Another blue dress from a street festival. I got this one at Italian Day on Commercial Drive a couple weekends ago, along with the green dress that I wore last week. The styles are similar, but different enough that I was fine with getting both. I really like this colour blue and the designs that are on this dress. It would’ve matched really well with the sweater I wore yesterday, but I didn’t want to wear the same sweater two days in a row if I could help it. Instead, I paired it with this brown cardigan that I got from Bryan’s at Lansdowne Centre, since there is also brown in the dress. My necklace is from Her Story Lockets and I got it at the PNE last year. I actually ran into the girl who runs that business during Car Free Day on Denman Street and she remembered me because I was such a loyal customer. My earrings are new, I got them at Car Free Day on Main Street on Sunday. My ring is from UBC and my bracelet is from Sears. And my nails are still looking good because I touched the up a little bit. I may end up wearing even more blue outfits this week, because it’s my favourite colour, but also because I want my clothes to match my nails. I guess purple would work too because they’re kind of purplish. Or you know, I’ll just wear a different colour entirely. Because really, who cares?
I remember reading some of the comments on an article about the interview, and someone had responded with “Who cares?” I generally don’t care about the lives of celebrities either, but this interview was so important for so many reasons. Many people do not have a clear understanding about issues like gender identity and sexuality. Watching the interview was very informative, and even more so because it came from a person who has lived it. I think Bruce did such a good job explaining the difference between sexuality and gender identity, stating that “sexuality is who you go to bed with, and gender identity is who you go to bed as.” I recall Diane Sawyer looking really confused about it, but having not seen very many of her interviews, I realize that could just be her natural facial expression.
Sometimes it’s difficult for me to realize that not everyone is as informed and educated about certain matters. I’ve taken Psychology courses and Gender Studies courses that deeply explored the topics of sexuality and orientation. I’ve watched TV shows and documentaries about these topics. I have friends and acquaintances who have different sexual orientations. It baffles me how things like same sex marriage are still illegal in many parts of the world. As society has come a long way in becoming more accepting of gay rights, the transgender community has not really received that same level approval. But I still found myself wondering why Bruce Jenner coming out was so shocking to so many people. Apart from the fact that it was him. Why is the fact that any individual comes out as transgender, such a big deal in 2015?
The reason I asked that question, is because Bruce Jenner isn’t the first celebrity to come out as transgender, although I think he is definitely the most famous person to do so publicly. My point is that it’s not something that’s new, even if many people may not be so knowledgable about it. I tried to think of other transgender celebrities. The main person who came to mind was Laverne Cox. I have never seen Orange is the New Black, since I don’t have Netflix. Tragic, I know. But I did see her on an episode of The Mindy Project and I loved her. But I don’t really know much about her, as I never heard about her coming out. When I first heard of her, she was already out, so there was no surprise. In terms of other celebrities, I thought of Chaz Bono. We heard all about it when he came out and transitioned. But I don’t recall any big memorable interview or anything. Nevertheless, it was still in the media, so anyone paying attention would have heard about it.
There was also a few years ago where there was a news story about a pregnant man. It was a female to male transition. Thomas Beatie was transgender, but had not had surgery, so was still able to have a baby. That was a big story for a while, but then everyone forgot about it. I remember watching a CSI episode several years ago, where the victim was transgender, and they explored the transitioning process and the surgery, and everything that was involved. I remember watching a documentary several years ago, about three people who were married with kids, who were coming out as transgender. I can’t remember which channel it was on, or how widespread it was broadcast, since they weren’t famous people. They were middle aged, but I think slightly younger than Bruce Jenner, and had come to the point where they didn’t want to hide who they were anymore. They were all male to female transitions. One of the wives stayed with her partner, saying that she had fallen in love with the person, not the gender. She joked with the interviewer that maybe people would consider her a lesbian now, since her husband had transitioned and they were figuring out their sex life.
In terms of sexuality, Bruce Jenner tried to explain to Diane how it was different from his orientation. There are questions that arise like are you gay and he explained that he has always been attracted to women. In terms of pronouns, Bruce has asked that we continue to use he and him, until he officially transitions and comes out as a woman. A lot of people have trouble with this and base the pronouns on whether you have a penis or a vagina. You have to take into account that a person’s sex and gender are two different things. When I was younger, I assumed that for a male to female transition, you would call the person he before surgery, and she after surgery, and vice versa. But this is not the case. Even if a person has male genitalia, if she identifies as a woman, you should use she. Unless, like in Bruce’s case, he has specifically requested a certain pronoun be used. Too bad we didn’t follow Sweden’s example and come up with a gender neutral pronoun. That would make things so much easier, not just regarding gender issues, but for language use in general.
