Art 597.01W Art Writing on Gender and Identity Issues

Blog posts for the Summer I 2015 class.

On Bruce, Cailtyn, and changing views

People get cosmetic alterations for attention, but they don’t generally remove sex organs.

I have not kept up with the Kardashians. I’ve only seen a couple of episodes of anything they’ve ever had on TV. However, when I was watching it, I couldn’t help but notice how detached and disinterested Bruce Jenner was. He even seemed to dress like he stopped caring about his appearance around the time he won Olympic Gold. At the time, I mistook this as a former athlete who was unable to move past his glory days. Now I see that he was likely so detached because he was living a lie. Now that he is Caitlyn, it seems that a mixture of things has transpired.

It was easy to think at first that the transformation was a publicity stunt. Everything about that family is so manufactured - even the fame. How a gaggle of talentless people can get a lot of plastic surgery and then get famous is beyond me. Bruce was the only one with an ounce of actual talent. People get cosmetic alterations for attention, but they don’t generally remove sex organs. So the idea that Bruce became Caitlyn for press is a little absurd, provided Bruce did not completely lose his mind. So in the end, I believe people who think the did it for attention are mostly just expressing an existing viewpoint.

Among the many voices responding to the change are those also just expressing existing viewpoints. To these people, the emergence of Caitlyn Jenner merely confirms whatever they believed already. If gender reassignment was a hideous thing to someone before, this butchering of a man just confirmed it. If it is a modern miracle that allows a person to feel like who he or she is inside, then this was a beautiful transformation. Those not in this camp are the most important in this discussion.

Those who were less aware of issues faced by Bruce/Caitlyn, or who had the situation humanized by a familiar figure are those who profit most from seeing this occur, and they stand to gain the most by discussing it. Maybe someone was on the fence or held shallow and poorly researched views, or some who just “saw the light.” Regardless, it is these people who will help the conversation move in one direction of the other.

I think largely, the emergence of Caitlyn Jenner has moved the discussion regarding transgendered people toward tolerance, even if it might run in the family to soak up attention. If nothing else, it seems that Cailtyn is much happier and interested than Bruce seemed to be. And really, isn’t that what matters most?