What a wonderful time it must be for the rich and privileged male folk of the world, to help seal women’s equality, not by standing down and putting women in their powerful positions, but simply by calling themselves “woman” while they occupy these positions. The highest paid “female” CEO in the united states, Martine Rothblatt, who is counted statistically as a woman, isn’t a female at all, but rather a trans woman who transitioned late in life, on top of all that good fortune and decades of male privilege it took to get there. What better way to balance the scales without conceding any actual power or status? We can all just merrily pretend like social justice is happening, especially when it happens for men.
Earlier this week former Olympic Icon turned c-list celebrity dad, Bruce Jenner, unveiled themselves after months of speculation about both Jenner’s gender identity (which an interview with Diane Sawyer a few weeks ago cleared up, Bruce indeed was identifying as a woman, but wanted to retain the name “Bruce” and he/his pronouns…and Bruce was also very adamant that you know he isn’t a homosexual, he is heterosexual, in that he still wants to only date female people.) and after that confirmation where he was going from there. Fast forward about 2 weeks later and we have the cover of Vanity Fair re-introducing Jenner to the world as Caitlyn. Caitlyn Jenner, the poor soul trapped in a life full of the most absolute of privileges. The oppression Jenner must of felt when the Olympic Medal was placed over his neck, one can only imagine. All of that money, all of those sponsor ships, those wives, those children, those opportunities, it was all just too much, and so, in his 65th year, after the achievements had been obtained it was time to step out. Bruce never existed, he was always she, she was always Caitlyn Jenner. And the world cheers.
Over the past few days I’ve seen most people on social media praising Jenner in a slew of uncritical support for an anti-gay and anti-woman, rich, white republican. Much of that coming from the LGBT community and it’s allies, a community that Jenner has thrown under the bus for his entire life. It’s really nauseating to witness such fan fair for someone so undeserving of it. I’m curious as to what the reaction would be if Sarah Palin made a decision to become a man, I can promise it wouldn’t garner the support Jenner is enjoying. Of course there are a slew of good, but unfortunately conservative based articles that question this sensationalist spectacle, while the liberal media creams it’s pants in masturbatory celebration.
I’ve lately even seen a few people that I consider good friends jump to the defense of of both trans politics and Jenner. These aren’t my gender critical Facebook and Twitter peeps, these are real life, in the flesh people that I consider friends. It’s disheartening in that I think they still can’t separate that politics aren’t individuals, but that individuals have something to do with politics. That it is more the narrative that being advanced that is the issue, and not the personal lives of trans people who are not activist, who are not rich and privileged, who are not being celebrated,who just want to live their lives free of harassment and hate, which I think is something most people with a brain and heart can support. These are friends though, that have bought the concept of cis privilege (a political concept.) and once that happens, is there anything that can really shake one out of that? I think a few beds may have already of been made, and that’s fine, people are allowed to disagree. But I’m allowed to think that they perhaps still haven’t actually thought everything through.
For example, I think that many people actually believe that sex is a mutable characteristic, that it’s fluid and something that can be changed, when in all actuality it isn’t. I’m not sure if these individuals are aware that immutable characteristics are often utilized to establish human rights laws and legislation. A big portion of the current debate on homosexuality is if it’s an immutable characteristic, and if it isn’t the rationale (one I disagree with.) seems to be “Then who cares.” How are we going to promote the liberation, or even the equality of a class if we strip away what identifies the class? If being a female is a feeling, a feeling that people like Caitlyn Jenner have (and that is materialized by embodying stereotypes of women.), then is being a female just a feeling + long hair, a corset and some make up? Is being a male just a feeling + a baseball cap? Let’s thrown our hands up and disregard reality, we can do whatever damn well we want! It doesn’t matter!
But the sad truth is that it does, especially in a world so rife with inequality. We must be able to identify classes of people, to identify who the oppressors are and who the oppressed are, without knowing this dynamic any positive progress is surely at a stand still. And what a wonderful world it must be for those on top to cloak themselves with the emperors robe of invisibility and feed you the line that it’s progress.