Is Caitlyn Jenner Costume Justified?

Is Caitlyn Jenner Costume Justified?

—August 29, 2015

Another Hash-It-Out! blog about Caitlyn Jenner? Really?

Yeah, sorry, but he/she is in the news again, and he/she definitely stirs up some significant issues for debate. Like this blog referring to Caitlyn as he/she. How dare we not refer to Caitlyn by his/her self-identification.

The LGBT community insists that self-identification should be all that is required to establish one’s gender; however, biologically, Caitlyn remains very much a man. Meanwhile, on the legal spectrum every state has different laws regarding gender change and the legal definition of male or female. California has among the most liberal laws regarding gender change in the nation, but we don’t know whether Caitlyn has actually taken the steps needed to be legally female.

With the biological transition definitely absent and the legal aspect unclear we will continue to refer to Caitlyn as he/she. As for those staunch defenders of self-identification, we ask: if a man takes rabbit hormones, surgically attaches rabbit ears to his head, and insists he be treated like a rabbit, are you really going to treat him like a rabbit?

But, we digress. The latest Caitlyn Jenner news is the “massive outrage” spurred by the introduction of a Caitlyn Jenner costume. According to dozens of different news organizations, Internet social media sites like Twitter and Facebook erupted in outrage and anger as news of the costume spread. While costume retailer Spirit Halloween was the named perpetrator at the heart of the Internet backlash, it should be noted that several Halloween costume makers are offering Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner costumes of different varieties, not to mention of questionable taste.

There are two issues here: First, is the outrage justified? And second, is the outrage truly “massive?”

Let’s address the second question first. We found it quite interesting how dozens of the news articles regarding the controversial costume were so similar to each other. In fact, most of the articles published the same quotes from both leaders of the LGBT community and supposedly random social media tweeters and commentators. A Tweeter identified as “beki,” who Tweeted, “the caitlyn jenner halloween costumes are disgusting. being trans isn’t a ‘costume’ and treating it as such is ignorant & transphobic,” must be among the most quoted people by the media this week, her tweet being so prevalent among the Caitlyn Halloween costume stories.

Given the reported size of the public outrage, we decided to look for it on the Web. Interestingly, Tweets about Caitlyn Jenner Halloween costumes began back in early June. These early tweeters primarily focused on how Caitlyn Jenner would definitely be one of the most popular costume ideas for 2015, with many Tweeters proclaiming their own intention to don such a costume come Halloween, and only a few Tweeters suggesting that it might be offensive. The first photo of the Spirit Halloween Caitlyn costume was posted on July 24, and yet still, not much sign of outrage….

Then on August 21, a Huffington Post blog came out calling the Caitlyn costume the “worst idea we’ve heard all year.” That article spurred a few negative Tweets, which accelerated coming into this week, but by no means does it appear that this was a mass outcry of fury regarding the costume. In fact, the killing of Cecil the Lion (see Hash-It-Out July 28 blog: Iconic Cecil the Lion Slain by Dentist, Moronic Human Killed by Gator) marked more fury on Twitter by hundreds of thousands of Tweets. Yet by August 25, dozens of news organizations had posted similar stories about the alleged mass social media outrage (LGBT PR machine in high gear, perhaps?). We also looked at other social media sites for commentary on the issue, and sure, found plenty of commentary expressing outrage, dismay and other emotions about the costume, but found equal, and in many cases more, commentary decrying the political correctness of those criticizing the costume and of the news media reporting on it.

Also to be noted is that many of the news stories pointed out that a change.org petition had been started on Monday to demand that Spirit Halloween stop producing and selling the costume. As of Saturday morning about 13,500 apparently outraged people had signed the petition. We wouldn’t call 13,500 mass outrage, and also note that this number is smaller than the more than 15,000 people who have signed the change.org petition demanding the Olympic Committee revoke Caitlyn Jenner’s 1976 gold medal.

As for the first question–is the outrage justified? Well, if you are a member of the “easily offended and outraged” club (i.e., the politically correct) the answer is obviously, “yes.” Caitlyn is the club’s newest sacred cow, joining dozens of other groups and individuals who should be treated with unquestioned reverence (as an aside, we’d like to note that we know of another easily “outraged and offended” club that thinks its ok to execute those who dare insult their sacred cows–scary….).

But why should Caitlyn get the sacred cow treatment? He/she is a self-made, attention-seeking, public figure, and thus should be subject to the general public’s scrutiny and resultant commentary, the latter inclusive of caricature and parody, which would include Halloween costumes.

