Writing about what I have been reading and encountering in the media.
|Surfing the net today, I came across this:
“Calling Bruce Jenner a Woman Is an Insult to Women”
Posted on: June 3rd, 2015 by kresta in the afternoon
The author has strong opinions about Bruce Jenner’s transition and by extension, about transgenderism. I too have some thoughts on the subject.
In his posting, kresta attempts to distinguish between “real” women and invented women and objects to transgenderism, focusing on male to female transition. In the process of “defending” women, he makes some statements that I found problematic: “Transgenderism and feminism cannot coexist. Progressives can’t have both.” It seems to me kresta makes a judgement about who can get along and accept each other and who can’t. I didn’t see any rationale in the posting for this position. Kresta did not define terms and assumed a definition about feminism that is not how I understand it. In my mind, feminism means acceptance of the intrinsic value of every human being, and accepting that the feminine is equal to the masculine in value and power. I see this as a progressive ideal as well.
Kresta goes on to say: “We’re talking about a sex change like it’s an Apple product. With this kind of language, we have not only made the self mutable, we’ve also commodified it and turned it into a spectacle that can be sold for profit. This is a bastardization of our humanity on a scale and to a degree that wouldn’t have even crossed the tortured minds of last century’s most prophetic social critics.
It’s all so evil and so bizarre and so unthinkably ridiculous that no dystopian sci-fi writer could have predicted that the collapse of western society would look like this. Right now Orwell and Huxley are looking on in deep regret. “Man! An apocalyptic future where people are so pampered, conceited, and bored that they pretend they can snap their fingers and reconstruct their soul from scratch — why didn’t I think of that?”
As I recall, the first sex change operation took place just past mid-century, about 50 years ago. This has been going on way too long to still consider it revolutionary. While I agree this is "commodification" I don't see that as a new thing either. I remember Bruce Jenner appearing in advertising as a young man, promoting products like any accomplished athlete in the past 75 years or so. The commodification of people started with advertising in the 1920’s. People being pampered and bored has been going on as long as people have existed as far as I can tell.
Bruce Jenner becoming Caitlin Jenner is similar to a woman getting married and changing her identity to wife and member of her husband’s family. It is a change in identity that has been expected of women for centuries. It just does not seem to me that Bruce Jenner’s transition to a woman is emblematic of the crash of civilization. It does seem to represent a very important problem about our media making something very personal seem generally significant while ignoring some pretty important social issues. That is for another entry.
For now, I just want to add, my womanhood is not defined by my reproductive capacity. It is defined by my culture and myself and does have a biological base that I was born with. Just because I have certain organs does not automatically lead to pregnancy and parenthood any more than it does for a man. That is what choice is about. I am in no way insulted that a particular man chooses to be a woman. Actually, it is kind of flattering. I don’t pretend to comprehend it, but, since it isn’t me, I don’t have to. Should I meet Caitlin Jenner, I will treat her with as much respect as I treat anyone else because that is the right thing to do.