Best-Of Advice

On Bruce Jenner

Did you watch the Bruce Jenner interview? Will you watch his tv series when it comes out? Please tell me what to think about all that.

Out of respect for the transgender community, I bit my tongue on the night of Bruce Jenner’s interview. I support his decision to transition — I support anyone’s decision to transition — but where everyone else seems to have witnessed an exercise in courage, all I saw was a display of calculated narcissism, albeit through a masterful manipulation of the mainstream news.

Go ahead and call me a cynic, but let’s not forget that first and foremost, Bruce Jenner is still very much a rich old white Republican from the ultimate family of loathsome fame whores, and as likable and charming as he may have appeared during that interview, any person who openly proclaims that he was “put on this earth” to “change the world” through nothing but his own shallow fame isn’t doing it because he’s courageous.

Of course, we still live in a world where a certain measure of courage is required for anyone to come out as transgender, but Bruce Jenner will be transitioning from a safe and privileged position of personal celebrity, financial security, and unconditional love and support from those close to him. He is very, very lucky.

I can’t think of a single other transgender person who began their transition with that much privilege, and now Bruce is the one with the TV show. That’s what bothers me the most.

Honestly, I’m a little bit terrified that Bruce, the Jenner family, and a handful of reality television executives at E! are gonna be the ones who frame the largest discussion of transgender issues in American popular culture to date, because that’s what’s about to happen.

This upcoming TV show is going to be huge, and while I’m all for more transgender representation in the media, I’m also wary, because these same people are responsible for a decade’s worth of pop cultural pollution, and I just don’t know if they’re up to the task of handling this kind of subject matter with the grace and gravitas it deserves.

Then again, maybe they’ll pull it off. Who knows? I hope they do. This shit is too important for it to wind up another cartoonish reality shit show.


5 thoughts on “On Bruce Jenner

  1. Janipurr says:

    Jesus. Thank you for articulating my continued uneasiness with the phenomenon that is Caitlin. I have very respect for anyone who identifies as transgender, but the prospect of…..Caitlin…..being the face of transgenderism just makes me uneasy as hell.

  2. Light37 says:

    The show has definitely opened some avenues for discussion, and I know some mindlessly anti-trans people have become more aware of aware of what it really means to be trans, which is a good thing. Catelyn Jenner is easily the weakest part of the show, though.

  3. NihilisticSunflower says:

    I couldn’t possibly agree more, though I think it’s important to use Caitlin’s preferred name when speaking about her and all of her problematic ‘contributions’ to the transgender community. Let’s not dead name her, shall we?

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