Glamour Magazine’s sales must be down. Or maybe the media has once and for all claimed 2015 The Year of Caitlyn. Either way, sexism is reigning supreme on the 22nd floor of 4 Times Square.
I think cultural norms are problematic: they have conned us into believing that a little girl who wants to wear bow ties and play with trucks must be a boy, and that a boy who likes the color pink and Barbie dolls must be a girl. Trans-people often further validate the very stereotypes they want to reject because the reasons many of them cite for knowing why they are the opposite gender is out of affinities for culturally normative behavior.
Glamour wants us to buy their magazine and read their articles and believe that a highly accomplished man who’s fathered several children is now a Woman of the Year because he had surgery, wears dresses now, and likes to swap makeup tips with his daughters. What a slap in the face, to demean what it means to be a woman to her body parts and fashion sense. Despite how it may sound, I empathize with trans people who connect deeply with the opposite gender and only feel comfortable when living as that person. I think Bruce’s feelings behind becoming Caitlyn were real, but most importantly I believe they were psychological. You can let Bruce live as a woman, call “him” Caitlyn, replace “him” with “her” in articles, that’s fine. But do not tell me that I should look up to someone with a man-made simulated female body, girl clothes, and make-up as my example for being a woman. Because that is all trans woman Caitlyn has done. Ex-Bruce knows nothing about the glories and struggles that a woman faces:
- had to prove yourself to a man
- questioned whether you were right for an industry because you are female
- had someone tell you you were being too emotional
- had to tackle whether or not you can–or want–to bear children
- had to explain that being assertive makes you capable and not a man
- been expected to balance nurturing your family and work
- had to fight for maternity leave and the right to breastfeed in public
- had to naturally juggle being sensitive and wise
- had to fight sexism and catcalling on the street
- had to fight for equal pay
- been silenced because you are a woman
- been stoned and beaten because you weren’t a virgin
- been expected to take care of domestic needs and know how to do so
- had to explain that yes, I do know how to grill/change a tire/*insert manly activity here*
- had someone tell you you do something well “for a girl”
- become an emotional angry mess during your period
- wanted your children to know their father, to have a father
- wondered if you could be a successful and supporting wife
- fought for respect in your profession
- been ridiculed for behavior men are praised for
- been accused of lying about a physical attack or assault
- used a male pen name to be accepted by society
- been asked to use sex appeal to get ahead
- had to face the decision of keeping a child, or potentially losing your life if you deliver one
- had a man expect to control your decisions and right
- among a million other things
When you have naturally checked off some of these things, THEN you can talk to us about being a woman.
Let’s not get confused, DNA and physicality may be the start of what makes us male and female, but it’s not close to the end. Caitlyn’s fake boobs, fancy dresses, and perfected eyeliner do not fool me. Giving nationwide talks about courage while wearing stilettos and expensive blouses do not make Caitlyn a woman. And it should insult every real woman out there, that Glamour would even think to give such an honor to a man who feels better about himself now that he wears women’s clothing and goes by a feminine name. I love a good suit, but it’s foolish to think wearing one and having a surgeon change my genitals should land me on the cover of GQ. But isn’t that just one of the many challenges we face as women? Let a powerful man cut up some body parts, play dress up, change names and dictate to us what being a woman really means and we’re all supposed to accept it. I guess sexist bullying never stops.