Vanity Fair’s Self-Defeating Jenner Photo

Vanity Fair
Vanity Fair

On Monday, Bruce Jenner announced that he wanted to be called Caitlyn Jenner in a photo spread for Vanity Fair. The now-famous photo featured Jenner, heavily made up, photoshopped, wearing a Trashy Lingerie-brand corset, splashed classical Hollywood ingénue-style across the cover. Media quickly compared Jenner with Jessica Lange and Geena Davis.

The photo itself seems a contradiction of the argument for Jenner’s gender redefinition. The notion that gender is completely fluid – that a man can become a woman and a woman can become a man – rests on the redefinition of maleness and femaleness into nothingness. The media insist that everyone use female pronouns to describe Jenner, who still has male genitalia, male genetics, and male brain structures. Presumably the media would feel the same even had Jenner not had massive facial reconstruction surgery or even hormone therapy.

Furthermore, the media claim that womanhood is completely disconnected from biology or what they term the societal construct of femininity. Women without breasts are still women; women without vaginas are still women; women without the genetics of women are still women. Linking stereotypical feminine beauty with womanhood is sexist; linking childbearing with womanhood is sexist.

In other words, gender does not exist apart from a society that defines it, in the view of the media and the left. Gender, it turns out, is all in one’s head, and therefore can be shifted at will.

Yet the photo of Jenner gives the lie to that notion. The photo is deliberately constructed to play off traditional notions of female beauty. The photo is a deliberate takeoff on the cheesecake photos of the 1950s. It’s intended not just to make Jenner into a woman, but a sexy woman ready to engage — hence the use of lingerie, even though Jenner has already said he doesn’t know whether he will choose to have sex with men or women or both or neither (another bizarrely accepted notion from the same folks who say that sexual orientation is inborn and never chosen). The picture does not depict the new Jenner in all his gender-fluid glory – it doesn’t show Jenner’s male crotch-bulge, or Jenner’s broad Olympic-winning physique (Jenner’s arms are conveniently placed behind the back, minimizing the arms and shoulders of the former gold medal-winner).

It turns out that when a pro-transgenderism magazine wants to convey femininity and femaleness, it falls back on all the same gender stereotypes Jenner is supposedly overcoming. It turns out, in fact, that in order for Jenner’s story to make any sort of sense – in order for a transition from gender to gender to be meaningful – there must be a Point A (male) and there must be a Point B (female). But that would require definition of Point A and Point B, any objective criteria of which would make transition from one to the other impossible.

Which, of course, it is. A male cannot magically become a female simply by injecting estrogen, reshaping the jawline, or inserting silicon beneath the skin of the chest. All of the straight male politicians and media members currently babbling on about how Jenner is a “she” ought to be asked whether they would now be capable of having sex with him. The answer, of course, is no – and the answer would be no different were Jenner to remove his genitalia.

Being a female is more than injections and plastic surgery, and even those who purport to believe Jenner is now a female recognize that, or hold the utterly incoherent position that genders are completely subjective and impossible to objectively define, but that we can objectively recognize transitions between them – and that those who refuse to submit to the delusions of the mentally ill must be denounced as intolerant and unscientific.

Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.


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