Snap Out of It: Turn Them Off If They Turn You Off!
by Elizabeth Skenes Millen
This editorial is not written to disparage Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner or his decision to become a woman, if that’s possible. (I believe there’s a whole lot more to being a woman than just having the parts. Pretty sure he still has a man brain.) I was happy not commenting until the media had to go and print that he is a hero. That’s where my moral compass draws the line. It seems that America needs a huge slap across the face to “Snap out of it!” just like Cher did to Nicholas Cage in the movie Moonstruck. (By the way, no one called Cher’s daughter a heroine when she had her change.)
As a reminder, a hero is defined in Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities” and “a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities.” What makes Jenner a hero? And, if he is a hero for having a sex change, is there a shortage of heroes in America?
Jenner is a former Olympian, who deserves respect for his athletic performance for our country, but would be all but forgotten if it weren’t for his Kardashian stepchildren and his own children being famous for being famous. (He is the father of six children and four stepchildren.) It has been since 1976—39 years— since he won gold at the Olympics. Most Americans would be hard-pressed to name one other 1976 Olympian.
In fact, people don’t even talk about Michael Phelps anymore, the most decorated Olympian of all time (22 medals), and he competed as recently as 2012—only three short years ago. But, as a young 20-something, Michael got caught smoking a joint at a college party and America decided he was a disappointment and wrote him off.
It’s interesting that we can’t tolerate a college dude smoking a joint at a party, but we exalt a husband and father when he decides to become a woman. Again, not blaming Jenner. He did what he needed to do for his mental stability, happiness and wholeness. And his situation has possibly increased tolerance and acceptance. However, it is the exalting from the media and many Americans that draws concern. Is he really your hero?
That is what some magazine covers are hawking to the millions standing in grocery lines across the country. I truly wish Jenner a great life and respect his courage to move in a direction most would fear, but I think even he would have to agree that he is not a hero. I can almost guarantee he wouldn’t wish his situation on his children.
How far does the media have to push to stop us all from numbly bobbing our heads up and down in agreement. Please, snap out of the media-induced trance. There are people doing courageous things everyday in every state across this country, but their acts of bravery don’t sell magazines or woo viewers, so chances are you will never hear about them. The result is things that aren’t mainstream—having a sex change isn’t mainstream yet, right?—become mainstream, which dangerously resembles brainwashing.
While I’m on the subject of the media, which includes Hollywood and all that goes with it, I have to slam this year’s MTV Video Music Awards (VMA). Let me preface this by saying that pop and hip-hop are my jam—that’s what I listen to, workout to, walk to, drive to, live to. So, I did not turn on the VMAs expecting Lawrence Welk or anything close. But, I do expect some class. You would think people who make millions of dollars would put out a little cash for charm school; possibly there’s no disposable income left after you sell your soul.
First of all, the show had to be on delay because Miley Cyrus, who was the hostess for the evening, is well known for dropping f-bombs and apparently can’t control herself. Here’s the way the producer should have handled that: Miley, you are getting paid a lot to host this show and we are allowing you to debut your new single as the finale. No f-bombs. Period. Got it? Her response should be, “Yes, M’am.”
Secondly, did Nicki Minaj actually have to engage in near miss sex acts with her dancers on stage? Come on Nicki, you're better than that. When did this become OK? What does it add? Animals do it in front of people—not people. Is my thinking archaic? Do we seriously want people just doing it anywhere, like on a grocery store isle, on hole number three at mini-golf or on a stage in front of millions of viewers? When Helen Reddy sang “I am women, hear me roar” this is not what she meant.
These female entertainers don’t realize the damage they are doing to our gender. Women have diligently worked for years to be respected as more than sex objects, and many of today’s singers are taking women back to little more than the oldest profession in the world. Women will never get respect if they don’t respect themselves. The phrase is “Stay classy” not assy. This isn’t a sexual revolution; it’s a female devolution.
I have to give Taylor Swift credit. She showed up looking fabulous. No gimmicks. She didn’t resort to barely covering herself to get attention (uh-uhm Miley). She didn’t go beyond third base (or even first) with a guy (or a girl) on stage to make people think she’s a good entertainer. Bottom line: She is the queen of the music scene—the highest paid, most successful entertainer alive today. One thought: You don’t become queen without being a lady. Plus, she had the best shoes of the night!
I am hoping that you understand the point here isn’t that Bruce, Miley, Nicki or the VMAs are bad. The lesson is for us on the sidelines, the ones who get lured to Pleasure Island and never speak up and say, “No! Enough is enough!” It’s hard to know how to be heard, but you can start by not buying, not listening and not watching. Turn them off if they turn you off! Here’s the juicy jewel: They need us to be successful. They forget that and so do we. I’m standing up for what’s right for me. Will you do the same? Now, there’s a change that will make a difference.