Not transgendered enough. Apparently.
Ah yes, Caitlyn Jenner.
Hero of transdom or betrayer of feminism? Lately, consensus sides with the latter.
Formerly Bruce, now Caitlyn Jenner has the self-professed feminist community up in arms. Named one of Glamour’s Women of the Year, Jenner’s remarks aren’t quite the homer he (she?) may have hoped.
According to Glamour’s Los Angeles LGBT Editor, Jenner was awarded Woman of the Year because, “ehe made the decision to transition publicly—so that in the future kids don’t have to wait until they’re 65 years old to discover who they are.”
At the time awards were announced, Glamour wrote:
A year ago Caitlyn Jenner did not have a name. The Olympic hero turned reality-star patriarch was still living a phantom existence, her changing appearance igniting a tabloid frenzy around the rumor she’d run from for most of her 66 years: that she was transgender. She was confined to her house in Malibu, California, where she’d been forced to build a wall to shield herself from paparazzi cameras. “There I was, in this beautiful beach house, all by my little lonesome, right back where I started, dealing with the same issues I had when I was 10 years old,” she remembers. Her breaking point came when photographers showed up outside her doctor’s office, spying on what she’d hoped could be a private medical procedure to reduce the size of her Adam’s apple. That night she couldn’t stop thinking about a gun she kept in her home. “Go in there, no more pain,” she recalls saying to herself. But in the light of morning, she had a revelation. “I thought, ‘OK, you transition, big deal! You are still alive. You have to make your life interesting.’ ”
So Caitlyn decided to live. She knew it wouldn’t be easy. She had two skeptical audiences to contend with: the millions of fans of multiple iterations of Bruce, both Olympic savior to a nation and beleaguered patriarch of the Kardashian-Jenner clan; and the transgender community she was suddenly meant to represent. “But I started thinking, Maybe this is why God put me on earth,” she says. “This issue has been swept under the rug for so long. I need to tell this story on the highest level you can possibly do it. Not just for me but for this entire community.”
What a difference a few weeks makes. Now, thanks to Jenner’s comments upon receiving Glamour’s prestigious award (apparently it’s a bit deal to Hollywood types), the feminist community is not so sure they want Jenner to be part of the club. Coincidentally, Jenner has also said she’ll still be voting Republican in 2016.
Rose McGowan, actress and former girlfriend of Marilyn Manson was particularly incensed with Jenner’s Glamour award acceptance speech. Like many, McGowan was upset over Jenner’s comments concerning the hardest part of womanhood — getting dressed. Amazingly though, Jenner never actually said that. But far be it from facts to get in the way of outrage.
As we’ve seen time and time again, all it takes is one misleading headline and for a new story to make its way into the annals of social discourse. Music Channel (I presume, because I haven’t watched it years) VH1 picked up McGowan’s Facebook post on Jenner’s speech and endorsed her wrath:
can take a joke. And I take it as much as I dish it, which admittedly happens far too often. But hearing Caitlyn Jenner say deciding what to wear is the “hardest part about being a woman” when accepting Glamour’s Woman of the Year Award yesterday didn’t make me laugh. And I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t amused by her attempt at a joke.
Rose McGowan, appalled by Caitlyn’s acceptance speech, took to Facebook not only to serve an entire Starbucks’ worth of piping feminist truth tea, but to enlighten us all.
Her since-deleted post read:
“Caitlyn Jenner you do not understand what being a woman is about at all. You want to be a woman and stand with us- well learn us. We are more than deciding what to wear. We are more than the stereotypes foisted upon us by people like you. You’re a woman now? Well f—king learn that we have had a VERY different experience than your life of male privilege.
Woman of the year? No, not until you wake up and join the fight. Being a woman comes with a lot of baggage. The weight of unequal history. You’d do well to learn it. You’d do well to wake up. Woman of the year? Not by a long f—king shot.”
She also posted graphic photos with Caitlyn’s quotes on them, including a woman getting raped, one being followed, another who had just given birth and Nicole Brown Simpson (O.J. Simpson’s late wife) covered in bruises.
She later added:
“Let me amend this by saying I’m happy for what she’s doing visibility wise for the trans community, and I’m happy she’s living her truth, but comments like hers have consequences for other women. How we are perceived, what our values are, and leads to more stereotyping. If you know you are going to be speaking to media about being a woman, maybe come to understand our struggles.”
I hope this tea was a scorching wakeup call. I agree with Rose in that Caitlyn has been an immensely huge force in helping educate and shift our country’s view of transgender life. I respect her for trying to immerse herself in the trans community and previously speaking to serious issues it faces. But I can’t help feeling annoyed that a privileged, white person, who’s fairly new to living life publicly as a female and previously presented herself as a highly-publicized, praised and accomplished male, thinks it’s OK to make jokes like this at our expense. There are females, and transgender females, whose lives are at risk every day just for being who they are. And your biggest problem is picking out a designer outfit?
MALE PRIVILEGE. Because of course.
I can’t help but wonder what the response might have been had Jenner been sporting “Hillary 2016” attire. But I suppose we’ll never know.
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