Using the correct pronoun based on the gender a person identifies as is important, especially since not every transgender person decides to have surgery. Just as you would not ask a cisgender individual about what’s between their legs, it would similarly be inappropriate to ask this of a transgender individual. Unless you’re in a sexual relationship with the person, it doesn’t need to be a matter of discussion, unless it’s something that they choose to bring up.
I love that Bruce Jenner is able to acknowledge and appreciate the humour in the situation. He even acknowledges the irony that he, of all people identifies as a woman, since he’s regarded as the world’s greatest athlete, having won the decathlon in 1976. Many viewed him as this strong, macho man, and I guess that’s part of why it’s so surprising to so many people. He addressed the fact that people had speculated that this was all for publicity and to draw ratings for the show. He laughed at how utterly ridiculous those accusations were. As if he would really go through all this, just to draw in ratings.
He talked about when he was a child and growing up, and how this has been a part of him his whole life. When questioned about why he waited until now, at age 65, to finally come out, his main reason was that he didn’t want to hurt his family. He loves his children and didn’t want to do anything that might cause them to be hurt, which is totally understandable. Him deciding to come out in such a public way will hopefully help foster understanding and encourage other transgender individuals to embrace who they are and have the courage to come out without fear.
I remember reading one of the comments on one of the articles and someone asked will he have to give back his medals? Why? Why would he have to give back his medals? I see no reason for this. He competed and won, as a man. He wasn’t on hormones at the time. I wonder though, how they would handle a situation in the Olympics today, if a young transgender individual were to compete. What category would they be put in? Because with the Olympics and sporting events, it’s physical, and I assume the fact that there are separate categories for men and women, is due to the fact that we are physically built differently. If a person is built like a man, but identifies as a woman, which category would she compete in? There has always been such a gender divide in athletics, so I don’t actually know how they would address this if it were a person who, at the time of competing, was currently out as transgender. Bruce, at the time of his Olympic success, had the physicality of a man, even if he inwardly identified as a woman, so I see no issue with his win. Apparently they interviewed the Soviet man who he beat in the decathlon who is supportive and also joked about how he can’t believe he was beat by a woman. My first thought was, who cares whether or not that guy approves?
I remember Bruce Jenner saying that of his family, Khloe was the won who had the hardest time dealing with it, and I thought, who cares what Khloe thinks? But as her stepdad, I’m sure it meant a lot to Bruce. One of the most shocking things about the interview to me, was that Kanye West, of all people, was the one who helped Kim Kardashian accept Bruce Jenner’s coming out. I’m not a fan of either Kim or Kanye, especially not Kanye, since he always seems so arrogant and so full of himself. I mean this is a person who got mad at a guy in a wheelchair for not standing during one of his performances. Who knew he would actually say something good? I remember seeing a tweet from Perez Hilton saying that Kris Jenner refused to comment to ABC, and then Kris Jenner replied his tweet, getting mad at him and saying she was watching the documentary with Bruce at that moment. I’m not at all a fan of Kris Jenner. They showed some clips from the show, and there was one where she was getting mad at Bruce about the way he was dressed, and told him that he looked like a grandpa. And I thought, but, he is a grandpa… So what’s the problem? Maybe she seems overly nasty for the show, or maybe she’s even worse in real life? But it’s not about her, so who cares?
I know this has nothing to do with anything, but speaking of Bruce Jenner’s family, his son is kind of hot. Two of his sons, actually Brandon and Brody. But anyway, it’s so great that his family is so supportive and accepting. He’s really lucky, not just because he’s famous, but because those closest to him are able to offer support. He is also lucky that he has the money for hormones and to have the surgery if he chooses to. Soon after the interview, much of what I read in the media was very positive. But I then started noticing new comments from people who were still making fun of the situation and calling him gay and generally not understanding. I guess that’s to be expected, as no matter what you do or who you are, there will always be people who judge you for it. While there will always be ignorant people in this world who are unable to wrap their heads around things they don’t understand, I believe that this interview has probably helped a lot of people to further understand and be open to accepting the transgender community.
The first thing I noticed about people’s reactions was that so many people were commenting on Madonna’s age. Even before the kiss, people had been commenting on her age. When she announced her Rebel Heart tour, I saw posts and comments from people saying that she should retire and that she’s too old to be performing. One could argue that her performance at Coachella and the fact that she had Drake be a part of that performance was part of her attempt to stay relevant and maintain shock value to an audience who questions her ability to do so. In response to the kiss, people said things like “50 shades of granny” and called her geriatric and an old lady. I didn’t think it made sense for people to refer to her as a senior citizen, when she is only 56. People have pointed out to me that 55 is sometimes regarded as the age where one becomes a senior, but for me I’ve always though that began at 65. Either way, I would never refer to someone in their 50’s as a senior citizen, and doing so would never really be regarded as a compliment.
