2015 has been an amazing year for equality in a lot of ways. For instance, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is a basic human right, and the topic of sexism in Hollywood has come to the forefront.
We’ve taken huge strides in the way we report about both sexuality and female celebrities this year, and that’s definitely something to celebrate. That’s not to say we still don’t have a long way to go, but popular hashtags like #AskHerMore and #LoveWins prove the general public is shifting its consciousness.
Few people probably feel the shift more than Caitlyn Jenner. Jenner went from being the victim of heinous gossip rag headlines before going public with her transition to having her appearance constantly praised in just a couple months’ time.
Even In Touch magazine, who famously put a horrible photoshopped picture of Jenner on its cover before she had the opportunity to address her transition, has recently published articles titled “Caitlyn Jenner looks lovely in lace during New York trip” and “Caitlyn Jenner steps out in in a sexy LBD — See it from every angle!” on their website.
While it’s refreshing that the media has done a complete 180 on the way they are talking about Jenner in that topics have gone from cruel to fawning over her beauty and fashion choices, it’s possible we’ve overcompensated and are about to do a 360. If Jenner’s looks become the essence of her importance, we’re in danger of ending up in the exact same narrow-minded, bigoted place that we started.
We’re becoming so engrossed in embracing Jenner’s new physicality that the focus has become blatantly sexist.
The 2015 awards season brought us amazing, empowering speeches from the likes of Patricia Arquette and Jessica Chastain. Female celebrities finally started taking a stand and calling out reporters for the superficial questions they were asking women on the red carpet, while men were asked to tackle deeper topics. We began to take notice when shallow headlines about a woman’s weight or clothing went viral, and spoke out against them.
Why do these new rules not apply to Caitlyn Jenner? Are her shoes and her clothing more important than the fact that she’s serving as a role model for people all over the world who have struggled and feared being true to themselves? Does her makeup-free face and the fact that she drinks champagne now instead of beer deserve more attention than her stance against bullying?
And yes, there will be the people out there who will take the “she wanted to be a woman, so she asked for it” stance, but it’s seriously doubtful that Jenner went public with her transition for the sole reason to be objectified.
Our society really seems like it wants to change for the better, so it’s frustrating to see the media taking a step back in time. We need to #AskHerMore and we need to focus on other issues concerning Jenner instead of honing in on her looks. We need to probe into things like the changes she feels on the inside, how she feels about positively influencing other people and what she thinks about the fact that she’s been a vehicle for social change.
If we don’t, it’s just a new day, same old sexism.