There’s something that bothers me about Caitlyn Jenner, but it probably isn’t what you think.
As I look through the beautifully photographed Vanity Fair spread headlining “Call Me Caitlyn” and read all of the positive comments regarding the newly created Jenner, there is something on which I simply cannot avoid dwelling.
I understand that Jenner is quite outspoken about how Bruce’s identity was a lie and a facade. I can empathize with that desperate need for honesty, individuality, and freedom. It’s a desire deeply woven into all of us.
It is this search for identity and freedom that drove Jenner to become Caitlyn. It’s that same desire to find who we truly are that draws us to Jenner’s story. It’s this consumerist mindset about it all that concerns me.
I can’t help but look at the “before” and “after” photos of the Jenner transformation and see dollar signs. I can’t help but to not only put myself in Jenner’s shoes, but also to consider every single person looking to Jenner for inspiration. I can’t help but imagine that I am in a similar situation, and the thought kills me. I can’t help but to imagine searching for an identity and finding that the only way to truly become my true self is to fork over thousands of dollars and to buy my identity.
And then I realize….none of us have to imagine that at all.
Our society teaches us that our worth can easily be measured by what we can show those around us. We are told that our identity depends on what we smear on our faces or drape over our adequate or inadequate bodies. We are assured that identity is based almost entirely on who we appear to be.
My problem with Caitlyn is that she promises that we can be who we truly are as long as we are willing to buy it from someone. And that is a discouraging thought.