Bruce Jenner, as a young man, embraced his natural gender, trained to build muscle and strength, became a professional athlete and Olympian and excelled to his full potential. He was awarded a gold medal for his achievements and cemented himself as a pop culture icon; a famous face of athletic achievement on Wheaties’ cereal boxes and a willing representative of masculinity.
As a father to some and step dad to others, he gained a great deal more fame surrounded by the brain dead kardashians, a group of spoiled rich people, who sadly captivated the public with their fake plastic faces, body parts and personalities. Sadly, the show is the perfect depiction of modern values: our greatly self-absorbed and materialistic society. We the audience created this new monster, some watching in awe of their carefree lives of fame and wealth, others like we are drawn to a train wreck: with morbid curiosity.
Jenner has now chosen to use his high-profile status as a platform to “out” himself as transgender. This does take great courage (but so does walking into a party wearing no clothes). And if his stance helps others struggling with gender identity then so be it. But there’s something unsettling about ESPN’s choice to give another award to Jenner, the now former male athlete who has publicly denounced his gender. The Arthur Ashe award should go to someone like the late Lauren Hill, a young basketball player who chose to raise awareness and money toward curing cancer while simultaneously battling the disease herself.
Bruce Jenner earned his awards, and along with them great fame and fortune followed; but he no longer exists. In his place is Caitlyn Jenner, a person who in time may become a champion for gender equality, but cannot divert back to Bruce and rely on his accomplishments; to earn true equality, she must do this on her own.