Alright, I’ve been putting off saying this because, truth be told, I really didn’t like you guys.
I didn’t get the hoopla. I couldn’t fathom the obsession over this family – a family who monopolizes TV time and attempts to break the internet and stands front and center on every.single.magazine cover at the grocery store. This family who appears to be the very definition of “It Factor”, as no one seemed to have any discernible talent.
(I will pause here for any and every sex tape jokes you would like to make.)
But the unmerited attention has created a platform that we desperately needed. And – for that – I thank you. Thank you for being you. And I thank society for being weirdly obsessed with you.
Caitlyn Jenner has been one of the top stories for a little while now. She has been in the spotlight in a way that we have never seen before. It has forced people to open dialogues, to talk about something that people usually don’t talk about.
She’s not the first celebrity to come out as transgender. Chaz Bono, Laverne Cox… but the Kardashian empire has been unlike anything else. Bigger than the Osbourne family in the early 2000s. Bigger than even the Kennedys. The Kardashian family has been, for all intents and purposes, the royal family of America. We place a huge emphasis on what Kim & Kanye are doing, on Kylie Jenner’s life, on Khloe & Kourtney’s drama. The E! Channel is essentially the K! Channel. It’s enough to drive anyone who puts any thought into what celebrity and fame mean insane. It’s enough to make anyone cynical about where we direct our attention as a whole.
But I can’t hate anymore. We tuned in to watch a former Bruce Jenner reveal to the world that she was transgender. We flooded the social media world with Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair photoshoot. We commented on posts and commented on blogs and argued like crazy people. Some of the comments revealed some nasty, bigoted things that we didn’t even realize that our friends held in. Some of the comments revealed a surprisingly progressive mindset in others. And some of the comments revealed a willingness to keep an open mind, a willingness to consider something they had never even put thought into before.
There are plenty of people – especially those born within the last two decades – who have no clue who Sonny & Cher were. There are plenty of people who don’t watch Orange is the New Black, who would hear the name “Laverne Cox” and tilt their heads to one side in confusion. But, these days, everyone knows the Kardashian family. They are singlehandedly the most famous family on the planet. And, because of that, everyone knows not only about a transgender person, but of the struggles that person has gone through, living their lives the way they did.
So as CNN and Fox News continue to debate over Caitlyn Jenner – Jon Stewart uses the situation to demonstrate gender inequalities – as the world finally recognizes that transgender people are not second-class citizens, I have to give my thanks. Whether you meant to or not, you have created a platform that might change how we go about equality and acceptance.
So, seriously: thank you. Now have fun breaking the internet again with whatever hijinks you’ve got going on today.