Dear Caitlyn Jenner

By Jo Lurie

Dear Caitlyn,

I know life is a whirlwind for you at the moment and for the very first time you are fully ensconced in life as a woman. While I’m sure you feel an enormous sense of freedom, I hope you’ve been told that at some stage, the honeymoon period will be over and an entirely new set of rules will apply to you.

While Beyoncé would have us believe that girls run the world, there is absolutely no doubt that it’s still very much a man’s world and I feel a sense of responsibility to catch you up on the rules.

Brace yourself. It’s not pretty.

If you’re a man and you’re single, you’d be called things like an eligible bachelor. There will be an air of mystique around you. You will be sought after. Women will want you and men will want to be you. If you’re a woman and you’re single, words like ‘spinster’ will float around you like a terminal disease. People will regard you with pity and a sympathetic head tilt.

If you’re a man and you date a younger woman, you will be hailed as a stud. She will be considered a trophy and you will be the envy of all your peers. The young trophy that is dating that old stud is labelled a gold digger, desperate or loose.

Strong men are powerful, strong women are ball breakers. A man who speaks his mind in the office is showcasing his executive leadership skills, a women who speaks her mind in the office is bossy and aggressive. Successful men are sexy, successful women are just trying to be men. Promiscuous men are getting lucky, promiscuous women are sluts. Men who swear are cool, women who swear are crass. Men who choose to remain child-free are high fived, women who make that choice are selfish monsters.

Body shaming might also be a new concept you’ll have to get your head around and it’s a really confusing one. It’s difficult to know what makes society more uncomfortable, a woman with a ‘perfect’ body or a woman with a flawed body. If you flaunt a beautiful body, you have no self respect. If you flaunt a flawed body, you have no self respect. If you’re too thin for people’s liking, you’re either ill or riddled with issues. If you’re too big for people’s liking, you’re lazy and lack self-control. If you’re too fit and look anything like Serena Williams, you’re pretty much fucked. Get used to not being able to win when it comes to how you are physically perceived.

You might notice that some of the most insulting things men call each other are either parts of the female anatomy or references to them behaving like women. Doesn’t that blow your mind? For many men, the absolute worst insult possible is being called a woman? Still think we run the world, Beyoncé?

So basically, if you don’t want to make waves, you should be successful, but not too successful. Be independent, but not too independent. Be sexually free, but not too sexually free. Be attractive, but not too attractive. Make money, but not too much money.

While those are the rules a large portion of society would have you follow, just remember that well-behaved women seldom make history. So, Caitlyn, go out into the world and rock your bad self. Make history, break boundaries and pave the way for others to do the same. Break balls if you want to, make money, be successful, drop some f-bombs, have lots of sex, flaunt your beautiful body and speak your mind. Make society as uncomfortable as you can. Don’t toe lines or subscribe to norms. Stand up and stand out.

I’m proud to have you as part of the sisterhood and I look forward to watching you break the rules and maybe even change them.

Jo

Jo Lurie is a badass Television ninja who loves Red Bull and swear words. She works as a Producer at Urban Brew Studios in Jozi and amongst other titles is particularly proud to claim “Inventor of the Word Cocktonsil”. Follow her life in 140 characters on Twitter, at @TheJoLurie.