What’s a hero?

Ever since the Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner cover of Vanity Fair magazine came out and everyone immediately hailed him/her as a hero, I haven’t been able to get this idea out of my head.

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And it’s not that I’m some Kardashian hater.  Much to my husband’s dismay, I’ve been a lukewarm fan of Keeping Up with the Kardashians.  So I’m not a total stranger to Bruce Jenner and his hobbies.  There’s just something about reality TV that draws me in.  I love to learn about the way of life for those who I have nothing in common with.  {Some of my other favorites have been Sister Wives and 19 Kids and Counting.}  Clearly, my lifestyle as a high school English teacher in North Carolina doesn’t compare to that of the I-get-paid-for-living Kardashians in LA.  In a lot of ways, Bruce seemed to have his head on straight more than the rest of his family.

But now he has had multiple expensive and extensive surgeries, grown his hair out, wears makeup and women’s clothes… slutty clothes for any woman to wear, let alone a man turned woman at age 65.  And he’s a hero.  A hero?  What am I missing?

When I Google hero, I’m met with this:

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The mom who’s up with her baby at all hours of the night and still goes to work the next day, or the couple who starts their own business in the basement of their home to conquer their dreams – now that’s a hero.  The soldiers who give up their own lives so I can live mine, the athlete who plays through the injury, or the young child who requests no presents for her birthday because she wants everything donated to someone in need – now that’s a hero.  The teenager who goes to bed hungry every night and comes to school to overcome his background or the customers who pay for someone else’s dinner – now that’s a hero.  The educator who cares about the child’s life more than the test score, or the patient battling cancer who maintains a positive outlook – now that’s a hero.  The couple who fights for their marriage when everyone around them seems to say divorce or the man behind the cash register who is kind even when his customers are rude – now that’s a hero.

Bruce Jenner had surgery to give him boobs, shave his Adam’s apple and who knows what else, and now he’s Caitlyn?  Is that all it takes to make a hero?  And if that’s your definition, ok.  But let’s really stop and think about our definition of hero before just jumping on the bandwagon.

You can certainly have your definition of what a hero is.  And if it’s Caitlyn Jenner, I’m down with that.  It’s just not mine.


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  • I love this post. While I am thankful for the awareness Caitlyn has brought to the transgender community, I get a little frustrated with the fact that others struggle with the same issue, or that there are others out there who have a story, who may not have as much influence as the Jenner/Kardashian empire. xoxo

  • Megan

    Well put! To me, a hero is everyone you mentioned, and sweet Jonah who battles pain every single day since he has EB. His is covered in bandages from neck to feet. Yet, he completed kindergarten this year! And does as much as a normal 6 year old boy would do – all while battling constant pain. EB doesn’t have a cure, you fight the fight and pray for as little pain as possible. You hope for minimal blisters or no new blisters. That kid has endured more pain since birth than many will ever in their lifetime. That’s a hero. Bruce is publicity, and most likely battling some form of illness due to being surrounded by such disfunction. :)

  • Agreed 100%. It would have been more heroic of an action for him to come out about this 20-30 years ago the first time he’d started hormones. But more to your point…Yesterday I just found Johnny Joey Jones’s personal blog- not that hard since it’s on his Instagram profile. He’s an analyst for Fox News and I first heard of him many months ago when he was on a morning radio show for the Boot Campaign. On his blog, which is not at all fancy, he actually writes about the day that he lost his legs by an IED in Afghanistan. Now he does fundraising and marketing for the Boot Campaign to help other Veterans, and is apparently running for Congress for central Texas. Oh yeah, and he’s 28! His blog is Combat Poet. He posts sporadically, with only a handful of posts over the last 3 years, but it gives an insight to what actual heroes have gone through and have to live with daily. No amount of money, operation, or medication will truly “fix” them. -Dorrie @ Bear Den Plantation

  • It’s all based on perception and it’s very subjective. Bruce/Caitlyn isn’t a hero to me, but to some young person struggling with gender identity, he/she may be.
    I think that people are given the title of “hero” based specifically on who is calling them that.

  • Everyone has their own definition of what a hero is to them. While Bruce/Caitlyn is not a hero to me, I think he/she is bringing awareness to those struggling with gender identity and hopefully it will make a difference to someone.

    Doused In Pink

  • He/She may be fearless and true to himself but Hero….no. Heros are as you mentioned and they are the ones who should be on the magazine covers. Publicity sells unfortunately but for those that know the truth, we can choose to disagree. Hope your day is rockin!!!!


  • He is NOT a hero. He didn’t do anything selfless or sacrifice for others. He only selfishly did what he FELT LIKE at age 65. Can you imagine your dad doing something like this? We all would agree that he has gone crazy!!! I mean, there has got to be a cut off age for that sort of thing and an old, delusional man should not be able to get whatever he wants only because he has enough money. Plus, what’s now? What’s the point? Seriously!
    I’m afraid he will end up committing suicide because he doesn’t live in reality and media is contributing to it. Poor man, I feel sorry for him!

  • Girl, I’m with you 1000000000%!!!! I think we live in a society that has such skewed ideas on so many issues. I don’t see this as heroic in any way, shape or form. If someone is struggling with gender identity issues then he may be a role model for them but hero, certainly not. It doesn’t take the proverbial balls to pay for a vagina. (Yeah, I went there!) Thanks for coming by my blog today sweetie! I hope your weekend is awesome! xo Amanda @ A Brownie World

  • I think the term hero is very subjective. I imagine there are a lot of people who see what Bruce/Caitlyn did as brave. I have no idea what it’s like to have a gender identity struggle, so I can’t relate. But that doesn’t mean I can’t see how she might be a hero to someone else.

  • bumpandrunchat

    It’s most definitely subjective, a hero to one person may not be to someone else. I applaud his courage and bravery. I’ve never been in the spotlight, so I can’t imagine how difficult it was for him to make this change. Was it just a surgery and taking a bunch of hormone pills, yes. But to the people out there who struggle with gender identity he may absolutely be seen as a hero, and I’m okay with that.

  • Kaitlyn

    Great post Claire!

  • I’m pretty much indifferent with this whole situation. I would say some people would call him a hero to the community of people struggling with gender identity. It does take some bravery to put yourself out there for the world to see and…rip apart. I remember when I first heard about his change, I didn’t really believe it. Now, a hero, to me, is all the things you listed! :)

    pumps and push-ups