A Plea on Behalf of Caitlyn Jenner

Given the events of the past week, (I am of course, referring to the Vanity Fair cover photo of Caitlyn Jenner), I thought I would write about it in this month’s blog.   Since everyone has offered their two cents, I thought I might as well jump on the bandwagon and offer up my own.  After all, I tend to be very opinionated….

After the release of the aforementioned photo, I read a few positive comments.  Unfortunately, I’ve also read many comments that are openly hostile.  To those who have written these hateful things, I have to ask:  Does Caitlyn Jenner affect you or your family in some way that I’m not aware of?  Has she caused you some personal affront?  As far as I can see, all she’s done is come out publically (probably because she was hounded by the press relentlessly) with something she says she has struggled with and agonized over all her life.

One of the first posts I read about this topic was a comparison to Caitlyn’s courage with that of a soldier.  The gist of the article was informing the reader that Caitlyn should not be considered as having courage because courage is only displayed on the battlefield.

Merriam Webster defines courage as “the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.”

Read the definition again.  Does the definition tell us where courage can be displayed?  It does not.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I am thankful every day for our soldiers.  After all, it is because of them I can write this blog and have the freedoms I do.  Do I think these soldiers display courage?  You bet I do!  Every damn day of their lives!  Both on the battlefield and off.  My point is that courage can be displayed in many ways.

It can be displayed in the child who gets on the school bus every day despite being picked on.  The little girl who is in the hospital battling an illness.  A parent who makes the decision to go back to school, or even the son or daughter who decides to finally tell their parents they are gay.  In all of these situations, the person had to persevere and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.

Look, Mr. Iknowwhatcourage is:  Courage takes many forms and in no way does one form of courage take away from another.  There is not a limited amount of courage to go around.  And seeing all this hate spewing Caitlyn’s way, I’d have to say she’s got a lot of courage because I’ll bet she knew this would happen, yet persevered despite it.

Though I wonder if she knew how horrific the backlash would be.  How hurtful and vicious, and downright rude some of you would be.

Another article I read focused on the photo shopped quality of the Vanity Fair cover.  The author mentioned how Caitlyn was “dolled up in makeup and hair extensions, posing in a corset…his chest enhanced by hormone pills and silicone.”

Really, Mr. Ihatesiliconeandmakeup? Have you looked at a magazine lately? All of these items are routinely used in practically every magazine shoot and cover photo in an attempt to make women look more “real” or “normal” somehow.  This “normalcy” has resulted in a generation of women who are not satisfied with their own bodies because they are continuously measured up against these images.  Images, I might add, that are nearly impossible to achieve without starvation and all the items you mentioned with such disdain in your article.  Wake up, Sir.  No one looks like that.

Magazine covers are not, nor have they ever been, reality.   Yet those images are the standard we women are shown day in and day out at the “ideal”.  Sure, in those magazines, the articles talk about loving yourself no matter what you look like.  But what’s on the cover?  Some size zero photo shopped model who probably subsisted on water for days prior to the shoot.

And they still cut off a part of her thigh.

Photo shopping is the new norm!  And frankly, it’s really the only way to achieve the “ideal” look.  In fact, the photo shop trend is so mainstream that Aerie retail stores have based an entire marketing campaign on the fact that their models are not photo shopped.

And then there was the article that focused on the fact that Caitlyn experienced panic and regret after having facial feminization surgery.  This one might be my favorite.  This author was basically telling us that because she felt panic and regret, clearly she must have made the wrong decision.  I can’t help but wonder if people in this situation feel these things not because of the actual surgery, but because of the hatred that is hurled at them from every direction.

And here’s the other thing….I can’t think of a single life changing decision I’ve made where I didn’t experience at least a little regret and even more panic.  Aren’t those emotions normal?  For crying out loud, I experience regret after I place my order at the drive thru!  Did I want fries?  What about chicken instead of a burger….aaargh!!!!

I can only imagine the panic Caitlyn experienced (and probably will experience) along her journey.  So, Mr. I’veneverhadany regrets, good for you!  Apparently, you’ve never made a decision that concerned you in some way.  Maybe next time you write a blog, you can tell the rest of us how to do that.

And then there’s the guy who wrote about how disgusted he is because our government is falling apart, yet we’re all focused on Caitlyn Jenner.  I’d like to point out that simply by writing your blog about how disgusted you are with Caitlyn, you’re adding to her publicity.

Nicely done, Sir.

Let’s face reality here.  The media is going to print and show what we are buying.  Vanity Fair knew that putting Caitlyn Jenner on the cover would make people come out in droves for it.  Just look at the past few days.  How many times have you seen that picture of her come across your Facebook feed?  It’s supply and demand, folks.  Basic economics.  Millions of people want to see Caitlyn on the cover.  Not so many people would purchase the magazine if, say, the member of congress were on the cover.   Am I right?

And then there was the final straw today….

Someone has filed a petition to revoke the Olympic medal Bruce Jenner won in the 1976 Olympic games.

Are you kidding me?

At the time of games, Bruce Jenner (and I use the former name here because it is only now she wants herself referred to as Caitlyn) won that gold medal.  He didn’t use enhancement drugs or any type of steroid.  At the time, he was a man competing in a men’s event.  The petition is simply one person’s demonstration of hate and intolerance.  And for the record, the entire thing is completely unfounded and without merit.

At the time, Bruce, although he says he felt as though he was a woman, was not taking any hormone therapy to suppress his testosterone and begin the transition process.  If he were, in fact, doing this, he most likely would have lost the decathlon as the hormones would have put him at a severe disadvantage when competing against his male counterparts.

People have used the words perverted, disgusting, and devastating to name a few.  They’ve said he’s got psychological issues and speak to “

what he has done to himself.”

Frankly, these comments are hurtful and rude and those of you who make these statements are no better than the school yard bully.  Actually, now that I think about it, you’re even more cowardly because you’re saying them behind the curtain of social media.

Let’s remember that Bruce, ne Caitlyn, is someone’s brother or sister, son or daughter, father and friend.  How would you feel she was your son? Daughter? Brother? Friend?

So why doesn’t everyone reserve their hate for those who have done you some wrong.  Or, better yet.

Don’t hate.

Because that’s what this is.  Hate.  With a dose of fear of the unknown.  You can phrase it so that is comes across as concern for her but you’re not fooling anyone.  Those of you that speak ill of Caitlyn are afraid of that which is not known to you so your first reaction is to oppose it.    Cut it down.  Destroy it.  We fear that which we do not know.  I get it.

Now stop.

Choose your words carefully and your behaviors with even more care.  Caitlyn may someday be someone you know and love.  How do you want them treated?  What’s that saying?… Do unto others?

Caitlyn Jenner has enough to deal with without having to listen to all your holier than thou, I’ve never done anything wrong, I’m better than you negativity.

Just.  Leave. Her. Be.

Donna Small is the author of two novels, Just Between Friends and A Ripple in the Water.  Her third novel, Through Rose Colored Glasses, is scheduled to be released later this year.  You can purchase her books either on amazon.com or at Secondwindpublishing.com


Filed under writing

4 responses to “A Plea on Behalf of Caitlyn Jenner

  1. Just leave her be. How beautifully said.

  2. Yes, bullying has increased with the advent of social media. What ever happened to tolerance and understanding and minding one’s own business?

  3. Reblogged this on writermaribethshanley and commented:

    Donna Smalls’ piece is powerfully written. She makes a remarkable case for love and tolerance versus hate and fear. I applaud Ms. Smalls’ courage to write this wonderful piece!

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