Friends, Romans, Prytaniagoers, I give you, from the premiere op-ed page in the most powerful nation on earth, a high-grade distillation of New York Times-iness: a column entitled “The Price of Caitlyn Jenner’s Heroism”. Excerpt:
A new goddess has emerged like Botticelli’s Venus rising from the sea. Caitlyn Jenner gazes out from Annie Leibovitz’s July Vanity Fair cover, bare save for a satin bodysuit. Her auburn curls tumble over alabaster shoulders. Can she really be the avatar of personal freedom and self-expression the media claims her to be?
No, because the patriarchy always wins:
What of the millions of other 65-year-old women, whether born female or trans, who deserve attention? The millions of women who become invisible with age and could never successfully mimic a Kardashian (and would not wish to)? They remain offstage and out of mind, their own accomplishments unknown to us.
While the fanfare around the emergence of Caitlyn may advance our acceptance of transgendered individuals, it does so, in this case, at a price: the perpetuation, even celebration, of narrow and dehumanizing strictures of womanhood sustained by the fashion and entertainment industries. True liberation of gender’s vast spectrum should ask more of us than that we simply exchange one uncomfortable, oppressive identity for another.
Caitlyn is still in chains! That didn’t last long.
Notice how the Times contributor, a Princeton professor named Rhonda Garelick, got to praise Jenner as a “hero” while still throwing feminist shade. Neat, that. But I have to say that Garelick has a point. Jenner is 65 years old. You know what would have been
truly more courageous? If he had chosen to live looking like an ordinary 65-year-old woman.