Dear Bruce Jenner/Caitlin Jenner and the rest of the world,
It’s not brave to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on cosmetic (read: unnecessary) medical procedures. Not in the common, modern-day definition of the word.
Let me stop you right now before you can call me a bigot, close-minded, hyper-religious or any of the other names being thrown around about anyone who dares to disagree with Jenner’s extravagant transformation. Because I’m not standing on my Christian faith to make this argument. I’m standing on my background as a wordsmith.
You’re using the word “brave” as an exact synonym of “courageous.” You’re saying that what Bruce Jenner/Caitlin Jenner did was defy some force of evil or otherwise put himself at risk for a greater, selfless good.
Which isn’t at all what he did. He spent who-knows-how-much money on himself to drastically change his physical appearance, then sold his time to the media (Vanity Fair, in particular), dressing up and posing in ways that indicate a woman’s greatest asset is her looks.
That’s not brave. That’s not courageous. That’s harmful. It’s playing into stereotypes, and encouraging a selfish attitude that says personal happiness is the end-all be-all in life.
I mean, there are children starving in Jenner’s own country, not to mention elsewhere in the world. There are organizations out there trying to teach young people how to survive and thrive in life, or assisting sexual abuse survivors, or providing college funding for the children of lost military men and women.
He could have donated to any of those causes. But he spent that exorbitant amount of money on himself, whether through his own funds or through his insurance. Either way, the doctors got paid and paid very, very well.
“But… but… but…,” you say. “It was necessary! She was a woman trapped in a man’s body! It was tearing her up inside!”
Ok. Let’s say you’re right there, in which case, let me give you a parallel.
I’m an insomniac. Big time. I’ve been one for the last eight years now, with trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep and all the other kinds of trouble that come with such disorders. Right now, it’s been especially bad to the point where I’m not sleeping much at all. Not when I’m supposed to, anyway. Instead, I’m nodding off at my desk and making major errors in my editing tasks.
Since everything else has failed to remedy my insomnia over the years – from prescription medication to aromatherapy to dieting choices to audio-therapy and everything in between – I could spend money to do a sleep study, which could very well improve my condition and make me a much happier person. That might be the wise choice. It might be the necessary choice.
But it isn’t a brave one. Because I’d be doing it for me and my own health, not some greater good.