwomen are not only actual, literal women but are better women than biological women. They’re the truest women. Embrace ‘your true self with gender-reassignment surgery’, surgeons say. We’re told that, through radical surgery, men who want to be women can ‘become their real self’ and find their ‘true identity’. Real, true – it’s about as far as you can get from the ‘fake tits’ discourse that swirls around women who have cosmetic procedures. The implication is that the body of the man who ‘becomes a woman’ is more authentic than the body of an actual woman, because he had to suffer so much to get it. His ‘femaleness’ is hard won, and thus holier. As Germaine Greer said of Bruce Jenner’s transition to Caitlyn, ‘Misogyny plays a really big part in all of this, [this idea] that a man who goes to these lengths to become a woman will be a better woman than someone who is just born a woman’.

The entire idea of FFS – as I will be calling it from now on – is misogynistic. It really does reduce womanhood to costume, to performance, a mask that can be pulled on by anyone, including those of us who have penises. The highly stylised, or ‘stylishly queer’, manner of Mulvaney’s face reveal confirmed that femaleness is pure theatre for the trans activist. The raised curtain, the spotlight, the canned applause – this was girlhood as entertainment, womanhood as stagecraft. The belief that some hormones, a bit of face chiselling and a name change are all it takes to become a woman is profoundly chauvinistic. It robs womanhood of its biological, social and relational truths and makes it mere garb, to be donned by all who desire it.

This has been Mulvaney’s schtick for some time. His ‘Days of Girlhood’ online diary – I think he’s on day 322 now – is all about slowly but surely slipping on the attire of womanhood. To my mind, it’s as mad as if Rachel Dolezal had a Days of Blackness diary. From his make-up tutorials to his videos about tucking his bollocks into his swimsuit, Mulvaney continually gives the impression that femaleness is an act. He carries around tampons, despite the fact he’ll never menstruate, and says he wants ‘to be a mom one day’, as if even motherhood were a mime. And when his dream of being a ‘girl’ crashes into the reality of his being a fella, he just casually and arrogantly insists that society redefine womanhood to include people like him. So on the inconvenience of having to squeeze his penis into a bikini, he says we need to ‘normalise women having bulges’. ‘Normalise the bulge!’ goes his wacky rallying cry. This is trans activism summed up: the entire category of woman undemocratically reimagined and rebranded to make it inclusive of men. They really are happy to overthrow millennia’s worth of science and truth, especially the truth that women don’t have dicks, just to make themselves feel better when they’re strutting around the pool in a two-piece.

Journey to ‘girlhood’? Mate, you’re 26. And a man. Here’s the thing, though: Mulvaney is only a zanier expression of the sexist self-delusion that underpins the entire modern trans movement. Dylan, you raised Frankenstein, and now it falls to me to tell you that just as Frankenstein’s monster never became human, so people born male never become female. No matter how much FFS they have.

Brendan O’Neill is spiked’s chief political writer and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

Picture by: Getty.

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Topics Feminism Identity Politics USA


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