I actually kind of want to see Madonna in concert, because I never have, and to me she is an icon, one of those people you just have to see in your lifetime. I don’t care that she’s “old”. My favourite concerts that I’ve been to were to see performers who you might consider “old”. Earlier this year, I saw Bryan Adams, who is 55. It was an amazing concert. No one thought he was too old, in fact, he was better than ever. I also saw Fleetwood Mac, whose members are mostly in their 60’s and it was awesome. Last year I saw Cher, who is 68, Elton John, who is also 68, and Paul Simon & Sting, who are 73 and 61. All these concerts were great and I’m glad these artists are still performing. Next week, I am going to see Neil Diamond, who is 74. Unfortunately, I don’t currently have a ticket for Madonna’s concert. I was hoping she would announce a second show in Vancouver like she did in Edmonton, but that didn’t end up happening.
It seems like with older male artists, there isn’t that stigma of age and expected retirement. No one says they should stop making music just because they’re older now. I admit, that 80’s Madonna will always be my favourite Madonna and I’m not a huge fan of her current songs. But that doesn’t mean that she should stop making music just because her best hits might be behind her. I don’t really like any of today’s music by artists in general, young or old, as you can probably tell by the concerts I’ve attended in the last little while.
People have different viewpoints regarding the aspect of ageism and sexism when it comes to Madonna’s performance at Coachella. Often times when a situation occurs, we tend to speculate about how things would be different if the genders of the individuals involved were reversed? Like how I think that a male performer over 50 would not be ridiculed as much as a female. Some people who claim Madonna kissing Drake was sexual assault, say that it has nothing to do with age or gender, and is fully about consent. I’ve heard arguments about how if an older man were to kiss a younger female in that manner, people wouldn’t be laughing at the situation, and instead would be outraged. I’ve heard references to John Travolta’s behaviour at the Oscars, where many, including myself, believe that he came across as creepy when interacting with Idina Menzel and Scarlett Johanssen. I would argue that that wasn’t about his age or his gender, and that his behaviour did just genuinely seem odd. Even if he touched the face of an older woman, it would have seemed creepy. And it wasn’t part of a performance.
I think back to the VMA’s a couple years ago with Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke’s performance. I feel like while they were both judged for it, Miley was criticized more so for her behaviour, in this instance where it was a performance with a young woman and and older man. Although, I realize that Miley was performing and twerking, whereas Drake was just sitting in a chair. When I think about the issue of consent in relation to Madonna kissing Drake, I am reminded of the 2003 Oscars, when Adrien Brody kissed Halle Berry. I remember it being a key moment in the awards show, but I don’t remember there being any outcry about consent. I think that Halle Berry expected a kiss from Adrien Brody even less than Drake expected a kiss from Madonna. There is also the iconic photo of a sailor who grabs a nurse and kisses her on V-J Day in Times Square. I recently found out that the nurse didn’t actually know the man, but the sailor, along with everyone else, was just so swept up in the moment. The iconic moment is even replicated on a t-shirt at Old Navy.
I agree that consent is absolutely important. If someone is sitting in a chair, minding their own business, you obviously shouldn’t just go over and start making out with them. But in Drake’s case, he wasn’t merely sitting in a chair. I mean, he was, but on a stage, and for the sake of performance. There is a difference between everyday life and performance. On the improv show “Whose Line is it Anyway?” the performers have kissed each other a few times in various scenarios for the sake of humour. Maybe improv isn’t the best example, because with improv anything goes and you leave yourself open to whatever happens since nothing is scripted. But with performance in general, depending on the type, sometimes not everything is going to be scripted. And especially in performances that include a sexual component, whether it be stripping, or dancing, or what have you, the people involved are generally more open to things.
Two years ago, I was at a New Kids on the Block concert. I remember I did joke about how they should call themselves Old Guys on the Block instead, so I admit maybe it’s not just female performers who get critiqued for their age. Although I find boy bands specifically are criticized more so than other male music artists, which is another issue entirely. Nevertheless, I went to their concert, and am going again next week. The guys are all in their 40’s. At Rogers Arena, there are screens, so even if you’re not right in front of the stage or in whichever area they happen to be performing, you can still see close ups of what’s going on. At one point, in the middle of a song, all of a sudden you see on screen, Donnie Wahlberg, making out with a random woman in the audience. At no point did he ask if she wanted him to kiss her and at no point did she say “Yes, Donnie, I want you to kiss me.” It just happened. He didn’t even ask her to come on stage first or anything. All of sudden, they were making out.
