Writer Nicole Russell eloquently summed up Glamour magazine’s 2015 choice for Woman of the Year when she stated, “By choosing Jenner as woman of the year, Glamour endorses the idea that men are better at being women than we are.”
This eye-opening statement draws to the forefront a question that many may view as being inflammatory, discriminatory, taboo or simply off-limits. Does transgender status override the biological sex assigned at birth?
Please allow me to ease your troubled mind and calm your rising temper. By no stretch of the imagination is this article condoning or condemning one’s sexual choice, classification, behavior or practice. I am merely asking a question concerning the legitimacy of some of the recent decisions made within society as a whole, while using Glamour magazine’s latest public assessment as a background.
In defense of Glamour’s controversial selection, some argue that Jenner has not only given a voice to the transgender community, but may have also saved lives. I do not pretend to know the struggle the transgender community must face on a daily basis. I cannot imagine the internal and external obstacles in life that must be navigated in hopes of creating a sense of normalcy.
However, anyone selected, as either man or woman of the year should first have made a monumental contribution to the lives of those that he or she is representing before receiving such an accolade. In the words of Dr. Thomas D. Williams, “What in the world has Jenner done in the past year — other than get a makeover-that qualifies him as a model for achieving women around the world?”
I am not questioning Jenner as a person. I am questioning his accomplishments as they relates to the fight for justice and equality for women. I have watched countless women struggle to overcome social barriers in hopes of creating a better life for future generations and Jenner’s nomination as Woman of the Year is a preverbal insult to them; as well as to many other powerful and influential women who have shattered the glass ceiling and made tremendous strides in a male-dominated environment.
Great women like First Lady Michelle Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Philanthropist Melinda Gates, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, General Motors CEO Mary Barra and Oprah Winfrey have all accomplished great strides in the pursuit of equality.
I cannot help but to mention great women like my mother, who worked tirelessly to build and maintain a stable family. I cannot forget about the stay-at-home moms and single parents struggling to make ends meet, but yet surviving. Against all odds, women all over the world have broken the stereotypical model of feminine behavior and have created their own destinies.
In light of this, it stands to reason that looking like a woman does not define who or what a woman is. According to writer Laura Meyers, “It’s what she does as a woman to overcome struggles of womanhood, to advance womanhood, to inspire womanhood, that deserves an award.”
Therefore, I humbly ask: Is Caitlyn Jenner truly the Woman of the Year?