And frankly, we’re finding this year’s “Dentist and Cecil the Lion” costume far more distasteful, but we’ll certainly withhold our outrage because we don’t believe in sacred cows.

–Originally published August 29, 2015 by Hash It Out!

Alabama Sorority Censored by Politically Correct Pressure

Alabama Sorority Censored by Politically Correct Pressure

—August 26, 2015

The potentates of political correctness have won another round in their battle to make the world all-inclusive and ensure that no one is ever offended. The University of Alabama’s Alpha Phi sorority this week removed a recruitment video from You Tube, bowing to political correct commentary that deemed the video highly offensive because of its lack of racial diversity, objectification of women, and emphasis on sorority fun rather than service. Prior to removal the video had received more than 700,000 views on You Tube.

Leading the charge in condemning the video was a “guest opinion” writer on AL.com named A.L. Bailey, a “writer, magazine copy editor, and online editor who lives in Hoover.” Bailey called the video a “parade of white girls and blonde hair dye, coordinated clothing, bikinis and daisy dukes, glitter and kisses, bouncing bodies, euphoric hand-holding and hugging, gratuitous booty shots, and matching aviator sunglasses. It’s all so racially and aesthetically homogeneous and forced, so hyper-feminine, so reductive and objectifying, so Stepford Wives; College Edition. It’s all so … unempowering.” Bailey further concluded that the sorority video “is doing more damage to women than presidential candidate Donald Trump.”

Bailey’s opinion piece spurred a flurry of negative news articles about the video–with “salacious” being the most widely used adjective to describe it–along with online commentary decrying the video for all of the appropriate politically correct reasons. Though now that the video has been removed, online commentary has swung in defence of the sorority and its video, and anger at the purveyors of political correctness.

Additionally, a new AL.com “guest opinion” writer, Lauren Hathaway, countered Bailey’s arguments by calling them superficial, as well as “mean and shallow,” among other things. Hathaway notes that the video might be “annoying,” but is not “offensive,” and encourages the girls of Alpha Phi to “keep embracing the glitter and kisses and ‘euphoric hand-holding and hugging’ ifalpha-phi-alabama that’s part of who you all are.” Hathaway further concludes that the video’s apparent ‘hyper-femininity” is not a threat to feminism, and points out that the girls of Alpha Phi are “clearly having a good time,” which is the “whole point” of the video.

While Ms. Hathaway has done an admirable job refuting the political correct arguments regarding the video’s alleged objectification of women,” the issue of racial diversity–or lack thereof–remains.

It is true, no black sorority sisters are seen in the video. Does this mean that the University of Alabama chapter of Alpha Phi is a bastion of Aryan racists?

Unclear, but we did examine some random videos promoting traditionally black sororities and couldn’t find a white face anywhere–can’t say we’ve ever heard any outcry about this lack of racial diversity.

So, is the relative lack of racial diversity in the university Greek system a crime? Does the U.S. Government need to call out the National Guard and enforce desegregation of fraternities and sororities nationwide? And at what point will each fraternity and sorority in the Greek system be deemed truly racially diverse?

Those with a politically correct bent are easily offended, so we’d better make sure these social institutions are representative and inclusive of everyone, racial or otherwise.

Thus, in Alpha Phi’s next video we’d better see at least eight African-Americans, three Mexicans, two Chinese, two Pakistanis, two Indians, one Slav, one Vietnamese, one Korean, one Japanese, one Tibetan, one American Indian, one Inuit, two Muslims, one Jew, one Hindu, one Buddhist, four lesbians and one transgendered person. The new video also needs to include at least three people with visible physical disabilities, and seven people who would be considered clinically obese.

While 100 percent of the Alpha Phi women portrayed in the objectionable, now-removed You Tube video would likely be considered physically beautiful, this attribute is objectifying and demeaning to those who may lack physical beauty characteristics or are otherwise unsure about their own physical attractiveness. Therefore, only 15 percent of those filmed in any new video, should be those who a majority of people would conclude are physically beautiful.

Oh, and in the interest of the politically correct goal of gender neutrality, Alpha Phi should no longer be be referred to as a sorority, and its population should include an equal proportion of males.

Finally, all new videos will strictly conform to the idea of the Greek system being a service organization, and no portrayals of fun or frivolity of any sort will be allowed, as fun and frivolity might be considered offensive to those with a more serious nature and outlook on life.

Welcome to the politically correct brave new world….

–Originally published in Hash It Out! on August 26, 2015