It's Like a Bloody Car Crash...

You don't want to look, but you just can't turn away.

Reality TV and gender studies have collided in the "transitioning" body of Caitlyn née Bruce Jenner, and thus trash TV has invaded my thoughts. Being a good liberal social justice warrior, I support Caitlyn's right to live any way she chooses, including Photoshopped up the wazoo, in heels and a padded bra, with her dick tucked delicately between her smoothly waxed thighs. (Or are those real fake boobs and is the penis already gone? Nobody seems to want to ask those indelicate questions, and I suppose it doesn't really matter to anyone but Caitlyn.)

But I think that as a good feminist, I also have to explore the motivations of any person who would have his or her body replumbed because of an inflexible definition of gender. What does it say about the current notion of gender that a growing number of people are going though major surgery and a lifetime of hormone therapy to make their bodies an ersatz version of their mental gender identity? What does it mean to Caitlyn to now be a woman?  What could she NOT do as a man that is now possible as a woman? The analogous question applies to female-to-male gender reassignment. What did Chaz née Chastity Bono gain by becoming a "man"?

I would have hoped that the 21st century "trans" would be short for transcending gender stereotypes rather than transition from one physiological gender to the other.

Let me be clear: if being Caitlyn makes her happy, Caitlyn she will be. But I'm still not following her on twitter because becoming a woman and a transgender role model didn't stop her from being an obnoxious, distasteful media whore.

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