“Good for him.”
That’s it. That’s all that needed to be said about Bruce Jenner’s transition into a heavily photoshopped woman.
I’m not saying that I agree with it — truth be told, the whole thing creeps me the hell out — but it’s simply none of my damn business what the newly minted Caitlyn does with herself.
So I’m going to say it again, this time with the proper pronoun:
Good for her. And now, there is nothing more that needs to be said about Caitlyn Jenner.
Unfortunately for everyone who’s already sick to death of this story, I fucking love this story. Why? Because the stories we tell reveal a lot about the people telling them.
There was a fairly large kerfuffle surrounding Bruce/Caitlyn’s “courage”, for instance. A lot of people resent having that word used to describe his/her journey, angrily insisting that the troops are brave and that Bruce/Caitlyn is “a science experiment”.
My problem is that the people taking issue seem to have forgotten that words can have multiple meanings. We seem to instinctively understand that a lit match, a chili pepper, and a woman can all be “hot”. In fact, even when you stick with a single definition for a word, the varieties of ways you can use it are simply astonishing. There are a lot of things you might find “hot” in a person: someone might be physically beautiful, extremely skilled, or just really great at taking a punch.
(Remember, ladies: overachieving is possible!)
Saying that one girl is hot because she has a pretty face doesn’t mean that the (objectively average-looking) thot giving you the sex eyes from across the bar isn’t also hot. They’re simply hot in different ways, and here’s the important part: neither objectively invalidates the other.
I understand the emotions that this story brings up – however briefly, I’ve felt everything from pure revulsion to utter indifference. The thing I quickly came to terms with is that this story has ABSOLUTELY NO BEARING ON MY LIFE. Much like gay marriage, this shit isn’t going to become mandatory.
(Pictured: Theon Greyjoy. Not Pictured: Theon’s penis, your future.)
Nobody is saying that the troops aren’t brave. They are, and nobody should argue otherwise because then they’d be wrong. However: arguing that the only “real” bravery is the kind earned in combat is a painfully stupid, narrow-minded, and counterproductive way to prove a point. Unless there’s a verse about the time Jesus went spear-to-spear with a centurion or two, this means that many people are literally calling their savior a pussy.
The reason that people are arguing about what constitutes real bravery is that we are all still fundamentally insecure about sex. If we weren’t, this story would have never stuck around – the only reason most naysayers care enough to comment is that something about the story makes them uncomfortable, so they want the story (and everyone reacting constructively) to go away so that they don’t have to look at or think about it.
To be clear, I’m sure that you, personally, have nothing to be insecure about. You are a totally normal, well-adjusted human being… except for that weird stuff you’re into. What’s up with that? I seriously wouldn’t have figured you for one of THOSE people.
About a third of you just reflexively cleared your browser history. We’ll catch the rest of you perverts in the act eventually, but fortunately for those of us still reading, this kind of insecurity has been going on for-fucking-ever.
If there’s one thing we know about ancient Greece, it’s that they were buggering little boys thousands of years before the Catholic Church made it cool. They were the hipsters of gay pedophilia, and it was such an integral part of their society that having a successful older man rape your son was both a rite of passage for the kid and a badge of honor for your family. The ancient Greeks were so into prepubescent boys that their standard of beauty explicitly favored teeny-tiny tallywhackers.
I would argue that that’s weird.
Unfortunately for the minority of individuals who don’t see beauty in the dicks of children, the pedos have tradition on their side: apparently the gods are kid-diddlers, too.
It’s said that at least some of the gods were involved with Cyparissus, who you probably already guessed was a young boy. I won’t go into detail, partly because what kind of tree he turned into has long been lost to history, but mostly because it’s not terribly relevant. All we need to know is that it’s a story in which one of the male gods seduces a young boy who later cries (but for a totally unrelated and stupid reason). Normally the buggery is attributed to Apollo (who is definitely bisexual if he isn’t actually gay), but exactly which god was involved varies from region to region.
Normally when a story has variations, the god that the myths are actually *about* is pretty set in stone. The details about what happened, where it happened, or which minor characters were involved are all up for debate, but almost never is there legitimate confusion over which god takes center stage.
This leads me to believe that the whole myth was either entirely created by or selectively edited by the ancient Greek equivalent of NAMBLA.
Remember that timeless sexual insecurity I mentioned earlier? The only thing that we can count on staying the same across all of human history is that we’ve arbitrarily decided that X and Y are normal, and literally everything else is “deviant”. There are always people who do what they want regardless, but for the most part people live within the confines of whatever we randomly decided would be normal this century.
In an alternate timeline, this is “business casual”.
If you find it hard to believe that our innate insecurity might cause us to simply accept pederasty as normal, it’s because I haven’t explained it yet. Children come into this world knowing absolutely nothing, and everything they learn about who they are and what’s expected of them comes from the adults they encounter. Their first group identity comes, unsurprisingly, from their gender. Kids learn early on that boys do this, wear this, and aspire to this while girls do, wear, and aspire to that. Playing with dolls is something girls do, and any boy caught doing it invokes the wrath and ridicule of his peers.