Have you ever been to a strip show? I say strip show as opposed to strip club, as there is no male strip club in Vancouver. If that’s not sexist, than I don’t know what is. But there are groups of male strippers that perform shows, mostly at casinos. If you haven’t been to a male strip show, maybe you’ve seen Magic Mike? I have seen Thunder From Down under twice, once at the Excalibur in Vegas, and once at the River Rock in Richmond. I’ve seen Chippendales once at Hard Rock in Coquitlam. What does this have to do with anything? Well, during these shows, there are moments when the guys will bring a woman on stage. And maybe have her sit in a chair. And then one of them will give her a lap dance, touch her, have her touch him, and yes, sometimes kiss her. At no point does the male stripper ask her if he can kiss her, because it’s all a part of the performance. You could say that she consented to go on stage, so she knew what was going to happen. Similarly, Drake consented to going on stage. I’m sure he was aware that he wasn’t going to merely sit there the entire time while, Madonna ignored his presence. No, he was going to be a part of the performance.
This also made me think about Janet Jackson. I have a friend who is completely obsessed with her, and therefore I’ve been subjected to watching videos of some of her past concerts. And there is some pretty raunchy stuff. If you think anything Madonna has done is overly sexual, watch some Janet’s videos. There are times during her shows when she will bring a man from the audience up on stage. She doesn’t have him sit in a chair. She has him tied and strapped down, so he is lying down and she basically dry humps him and does whatever else she wants. It’s way more intense than Madonna kissing Drake. And it’s all a part of her performance. (Side note, I still can’t believe that Janet Jackson is now Muslim.) Like the guys who volunteered to go on stage with Janet, Drake agreed to go on stage with Madonna.
For those who say her age has nothing to do with the problem, I’d say that if Rihanna or some other young female performer had kissed Drake, there would have been no issue. If Drake had still given the same grossed out reaction following the kiss, people would maybe question if she’s a bad kisser, but they certainly wouldn’t say that she had violated him in any way. I wonder if his reaction had been positive instead of negative, would as many people still think of it as sexual assault? I guess it’s impossible to know what he really thinks, but his response is that it was her lipstick, not the kiss itself that left a bad taste in his mouth. Why shouldn’t we believe that? Hell, sometimes my own lipstick gives me a bad taste in my mouth, so I totally get that.
I do understand and acknowledge that consent is extremely important. And especially so in cases where there may be a sort of power imbalance, in terms status, or what have you. I recognize, that just because Madonna is Madonna, that doesn’t give her free range to make out with whoever she pleases. But it’s not as if she’s going around doing that on her own time. She’s doing that as part of a performance. Whether it’s Britney, or Christina, or Miley, or Drake, it’s all performance for the public. But the fact that this has sparked so much conversation about the issue of consent is a good thing.
Last week was kind of a horrible week for me. I can’t really explain why, it was just bad. We all have bad days and bad weeks every now and then, some more than others. It happens. I tend to get stressed out a lot and easily agitated. I’m not sure why. I swear I can remember a time when this wasn’t the case. I used to be a lot calmer, more care free, nothing really mattered so much. And I don’t know when or how or why, but at some point life became stressful.
It’s weird, because I used to have multiple jobs, multiple classes, and multiple volunteer positions. All at the same time. And somehow I survived that. I suppose I did get a little burned out but somehow I managed. And now school has finally been eliminated from the mix. But somehow even with one job, I find myself busy all the time although I can’t figure out why. And things bother me more than they used to. I used to not care much about a lot of things but now I do.
I remember a couple years ago, I was really stressed out and complaining about school and work and various other issues in my life. My mom turned to me and said “In 70 or 80 years, you’ll be dead anyway, so who cares?”. My response to her was “You really think I’ll live that long?”. These words of wisdom from my mother were funny but also very helpful. It allowed me to put things into perspective and really think about how important something really is and if I should allow it to stress me out as much as it does.
Last week, I randomly thought of that conversation with my mom and I smiled because it is still relevant to me now. I mean taking it word for word would imply that nothing matters at all. But that’s not the case. Obviously there are worthwhile things in life that matter. But a lot of things, a lot of tough situations and stressful events, in the long run, don’t. And sometimes I find myself getting lost in my own sense of distress and forget to put these things into perspective.
I feel like maybe I should write that quote down somewhere as a reminder to myself. It would be helpful to me in dealing with a lot of things that I face. And I don’t agree with my mom about a lot of things but I do think she’s right about this. Although, 70 or 80 years is a long time, and I still doubt that I’ll live that long.