Friday, June 5, 2015

My two cents on the whole Caitlyn Jenner media explosion and its repercussions


As I mentioned in my first post, I enjoy fashion, a lot. But as a global citizen that I consider myself to be, I believe that being informed about current issues is a MUST. Recently, former Olympian and reality show star Bruce Jenner came out as a transgender woman "for all intents and purposes."

Although at the time (April 2015) he preferred the use of the masculine pronouns, in the latest Vanity Fair issue (June 2015), she has become Caitlyn Jenner.

Caitlyn Jenner is beautiful. Caitlyn Jenner is on her way to happiness. Caitlyn Jenner has freed herself from the shackles that her biological sex had put her in. Caitlyn Jenner is transgender. Caitlyn Jenner is a woman. If we just took into account the statements I have written above, which are over simplistic representations of what a transgender person should feel and should be accepted as, there would not be a discussion. However, media has exploded.

We are talking about how an Olympian champion, married 3 times and father to 6 children who has been part of many Americans' home entertainment, has become a woman. Many claim she is a hero. Many claim she is just pulling a publicity stunt. Many will not call her Caitlin, they will keep calling her Bruce. And of course, we have the backlash of the transgenderism taboo.

This is my opinion:
- Heroism: We all have a different concept of what a hero is. Single mothers who work 3 jobs to take care of their children. Soldiers who put their lives first in order to protect a country. Missionaries. Selfless people. They all contribute to society in different ways and in different degrees, but the most important thing is that they make a difference in the life of somebody. Caitlyn Jenner IS a hero because she has made a difference in her own life. She is her own hero, a hero for herself. The struggle to find yourself in a body that does not feel yours and the anxiety and depression that come with it must be inimaginable. Anxiety and depression make you wish you could to take off and switch off your brain for a rest. It does not feel right. Imagine wanting to take off your body.

- Publicity stunt: It is true that the sex reassignment of Caitlyn has yet again, put the Kardashians in the spotlight. I am personally not a fan. And I am sure that the revenue that this has given them must be staggering. However, we are not talking about a photoshoot, a contract with X clothing brand or *gasp* another porn video. We are talking of children whose father figure is a woman. Even more specifically, somebody who used to be a man. It is definitely life-changing for many of the closest people in her life. Could a human being go that far for money? I doubt it.

- Denial of pronoun use and name: Language is powerful. As a linguist, I cannot stress this enough. The whole "sticks and stones" thing is a blatant lie. One word, one phrase, it may change your day, your week, your life. Not using "she", "her" and "Caitlyn" denies the identity of an individual. Since birth, each individual acts and reacts in different ways to shape his/her identity. When you deny somebody's gender identity, you are denying a massive part of this person.

- Transgender issues: Transgenders comprise a 2-5% of the population, yet very few of these undergo sex reassignment surgery. I mean, not even Caitlyn Jenner has undergone a full sex reassignment.

However,  "A nationwide survey of bias-motivated violence against LGBT people from 1985 to 1998 found that incidents targeting transgender people accounted for 20% of all murders and about 40% of all police-initiated violence." Transgender Law

Look at that. Many visible transgender advocates like Laverne Cox (total fangirl moment, God I love her) have been pointing out the issue for ages. Being a transgender person is HARD. It exposes you to crime, abuse, rape and murder to unimaginable extents. Your gender identity, who you are, is making you vulnerable to a violent life (and/or death), not to be accepted in jobs, to being shunned from society and even your family. Now, who would choose a life like that? It is not a capricious act. It is not a selfish act. Is it selfish to save yourself from the pain that not living in the body you were meant to have? Is it selfish to make your life bearable at all? It is not.

Now this is my opinion. Many people do not agree, and will not agree even if they start thinking about the points I have expressed here. In any case, Caitlyn Jenner is an independent person, and if you don't like it, you don't look at her. Simple as that. As they say in Spanish, vive y deja vivir. Caitlyn Jenner, you do yo.


- Ane

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