Strangely, this self-identifying takes place at a developmental stage in which gender is defined more by gender roles than by actual physiology. Children do learn that boys and girls come equipped with different plumbing, but because they aren’t yet sexually aware, it’s a fact that doesn’t really hold any special significance for them. If a group of boys happens to include a particularly tomboyish girl, she’s in for a decade or more of them occasionally (and legitimately) forgetting that she’s female.
If watching way too much anime has taught me anything, it’s that, as a teenager, she’ll finally confess to the lifelong crush she’s had on one of the boys, who (to her great annoyance) will still see her as nothing more than a guy with great tits. She’ll get really angry and hilarity will ensue.
But that points exactly to the source of our sexual insecurities: after spending over a decade primarily in the company of one’s own gender, we’re suddenly compelled to talk to the OTHER one (which might as well be speaking a different language). Our sexuality starts dawning on us at a time when we like to think that we have everything figured out. Teenagers know everything except that they don’t actually know anything, so when suddenly they have a brand new set of physical and emotional variables to contend with, the ones with the most success are usually the ones who bluff their zit-covered faces off.
The very last thing a teenager wants to do is ask questions about sex, because that implies that they don’t know, and pretending that they know is the only way that her pants came off to begin with. Unfortunately, this means that the conversation about what’s “normal” happens completely inside of one’s own gender, and since nobody ever exaggerates or lies about their conquests, this is an absolutely perfect solution.
…except that it’s not, because even if that was true, it completely ignores the fact that nobody is cross-referencing things with the other gender, who you might remember are the very people you wanted to do sex with.
So, what does this have to do with pedophiles? Well, the primary targets of pederasty were young males who were just about to start unraveling the mystery of morning wood. Girls are the ones making them feel things they’re not accustomed to, so their only option is to talk to older men, who you’d assume would have their shit together and more than a few helpful stories to tell.
I hope you see where this is going, because I’d really rather not have to type it out.
After generation after generation of victims perpetuated that initial abuse, what we’re left with here in the future is a series of diminutively membered statues and a well-deserved revulsion to the very idea of someone banging kids.
It’s really easy to unpack a story when the person telling it has an obvious agenda, like the ancient pederasts we just got done talking about, but what about when a motivation is slightly harder to pin down? Well, that brings me back to Bruce Jenner.
Just so we don’t backtrack: Bruce/Caitlyn is brave, and if there’s any kind of demand for it, I promise to come up with an experiment that will prove it to you. What you’d learn in that experiment is that everything about Bruce’s transition into Caitlyn spits in the face of our earliest group identity, and so you see men (let’s be real, that’s who the problem is) reacting the same way they reacted when Timmy was playing with his damn dolls.
I hope I don’t have to tell you that all of that wasn’t really what made me love this story. All of the above stuff is true, but it was little more than a stepping stone that allowed me to get us to this point here.
Unfortunately for fans of rational discourse, the presence of a few actual bigots commenting on the story caused the so-called “tolerant” world to run afoul of the oft overlooked “fallacy fallacy”.
To put it plainly: just because someone is being an asshole doesn’t mean that they don’t have a point.
Most of the people who I saw complaining about the story weren’t doing so because they were bigoted, but because they were frustrated that this inconsequential bit of trivia dominated every form of media for over a week. There *were* bigots, of course, but because they were the ones complaining the loudest, everyone else who bitched about it sort of got lumped in with them.
Actual fucking news went on that week – I remember seeing a headline in a local paper about the militarization of the police force, but nothing at all about it on the internet. Given the recent string of atrocities committed by police against American civilians, why the fuck did we not hear about this?!
I’m not arguing that all police are assholes, partially because I know a few good people on the local police force, but mostly because I enjoy not having my life made unlivable by some of their Cro-Magnon coworkers. The public is paranoid about the police, so why in the clear blue fuck was this story stuck in the local paper?
Look: when I come home from work, there’s a good 80% chance that I’m going to immediately pass the hell out for about four hours. Why? Because I’m tired. When I eventually wake up, I’ll eat and then I’ll usually amuse myself with something trivial, like a new Skyrim mod that replaces all of the dragons with Thomas the Tank Engine. Why?
(Because it’s goddamn hilarious, mostly.)
If I’m being honest, it’s primarily because I don’t always have the energy to do things that require thought. Point is that I can’t claim to be better than anyone who just wants to enjoy their mindless entertainment without being a huge hypocrite.
I’m going to risk it anyway, because this is goddamn important: there is some terrifying shit going on in the world, and instead of being aware of it, we’re obsessing over whether or not Caitlyn Jenner is going to keep her balls.
Again, that’s fine. Living your whole life stressed and paranoid is unhealthy, so let nobody shame you for the occasional Netflix binge or news story that isn’t news. What’s NOT fine is getting mad when people tell you to shut the fuck up about your bullshit so that they can put their ear to the ground.
So Bruce Jenner is now Caitlyn. That’s awesome. Good for her. Now, just maybe, let the rest of us get on with our lives.