What Reality TV Stars Can Learn From Caitlyn Jenner
To be perfectly honest, I don’t like the Kardashians. So, it’s easy for me to place a lot of the blame for society’s downfall on these women.
But, I don’t hate them for the reasons you might think. Personally, as people, I think they seem nice enough.
What else can you expect when your "life" is completely scripted, and you walk around without knowing at any given time what's real and what's fake?
From a marketing perspective, you also can't argue the ingenuity and pure business flair the family, especially Kim, seems to have.
Say what you will, but Kim Kardashian turned having sex on camera with an R&B singer into a multi-million-dollar empire, and she has made herself, arguably, the most well-known female on the planet.
There's something to be said for that kind of business savvy, and it's something no one can take away from her. What really upsets me about the Kardashians is what they represent.
Essentially, they are willfully engaging in the "dumbing down" of society, and they are spreading a negative message to future generations, specifically young women.
Kim Kardashian has been accused of a lot of things, but being "thought provoking" is never a phrase I've heard associated with her name.
So, has anything good ever come from the Kardashians?
The only person who comes to mind (besides some of Kanye’s crazy quotes and antics) is Caitlyn Jenner.
When I first heard the stories about Bruce Jenner a few months ago, I thought this was just another example of senseless tabloid shaming.
My first thought was, "Leave the poor guy alone! He's not even married to Kris anymore!"
Obviously, with the culmination of Bruce officially becoming Caitlyn and her acceptance of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, it was clear this was no joke.
I will admit I was shocked to hear the news. But, I was really blown away by how brave Bruce was and how beautiful Caitlyn now is.
In 1976, Bruce Jenner achieved Olympic gold, and he was unanimously perceived as an all-around "American hero." He was the Michael Phelps of his time, and he was the epitome of male masculinity.
He was someone every man wanted to be and every woman wanted to be with, yet none of us knew he was hiding a secret the entire time.
Almost 40 years later, Bruce Jenner, before he became Caitlyn, was an active member of "Keeping up with the Kardashians." He had crossed over from being an American hero to a reality TV star.
He was the least famous person on that show, and he should have been the most.
I've seen maybe a dozen episodes of "KUWTK" over the years, and in the bit I've seen, it always seemed like Bruce was the butt of the jokes.
In a family full of crazy women, he was constantly trying to be a voice of reason. Instead, he was consistently laughed off as "silly old Bruce."
And to think all this time, all these years, he was hiding a secret and was forced to act as the bumbling step-father to this entourage of vapid, self-absorbed reality queens.
So, what makes Caitlyn different?
After finally divorcing Kris, following some 23 years of marriage, it seemed Bruce went off the deep end a bit.
I don't closely follow reality TV, but I remember glancing at magazines in the grocery store or flipping past TMZ, and there always seemed to be some new story about Bruce.
"Did Bruce Jenner get more plastic surgery?" "Was Bruce Jenner caught wearing women's clothes?" "Did Bruce Jenner have his Adam's apple removed?"
All these headlines kept popping up, but they never registered. It just seemed like a bunch of rumors created to sell copies.
But, one day, I saw the Diane Sawyer interview pop up on my news feed, and I knew the gossip was real.
Then next thing I know, Caitlyn happened.
Caitlyn Jenner is the first reality TV star I know who has truly made a difference, who has a deeper message than improving her branding.
Bruce Jenner didn't become Caitlyn Jenner to get more likes on Facebook; this was never a marketing ploy.
The reality is there never was a Bruce. There was only a Caitlyn trying to find a way out.
I can berate reality TV all I want, but "KUWTK" made Bruce Jenner relevant again. It gave him a platform.
And now that Bruce is Caitlyn, she is an inspiration to millions of people around the world who may be struggling with similar issues.
The irony is not lost on me that the family I consider somewhat responsible for the moral degradation of America's youth is also partly responsible for creating one of its noblest examples of hope.
Kim Kardashian has a book, a hardcover "book," that sells for $40 and features no written words. It's simply about 50 pages of selfies.
This, to me, is the epitome of not using one's platform to improve society.
Caitlyn Jenner is a former Olympic gold medalist, and at the age of 65, she has become a beacon of hope for the LGBT community.
Maybe, she can also remind other people who have come to achieve great success in popular culture that sometimes, there's a social responsibility that comes with being famous.
When you hold the power to influence so many people, you need to be aware of the greater good.
So, kudos to you, Caitlyn.