Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Monday, June 1, 2015

Shakespeare, gender identity, and Caitlyn Jenner

We kick off the third summer of Shakespeare with a few thoughts about gender identity. Shakespeare wrote several plays where women masqueraded as men and of course, back in his time, all the female roles were played by boys, so it must have gotten a little confusing in there somewhere. Caitlyn Jenner is not the first celebrity butterfly to emerge from a chrysalis of gender and she won't be the last. (Chaz Bono--we have not forgotten your gender journey. You're a class act babe.)
My dislike for celebrity culture is pretty deep and the constant bombardment of Kardashian/Jenner trivia (effluvia) just makes me sad. But Caitlyn Jenner's emergence has opened a national dialogue on gender issues that will be far more useful in the long run than all the politically correct reminders about not using certain terms and slurs.
When Ellen DeGeneres came out ("Yup, I'm Gay"), it was huge because she was so warm and funny and so damn likable that people who would swear they didn't so a single gay person (oh, yes you do) could suddenly say, "Wait. I like Ellen. And she's gay. So...maybe it's okay." Not that anyone needs permission to live their lives but in the real world (where my gay little sister lived), living out and proud isn't always that easy.
I think Caitlyn Jenner's legacy is going to be less about the Olympic medals and much, much more about the way her life transformed the way people look at gender issues. I hope so anyway.   And omg, that Vanity Fair  cover photo by the ever-awesome Annie Leibovitz is stunning.

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