Caitlyn Jenner: a misguided choice for Woman of the Year

Megan Burnett

A few weeks ago, Glamour magazine named Caitlyn Jenner one of their 25 “Women of the Year.” Jenner accepted the award for “Transgender Champion” at Glamour’s Women of the Year awards Nov. 9.

While I know there are many more pressing issues in the world, as a woman, I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of offense when Jenner was given these awards.

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Caitlyn Jenner has publicly identified as a woman for about half of a year now. In that time, she has received numerous commendations and praise from the media. Good for her for coming out in a world where transgender people aren’t as welcomed as they should be. However, I have beef with the fact that she has just won an award for women when she has lived the vast majority of her life as a man.

Based on feminist ideology, this award should be outrageous. An individual who has enjoyed 65 years of being male in a “man’s world,” suddenly identifies with a new gender and receives commendations representing a lifestyle which Jenner has never truly experienced.

Logically, feminists should be more upset about this than they seemingly are. Jenner has never known what it is like to give birth or feel unsafe walking alone at night. She gained so much fame as an athlete back in her Olympic days, even making an appearance on a box of Wheaties (no small feat for a woman athlete born biologically female).

Because of this, Glamour’s nomination of Jenner for Woman of the Year seems more like a publicity stunt than anything. It reminds me of an episode of “Parks and Recreation” in which Ron wins a woman’s award for the work that Leslie did — the organizer of the Pawnee Woman of the Year awards later admitted that they nominated a man to receive the award because it attracted more publicity. Kudos to the writers of “Parks and Recreation” for predicting a media event years in advance.

I would also argue that Jenner is not the best advocate for the transgender community, as she is known for some hurtful comments against the LGBTQQA community. Jenner told Ellen DeGeneres that she believed “marriage is between one man and one woman” — ironic for someone who identifies as a woman, but who has had several marriages to other women. Her attitudes toward the LGBTQQA community are often confusing and contradictory, and I would not consider her a strong supporter of the cause for equality.

Although I wouldn’t consider the Glamour awards as anything really prestigious, their commendation of Caitlyn Jenner is a bit misguided. Perhaps a better choice would be the first two females ever to make it through the Army Ranger training program — Capt. Kristen Griest and First Lt. Shaye Haver. These two amazing women literally broke through the glass ceiling earlier this year, joining the ranks among a historically male-dominated program.

Until Caitlyn Jenner can make a real impact on women’s progress, I won’t believe she is deserving of an award made for women who have lived their whole lives as such.

Collegian Columnist Megan Burnett can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @megsb27.