The human word is a mess

I believe the truest line in Disney’s The Little Mermaid was, as the title of this blog post suggests, “The human world is a mess.” (Thanks for holding it down Sebastian.) Last night when I was working on ideas I wanted this post to be about how we’re treating Caitlyn Jenner on social media. I understand that celebrities are in the public eye and held to different standards, but I have never fully agreed with that because celebrities are people too. Throughout the night and into the morning I was thinking about body transformations that we have probably all questioned at some point. Some of the ones I came up with are:

1. Michael Jackson

2. Jesus Christ

3. Ariel (The Little Mermaid)

We all had skepticism, we all discussed the plausibility of these things, we all had our own way of dealing with the reality of these (yes, I know the last one is a cartoon). But above all, what I realized is that if any of these people were your friend before they decided to change their appearance what would you do? You would probably be hurt that someone you were so close to wasn’t happy in their body. You would probably be hurt that someone you were so close to wasn’t happy in their body.

Would you support a friend or family member who was unhappy in their body through their transformation? Not all of us would, but many of us would. So why can’t we do the same for Bruce Jenner through his transformation to Caitlyn?

I’ll be honest, my first thought when I saw the new Caitlyn was “I never thought Bruce was that attractive, but in only two months and lots of plastic surgery she looks great.” Now, in this case, I think money really did buy happiness. However, we’re shitting on that by name-calling and finger pointing. As a woman in a male-dominated field, I know all too well that there are issues women deal with that shouldn’t exist. I know there are assumptions that aren’t true and archaic beliefs that have persisted. So do I think this will be an easy road even without how rude we are about changing what we see on the outside? No. That said, why should we make it worse?

Another thing I thought about, specific to celebrities, was the reaction people had to Robin Williams’ death. People didn’t (publicly) curse him and say he was going to hell for committing suicide because society has moved beyond that. People were sad that he felt alone in this world. What if he had felt alone in this world because he believed he should have been born with a v where he had a p? What if that is true for someone else who, instead of having the confidence and money to change their appearance, takes their own life instead?

I’m not saying you have to like the choices Jenner made. I’m not saying you have to support them either. I am saying that whether you support them or not you should think carefully about discussing your opinions with the public. All these posts I see on social media bashing the decision may not even be hurtful to the target, but they are probably reaching someone who doesn’t have the confidence to stand up and say who they feel they are and you’re pushing them further into a hole.

As I said earlier in this post, if this was a close friend or family member at the very least I hope you would try harder to understand, even if it was difficult for you. If this person had chosen to commit suicide instead of change who they were and you never knew why, you would be filled with nothing but sadness and pity. So let’s just clean up the mess we’re perpetuating with all kinds of posts. Society has already come so far from where it used to be in accepting people who are “different.” Different in terms of sex, color, ethnicity, gender, etc. We are so much better. So let’s continue to get better.


Published by She Got The PhD

A web-based soapbox of an Assistant Professor of color in Chemical Engineering; sharing my feelings on books, academia, and current events. I hope you enjoy reading :)

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