Conservative Christian blogger Matt Walsh (who you may remember for his recent, peculiar defense of the Duggars) is deeply offended — for women — when people refer to Caitlyn Jenner by her name. (That is, as a woman.)
Walsh starts by cautioning parents that the Vanity Fair issue featuring a “profoundly disturbing” cover of Caitlyn Jenner (whom Walsh consistently refers to as Bruce throughout) will soon be visible in the checkout. He quickly gets to a combination of faux concern and outright derision:
What he most closely resembles is a mentally disordered man who is being manipulated by disingenuous liberals and self-obsessed gay activists. Far from having the appearance of a genuine woman, he reminds me of someone who is being abandoned to his delusions by a culture of narcissistic imbeciles. I feel a great deal of compassion when I gaze upon this tragic sight — especially because post-op “transgenders” very often regret their decision, and in many cases attempt suicide — but few share my love or concern for him.
Indeed, Bruce admitted that after his “facial feminization” surgery he had a panic attack, looking in the mirror and asking, “what did I just do to myself?” We can only hope that these regrets don’t lead to further self-harm, as they have for so many men in his situation. I fear the worst, because Bruce is rushing the procedures so that his “transformation” coincides with the reality show they’re filming. Eventually the cameras will go dim, and Bruce will be stuck with what he’s done to himself. I pray for him when that dark moment arrives.
We’re only three paragraphs in, but the smug self-righteousness has already reached stomach-turning levels. Call me naïve, but if I were truly interested in the mental well-being of another person, I probably wouldn’t take to my keyboard to hammer out a public screed describing her as delusional, mentally disordered, and profoundly disturbing just to behold. If I was genuinely concerned that someone was making a choice she might come to regret, if I “fear[ed] the worst,” I would find some other way to express my “love” and “concern.”
But, of course, for all of Walsh’s lip service to love and compassion, this piece is about nothing of the sort. He may pepper his writing with self-righteous lamentations about “self-harm” and he may shed crocodile tears about fears of suicide attempts. But these ring incredibly hollow coming from someone who is actively, publicly demeaning and attacking the person he supposedly loves so much.
Walsh is, of course, far from done. Speaking of the new relationship between Caitlyn and her daughter, Cassandra, he writes,
… the two of them finally have a relationship. They “can just be girls together,” she reported. Cassandra apparently gave up on having a father, and has settled for a girlfriend to gossip with.
It’s just wrong. Disgusting, frankly. While I feel sympathy for Bruce’s psychological struggles, it’s selfish to do this to your children. First to take their father from them, and then to coerce them into dealing with such a devastating development in front of the whole world.
Aside from the assumption that “just be[ing] girls together” means gossiping (which, don’t forget, he’s saying because he’s so, so offended on behalf of women everywhere), this isn’t the language of love and concern, much less the concern of someone who is genuinely afraid another person might be driven to suicide. This is a straight-up attack on Jenner, on her parenting, and on her relationship with her daughter. And it’s all based on Walsh’s own biases.
After moving, without a hint of irony, on to ridicule the idea of Caitlyn’s public transformation entailing courage (I mean, it’s not like complete strangers are going to pour out hateful commentary and speculate, perhaps a touch too expectantly, on the odds that you might commit suicide… oh wait), he moves on to explain how “transgenderism kills feminism.”
Walsh envisions a “full fledged civil war in the progressive ranks” between feminists and LGBT rights activists, on the solid ground that feminists argue that women shouldn’t be defined by stereotyped ideas about a “woman’s brain” or appearance, but
… now, suddenly, emotions and looks define a woman so severely that a man can actually become one if he claims to experience feelings that he assumes are feminine?
The whole thing contradicts itself.
Except that, of course, it doesn’t. Caitlyn Jenner doesn’t claim to have magically become a woman after achieving a certain look; on the contrary, she speaks of having spent a lifetime hiding who she actually was, until now. Feminist arguments for inclusive beauty standards or arguments against stereotyped behavioral expectations don’t exclude certain women. They include all of them, including Caitlyn Jenner.
But now we get to the point referenced in the headline: what Walsh sees as Caitlyn Jenner’s “appropriation of womanhood, or worse, a degradation of it.”
Bruce Jenner in drag is not beautiful. Women are beautiful because they are women…
A woman is a woman not merely because of whatever cosmetic feature a man might vaguely emulate. A woman is a woman because of her biology, which Bruce does not share and never will. A woman is a woman because of her capacity to create life and harbor it in her body until birth, which Bruce cannot do. A woman is a woman because of her soul, her mind, her perspective, her experiences, and her unique way of thinking, of loving, and of being — all things Bruce can only mimic.
A woman is a woman. … She should not be told that it’s such a flimsy thing that a man with enough money can buy his way into it. It’s demeaning and reductive, and as a father and a husband and a son and a brother, I take exception to it. I can only imagine how women might feel if they were only allowed to be open about it.
It’s worth pointing out that not all women are able to become pregnant or support pregnancy, and all women lose that ability at some point or another; womanhood is not measured by child-bearing capability, whatever Walsh’s ideas on the topic.
But how is it demeaning that another human being finally achieves peace and feels free in her own skin? That’s a good thing. A beautiful thing. Further, it’s a thing that in no way negatively impacts women (or men), either individually or on the whole. So how is it demeaning at all to anyone?
I guess we’re left to wonder, because there really is no explanation.
Aside from coming to the rescue of the gossipy baby-makers, though, Walsh has a number of other issues with Caitlyn Jenner’s public debut. For one thing, he doesn’t like the way the public is reacting. Talk about a new Jenner is just nonsense:
You don’t get to have a “new” self or another self or a different self or a Self 2.0.
Unless, presumably, you’re “born again.”
But it’s more than there being no “new” you. It’s that too many people are just too danged nice about it. You see, they haven’t adopted the true measure of Christian love and charity that Walsh has.
In fact, it’s “so evil and so bizarre and so unthinkably ridiculous” that people can refer to a “new” Jenner that Matt Walsh literally-can’t-even, because it means that, well, the end is nigh…
If progressives can wield the power to demolish and remake even the definition of “man” and “woman” in their ideological image, then they have achieved a total and irreversible cultural victory. They have reached into the universe and reshaped reality itself. They have become gods, or at least that’s the kind of power we give them. You can blab on and on about economics and foreign policy, but if we live in a country where confusion, perversion, and self-worship reign supreme, what’s the point? America will already be dead.
It’s a curious mindset indeed that suggests accepting transgender people will be the death of society, but shaming, ridiculing, and denigrating them are marks of love and compassion. And it’s certainly a bizarre idea that closeting Caitlyn Jenner would somehow be good for other women.