Transphobic TikTok Trend Leads To Controversy About Consent

@venusistyping/TikTok @zander._.k0/TikTok

TikTok It is one of the largest social media platforms on the planet. Its dominance is evident across the web as content made on the video-sharing app spills over the internet, sparking conversations and elevating creators to new heights.

One of the most recent conversations to emerge on the popular app was triggered by a new trend accused of being transphobic. A series of videos leaning on the train garnered backlash for their perceptions of transgender people and soon sparked a debate about consent.

The ‘connector’ trend

The controversial trend that sparks a site-wide debate is harmless enough, especially for those who participate in it. It largely revolves around those in relationships with trans people, especially trans men. Many trans men use something called breast binders to gently compress their breast tissue, helping to give them a gender-appropriate physique. Binders have become increasingly popular in recent years as people lean towards the non-invasive and simple option to reduce the visibility of breast tissue.

However, most binders should not be worn for more than about eight hours at a time to reduce the risk of potentially harmful side effects. This means that even for people who feel much more comfortable with a skin, they need to spend part of the day with their breasts unbound. For many, this can be an uncomfortable experience as they feel more comfortable and at home with the skin in place.

The trend that fuels TikTok’s latest site-wide argument is seeing frequent skin users react to their partners’ unlinked chests. Each of the videos participating in the trend uses a similar caption and a similar piece of music, providing a perspective when “my partner pulls out their skin”. Most of the videos see TikToker taking part in treating the chest exposed after opening as a sexual aspect of their partner’s physical appearance.

In many cases, this is not a problem at all. These people are probably adults, anyone in consensual relationships and a romantic couple. should finds her partner’s body attractive. But in the case of trans connector users, this trend can be damaging and illegitimate. Many trans men view their breasts as a clear symbol of a gender they have left behind, and the whole point of the binder is to hide it. When the connector is removed, the dysmorphia many trans men feel is noted in their breast tissue, and thus sexualizing this area ignores the potential trauma some trans men associate with this area of ​​the body.

Most, if not all, of the videos participating in this trend are clearly well-intentioned and take the trend in a silly, light-hearted tone that is not intended as any sort of attack. Bol also states that the poster asks for permission before spying on his partners; this is a completely different scenario than a single eyeball and sexualization, an area where many skin users can feel self-conscious without asking.

This topic sparked widespread debate about consent, as many viewers plunged into the comment section to defend their partner’s right to take advantage of their body. Their arguments boil down to one particular point: As long as both parties agree to it, they should be free to enjoy each other however they want.

But not everyone agrees, and the backlash soon followed. A number of critical TikTok have sprung from this trend, as allies hack into their own accounts to share their thoughts on the matter. Most of the critical TikToks follow a similar pattern, as users describe the trend as “disgusting” and say that spying on a trans person’s chest “shows you don’t see them for what they are”.

Other critics say the trend “shows that you don’t respect your partner and their identity when they don’t wear skin.” This seems to be the primary pressure against this trend, as trans people and their allies have resorted to the practice to explain why sexualizing an unwanted part of one’s body can increase their dysmorphia. Participating in such a trend, especially from a loved one, can be quite damaging, and critical TikTokers want to spread it.

They do this through a wave of reproachful videos by targeting the trend and denouncing it as “disgusting”.

With a review of TikTok’s embedding linker content, criticism of the ‘linker’ trend has proven to be at least partially correct. Many videos reveal connector users complaining about having to remove their connectors, and many users have real problems with their unconnected chests. To accentuate or even sexualize this area of ​​their body is directly at odds with their comfort level.

The trend is something that clearly cannot be treated as a monolith. The issue varies greatly from situation to situation, some skin users are totally satisfied with their partner’s attention to their breasts and others are totally against it.

Conversation fueled by the ‘connector’ trend is surprisingly healthy and totally necessary, as even sharply disagreeing users share their perspectives and thoughts on the topic. The conversation ultimately revolves around respect and consent, and any trend that sees people exploring how to best support their loved ones is a win in our book.

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