Blog Post 5- Caitlyn Jenner Transformation- Heba Malik

I have explored the concept of intersectionality in the past, and I find the inclusion of categorization as a means for control. Once categories begin to exist, it becomes possible to hierarchy to take place. A category of people who are stronger may claim to be better than a category of people who are weaker. It is human nature to want power and control, especially for men, as has been evident throughout history. Patriarchy is inherently a byproduct of the creation of the categories of men and women. Through the separation of people with different genital organs, it becomes possible for one group to claim power or that they are superior in some way. At the end of the day, men and women are just people. The categories of men and women are just subcategories of people, and in this way, a branching tree of categorical groups exists in society, with men asserting their superiority throughout the world. I find the categories to be varied in nature and as they all are interconnected in one way or another, in my mind, a highly convoluted, branched, almost hierarchical system, resembling a tree, arises. This tree of social categories must have a trunk. I believe the crux of the categorical system to be an inherent need for one to create categories in order to elevate oneself, with respect to any social categorization, as this is human nature to do so. Regardless of how many categorizations occur nowadays, the branches of the tree are highly convoluted, and many overlap and depend on each other.

In order to understand the interdependence of such groups, we first must examine contemporary society, and find examples of this interconnectedness, which ultimately lead to discrimination. A highly trending and sensational event that has taken place this year is the transformation of Bruce Jenner into Caitlyn Jenner. She was born biologically as a male; however, after 65 years she decides to undergo a feminization surgery and begin to claim that she is a woman. She says, “People look at me differently. They see me as this macho male, but my heart, my sole, and everything that I do in life, it is part of me…that’s who I am.” She understands the criticism that followed her decision to identify as a female, yet it does not faze her. She knows who she is, and that being a woman is part of her life. Regardless of genetics, or societal groupings, Caitlyn knows what she is. With the current societal groupings of men and women and that of heterosexual or homosexual, it is nearly impossible to group her into just one of these categories. The line separating these groups fades away, as Caitlyn transforms from her biological body, into her “true” body, which she feels is a representation of how she feels inside. She says, “No, I’m not gay. I am not gay,” regardless of society’s assumption that identifying as a woman would automatically mean that Caitlyn would begin to be attracted to men. This is an unsubstantiated assumption that many people believe in because of their narrow-minded view upon the system of categorization. These individuals do not attempt to understand the concept of interconnectedness, and just try to lump Caitlyn into one category or another. In a scenario like this, there is no one category. There is a complex underlying connection between gender roles, sexual orientation, and other social means of categorization, which eludes most individuals.

Moreover, Caitlyn also says, “sexuality is who you personally are attracted to…But gender identity has to do with who you are as a person and your soul, and who you identify with inside, okay.” She understands the necessity of taking into account one’s introspective view and understanding of oneself when attempting to define in terms of societal views. Sexuality is dictated by whom you are attracted to, and just because one chooses to identify as a woman, that does not necessarily mean that the initial categorization of attraction towards a gender must change. Gender and sexuality do not operate under the means of causation; one does not necessarily lead to a change in the other. Instead, one’s innermost understanding of who one is, becomes the most important factor to consider when attempting to conform to societal definitions. The category of transgender has been debated in many cultures, and is seen as a lesser group of individuals in many instances. By grouping Caitlyn in this category, one begins to belittle her transformation by forcing the label of transgender upon her. Why must we continue to act in such a way, and find reasons to steer public opinion towards a certain side? Why must we fail to accept that Caitlyn is a human being, and not every other category and group she has been put into by society is a reflection of who she is on the inside? All groups are, in the end, interconnected. At the end of it all, human beings is the only grouping that should hold any weight. Caitlyn Jenner is a symbol of the movement to change public views towards acceptance and understanding, while eliminating discrimination due to societal, social categorizations.

 

Bruce Jenner: “I’m a Woman”

Bruce Jenner: “What Did He Know”

Gender Identity Versus Attraction: ‘It’s Apples and Oranges’ Says Bruce Jenner

What Makes a Woman

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