The mainstream media is falling all over themselves this morning, attempting to demonstrate compassion, kindness, acceptance and support for Bruce Jenner, who believes himself (he wishes to be known as a “he” at this moment) to be a woman. Once the sine qua non of masculinity, Jenner brought an entire nation to its feet, cheering at his physical triumph during the height of the cold war! At the 1976 Olympics, Jenner set a world record in the decathlon and showed them damn commies just who ruled! He then proceeded to monetize his athletic prowess and turned his gold medal into some serious coin, one of the first Olympic athletes to do so.
I didn’t watch the interview with Diane Sawyer because I personally do not give a rat’s ass what gender Bruce Jenner wants to live as. I don’t care what he or any of the crazy women he lives with do with their lives. Not a topic that interests me. My take on the transgender issue is that it‘s a medical condition deserving of treatment at the discretion of the person who has the condition, which I’ve explained in a previous post in more detail.
What I find interesting about the Bruce Jenner situation is the notion of privilege and power. Jenner lives in a house filled with crazy, beautiful and incredibly wealthy women who use their looks to generate enormous amounts of income. Surely, it must be clear to him and everyone who watches these fame whores that the power to use tits and ass and turn it into cash resides with women. Good luck with the whole “women are oppressed” shtick at Casa Jenner. The whole Jennner/Karashian bankroll demonstrates beautifully that money determines privilege, not gender, and not race. Bruce is now set to join the powerful women of his clan as one of their own, and good for him. I don’t fault these women for stripping down for cash – they understand their ability to generate the big bucks lies in their looks and they are taking full advantage of that.
I just want the conversation to be honest. Don’t give me any crap about “patriarchy” and “oppression” when the size of your ass impacts your bank account so directly.
What I find depressing about the reaction to Bruce is that in order to elicit compassion and kindness and understanding and support, he needed to announce that he was, in fact, a woman. There’s the whole MHRM argument in a nutshell. Bruce the Olympic athlete, Bruce the gold-medal man, Bruce the world record holder got to suck it up, man up, shut up and expect nothing in terms of emotional support and empathy. Now that he’s a woman, or soon will be one, the media goes mad to offer him the kindness they deny to men. You can bet the feminist media in particular will trip over themselves to provide Bruce the woman with all the support they routinely refuse to offer men. Bruce now no longer needs to be taught not to rape, because he has magically lost the ability to rape, amirite? Bruce will now be the automatic victim of domestic violence (assuming it’s a man who hits him and not one of those psycho women he lives with). Bruce is now under no obligation to provide evidence for any accusations of sexual assault he cares to make. Bruce is now oppressed, victimized, and in need of rights.
Bruce is joining the privileged caste, and it will be interesting to watch and see if he understands that his transition will be more than just physical – it will be social and cultural, too.
Bruce Jenner shines a glaring spotlight on what is referred to as “the empathy gap”. As a society, we simply don’t give a fuck about men’s pain. Men kill themselves in record numbers, live fewer years than women and face incredible institutional discrimination, and no one cares.
Well, not no one. We in the MHRM care. We are trying to do something about it. Bruce Jenner has solved his problem and closed the empathy gap in a way very few other men can. He became a woman. For the vast majority of men, that isn’t an option, nor should it have to be.
Bruce Jenner had to become a woman to make people care.
And that’s the conversation we should be having when we talk about Bruce Jenner.
Lots of love,
[Featured image was originally posted to Flickr by jla0379 at http://flickr.com/photos/71540470@N04/6466015121. It was reviewed on 21 December 2011 by the FlickreviewR robot and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.]