Normally, outrageous publicity stunts don’t get much attention from us. But this Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner story- even though it is a shameless, pre-promotion for his upcoming reality TV program, “I am Cait”- is a bit cultural insanity that serves as a peep stone through which we can see some strange interfaces among the very people we are trying to reach. It offers more than meets the eyes.
We are dealing first of all with the diminishing of a person. Jenner has become a commodity. His handlers are selling an image that tries to embody the American virtues of “being true to oneself” and the drive to “reinvent” ourselves. The Christian aspiration to be “born again” and “forgiven of all past sins”. Jenner’s children hope that Caitlyn will be a better parent than Bruce was.
And of course, it is all very easy. All of this is promised by the switch of the surgeon’s scalpal, hormonal butt shots, girly clothes and very nice wigs.
From The Federalist: “The problem here is how Annie Leibowitz and Vanity Fair set about showing us that Jenner is truly a woman. They did it by painting precisely the pinup we teach our daughters to reject as their central aspiration. The sexual objectification of trans women is used as proof of their womanness, but the sexual objectification of non-trans women is considered demeaning because it associates their primary worth in relation to male desire. Being oppressed by men is being oppressed by men, even if those men are wearing dresses.”
Here is the article from The Federalist and one by Matt Walsh which I think expose the cultural hypocrisies surround Bruce/Caitlyn. by are two recent articles that understand the confusions and hypocrisy. I also included a lament I published on the 2009 death of Michael Jackson, “In Whose Image” which looks at the harm caused by turning persons into commodities.