As you know unless you’ve been stranded in the middle of the ocean without cell phone reception for two weeks, Bruce Jenner said goodbye and Caitlyn Jenner said hello. Yes, Caitlyn with a C. More on that later.
Regardless of your opinion on the matter, this is a huge moment in history. And with huge moments come huge opinions (aka the best opinions). Your social circle may be celebratory about her decision, but you never know who you’ll find yourself sitting next to while you’re reading the VF story – especially if you’re in Central New Jersey when the magazine finally hit stands and take it with you to rural upstate New York where you intend to read it publicly, over and over and over again. There is nothing I love more than a divisive conversation, so here are a few kind and respectful responses to the various things you might hear people say when you say Caitlyn Jenner, Bruce Jenner or __________ Kardashian:
- Them: “I think he did it all for the publicity” (note: I have heard this said 25 times, at least)
- You: “She did it all for the publicity, and whether or not it was for publicity, money or the thrill of being on a VF cover doesn’t really matter if it helps people struggling with their gender identity feel more comfortable about the idea of transitioning.”
- Them: “You know he’s keeping his dick.” (note: I said this too…)
- You: “Technically we would say she is keeping his dick (right?), and yes, that is the current rumor. Gender and sexual desire are not the same thing so if Caitlyn wants to have sex with women using a penis, that is her prerogative. I’m not 100% sure what the terminology would be – lesbian? straight? gay? – but I don’t care and neither should you.
- Them: “And now he’s going to have another dumb TV show on E! That trivializes the whole thing!”
- You: Maybe. Or maybe it will be an honest look at his transition into her life that – though dramatic and over-the-top at times – helps people all around the country/world with their own struggles. Also, no one is making us watch it (though I am 110% going to watch it).
- Them: “I’m pissed that Caitlyn Jenner now stands for womanhood with her million dollar face and body.”
- You: “I get that, and I’m frustrated too. But remember, Caitlyn Jenner is one woman who feels one way. She doesn’t stand for all of womanhood. She doesn’t even stand for all transgender people. She is just saying – this is who I want to be, and now I am that person. Remember she is also a world class athlete (i.e. competitive and intense) who already has an insane reality show (i.e. love the spotlight). But most importantly, Isn’t feminism supposed to be about all woman getting to choose their own version of womanhood? Also, here is a great article about this specific line of thinking from The Times.
- Them: “Ugh I can’t believe Kimye, and specifically ‘Ye’ is going to come out of this a hero.” (I said this too…)
- You: I know… I don’t like Kim Kardashian or Kanye West either, and for 1,000,000 reasons. But for better or worse most of the world does love them, and now the fact that they have a step father/father-in-law that transitioned into a woman is going to help make that previously taboo topic more okay for their millions of otherwise close-minded fans. But yes, ugh, it’s still annoying.
- Them: “Can you even believe she went Caitlyn with a C?! Caitlyn even makes a hard C sound just like Kris, Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kendall and Kylie!! It’s such a slap in the face to Kris!”
- You: “Yes, I can believe it. In fact it might be my favorite part of this entire story. I don’t particularly like Kris or how she’s handled this whole thing, so slap-in-the-face away, Cait. But also you guys ROB KARDASHIAN IS A PERSON. ROB WITH AN R. And right now he is my second favorite of the family, next to Caitlyn-with-a-C, of course.