Stop Talking About Bruce Jenner’s Body
Sunday’s Golden Globes was historic: Transparent, the groundbreaking Amazon show, won Best TV Show (Musical or Comedy), the first time that a program that depicted trans lives in a realistic and profound way ever won such an award. This was a huge turning point for Hollywood…at least for a couple of days.
Then, InTouch Magazine published this atrocious cover of Bruce Jenner’s face superimposed on a female body:
Of course, the interwebs blew up after the picture was published: #BruceJenner was trending, and InTouch started getting a lot of heat for what was obviously a Photoshopped image. This didn’t stop them from posting a later piece, “Bruce Jenner’s Transformation: Family Guy Called It First.” Several other publications jumped on board, publishing extremely insulting photos of Jenner. The worst one I’ve come across is from Radar Online, titled “Long Locks, Luscious Lips, and Shaved Legs: Bruce Jenner’s Top TRANSformative Moments,” where editors call Jenner an “average basic bitch.”
Let’s state the obvious here:
1. All of these “articles” are transphobic. Obsessing on a person’s physical appearance essentially fetishizes the trans community. Even worse, by Photoshopping the InTouch cover, calling Jenner’s body “shocking,” the editors are focusing on the physical elements of gender instead of the entire person.
2. Bruce Jenner hasn’t even come out yet. So far, all of these tabloids are running off rumors and photos (and we’ve seen what Photoshop can do). Even if we believe the pictures that are leaking on the Internet of Jenner’s physical changes, it may not be a result of transitioning: Jenner might simply be obsessed with plastic surgery (remember Michael Jackson, anyone?). It’s a fallacy to assume one is trans just because their physical appearance does not meet the societal standards.
3. Stop talking about people’s bodies, period. As I suggested earlier, the obsession over Jenner’s body is downright voyeuristic. Yes, Jenner is a public figure, but focus on the physical is exactly the problem that trans individuals have been battling for years. There is still such misunderstanding about trans health in the public eye that the obsession on trivial physical traits (“He’s wearing Spanx,” suggested Radar) is not just degrading: It is dangerous.