Bruce Jenner brought some measure of shame on manhood. From the cover of Wheaties to the cover of Vanity Fair is, after all, a meteoric fall (or rise depending on your perspective). It was partly intentional since he insists his manhood has been a lifelong ruse anyway. In any case, he has certainly given new voice to the age-old “gender war.”
It’s not, however, a war between the genders but against gender itself. The battle of the sexes has spawned a new skirmish: the gendered vs. the ungendered. The new competitor wears a 36D and extra-large cup. This shameful mongrelization of gender only dehumanizes us.
Caitlyn Jenner has become another sort of “American Champion.” Efforting to advance the feminist cause she has only weakened it. She has not championed womanhood, but cheapened it. In playing Diane Sawyer’s ace she actually overplayed her hand. She triumphantly crossed the finish line but ran the wrong race.
Caitlyn assumes womanhood can be manufactured with cleavage and corset. Even (or especially) genitalia is irrelevant. She’s Caitlyn from the waist up but Bruce from the waist down. The best of both worlds is actually the worst of all worlds. Not so much transgendered, but ungendered.
Take some pills, don a push-up bra, slip into slinky silk, paint the lips and voilà, call me woman. If womanhood is the 1500 meters then Caitlyn cheated by shortcutting the track. She wants all the glory of womanhood without enduring the very (oft painful) things that make it glorious. It’s a counterfeit glory. Bruce earned his gold medal, but Caitlyn stole womanhood right out from under our nose jobs. While we were keeping up with the Kardashians Bruce was robbing us blind.
As feminists fight the objectification, devaluation and exploitation of women, Caitlyn set them back a few lengths. To be called Caitlyn she must first become eye candy to prove her womanhood. That’s not courage. It’s cowardice. Far more vanity than fair.
Womanhood is infinitely greater than Caitlyn’s costumed version. And most women know that. They are more than the sum of their parts. Womanhood is not less than genitalia and biology, but it’s certainly more. Let’s hope Caitlyn trades her gold bustier for Bruce’s gold medal again. In the meantime, I’ll tell my son to eat his Wheaties and my daughters to run like the women they are.
Your adornment must not be merely external–braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God (1 Pt 3.3-4).