Bruce Jenner is a Better Woman than You

Bruce Jenner is a better woman than you. After all, if a 60-something year-old grandfather can look like a supermodel on the cover of Vanity Fair, wtf is your problem? Have a little facial contouring done, implant some silicone, lace yourself into a corset to bring out that hourglass, hire a team of make-up and hair professionals, get a world-famous photographer to take your pictures, and finally, get the best graphic artist money can buy to photoshop the hell out of the shots, and boom, you are, “for all intents and purposes,” a woman.

Well, actually, for several specific intents and purposes, all of them having to do with drawing the spotlight, selling your new reality TV show, and boosting the inexplicable fame of your equally self-absorbed, limelight seeking family members.

So, Call Me Caitlyn, you were uncomfortable with the gender role assigned to you on the basis of your biological sex? I can understand that. I’m not really comfortable with my assigned gender role, either. Here are some things about my assigned gender role that I dislike:

  • The relentless cultural focus on “hotness” as the key quality is determining an individual’s worth.
  • The expectation that I will wear uncomfortable and impractical clothes to increase my hotness.
  • The expectation that I will use make-up, every day, to increase my hotness. (Men only use make-up when performing. Women’s lives are non-stop performances.)
  • The verbal abuse I have received from men I didn’t know for not looking hot enough.
  • The verbal abuse I have received from men I didn’t know because I looked hot.
  • That time a creepy guy masturbated in front of me on the subway late at night. I was getting off the train at the very last stop and I prayed he would exit before that.
  • All the times I didn’t go somewhere because I didn’t feel safe walking alone at night.
  • All the times men have interrupted and talked over me.
  • All the times my views and opinions have been dismissed.
  • All the years I was not worth talking to because I was “just a mom.”

Sadly, I don’t get to choose or identify my way out of those experiences. But hey, thanks for playing a key role in perpetuating and cementing those gender expectations for the next generation by transforming yourself, not into a woman but into a bizarrely exaggerated male fantasy of what being a woman is about. Fuck you.

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15 thoughts on “Bruce Jenner is a Better Woman than You

  1. Ah. Yes, I see. That’s quite a well-articulated rant. I’ve enjoyed the spectacle of Caitlin Jenner because it’s brought out quite a few talking points between myself and Mr. OBL, some about the things you’ve mentioned, others about unrelated things.

    But generally, eh, it’s hard for me to get super worked up about any of it. I’ve noted for a long, long time that a lot of men have legs that are better suited to male fantasies about women than I do; that the focus on “lady guns” in the early 90s meant that a whole new standard of fitness had been grafted onto an already impossible standard for me to meet; that prepubescent girls seem to fit male fantasies about women better than any other real people I encounter; and that based on media standards, I’m never going to meet any kind of feminine ideal in the world of “male gaze.” I’m short, I tend to be overweight, I’m not particularly athletic, my boobs were small until after I had kids, but after I had kids I gained a lot in the hip/butt area to balance out my new C cups. I have heavy thighs and rather large hands. I am, in short, a version of woman who has existed for centuries but is not in vogue. C’est la vie.

    What I enjoy is the idea that homophobic, transphobic dudes now have to deal with Caitlin Jenner meeting their impossible ideas of femininity. Love that.

  2. Also: stupid wordpress keeps unfollowing me from you, and now I’m following, but your post still isn’t in my reader WHY WHY WHY.

  3. Oh, my dear, you are so very insightful! ” bizarrely exaggerated male fantasy of what being a woman is about” – so very well said! I hadn’t really thought about it – mostly I thought that anything that destigmatizes some of the more outlying gender issues is probably fine, but you (and John Stewart, God bless him) have very clearly pointed out that this instance of a man becoming a woman shines a beacon on the very messed up idea of what a “woman” is in our culture.

    very very well done!

  4. The Kardashians have pretty well messed up any idea of what a human being is, let alone a woman. I still don’t know why any of them are famous, or what they do besides have a reality show. Bruce Jenner insists that he has known he was *really* a woman since childhood, but it didn’t stop him from having three wives and who knows how many children. Everytime I think life can’t possibly be any screwier, one of the Kardashians proves me worng.

    • That’s a fair question and the answer is no. I think the concept of gender transition deserves much more careful analysis than it typically gets, because any scrutiny is regarded as attack, but I absolutely do not think that trans people, as a group, are detestable profiteering Columbusing creeps. Just Jenner.

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