Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner is the most prominent trans woman anywhere, a big target to hostiles, not particularly a good role model, but a way to get us noticed. If people know about us, we are less threatening. Should we defend her? A comment here:

Bruce was born male and raised male—and he was a jock…The males in my family were jocks—and while their life experience was that of being treated like young princes—my experience as a female was that of being treated like a servant. While they were at some sports field tossing a ball while people eagerly watched and cheered, I was doing their laundry…

Bruce’s life has been one of extreme MALE privilege. He has been fawned over and catered to as are all male jocks.

So fast forward, and Bruce announces at age 65 he’s “always felt [he] was a woman”… his having this dream life of extreme male privilege not afforded to ANY woman, especially back when in was in his 20s and women were bared from holding certain jobs, like being a cop.

Not entirely a dream life- she lived with gender dysphoria.

Bruce doesn’t have a clue what it is to be a woman, because all his experiences have been as a fawned over male.

Some women resent successful men, because patriarchy kept women from such success. I sympathise. But also, some women reject transgender when they don’t feel the “gender” “feminine” applies to them. Female sexuality, but not “femininity”. Females’ experiences, not a set of feelings peculiar to females.

then-

This is why some women take issue with male to female transgenders.

She applies it to us. All of us. To me, she says, I totally support you doing whatever you need to in order to feel comfortable in your own skin yet she “understands” the women who “take issue”. We are a class. As Stewart Lee says, mocking Islamophobes, “I hate all Muslims- except the few I have met who are all all right”. She says about Caitlyn what others say of all of us.

Just to be clear, I have no objection to anyone wanting to change their name, their gender, their body, whatever. It’s their business. I don’t care if Bruce wants to present as a woman, that’s his personal choice, BUT I do have a problem with him claiming he’s been a woman all along. It’s total B. fucking S.

It doesn’t matter what he “felt” inside. The reality is, he wasn’t ostracized or marginalized. … For him to now claim he’s “always been” a woman—after he has reaped the rewards as a male—is an insult.

Unfortunately, “claiming to be a woman” is what we do. We pretend to be Manly to cover up how we feel inside, then we transition. Caitlyn made her money as an athlete, some of us barely muddle through. Caitlyn appears on a magazine cover, glammed up by the best make-up artists and photographers, and that is what celebrities do, not just her. Notice- she has to do that, to get what she wants. She has to behave as a woman of her class, now.

Women have been kept from particular roles and shoe-horned into others. I have been unable to be myself for thirty years, and only when I transition can I find and value myself. “I have been a woman all the time I presented male” means this is not a whim, but liberation of my real self: feminine, but arguably not female.

Caitlyn’s struggle is my struggle. Her privilege is that of the rich. Attack the privilege of rich celebrities by all means, but if you pick on the trans woman as trans, you pick on me too. So we have to defend her. Our arguments fail completely if they fail in her case. And if others divide us into “suffering trans” who get sympathy and “privileged trans” who do not, who can be attacked, all of us will be called “privileged” eventually.

I wrote that, then she commented again: Transgender women want to go into female dressing rooms and bathrooms. Some women don’t feel comfortable with that. And that’s okay. It’s their right to not have someone they view as male enter their private area. All that sympathy for my victims, and I get erased.

Mmm. What alternative do you propose? And how important is it, considering the number of trans women?

Artemisia Gentileschi, sleeping Venus

11 thoughts on “Caitlyn Jenner

  1. I’m glad you covered that comment in more detail, I read the post earlier and was about to got back there when yours got published. It just made no sense at all, and you’ve pulled it all apart here. What I don’t get is why is there all this projection into other people’s life experiences? The I-don’t-get-it-therefore-it-can’t-be-real crowd are baffling. And claiming a person who has lived a life of material wealth and sporting success can’t be anything other than they outwardly and publicly appeared to be? It’s just utter nonsense.

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  2. Cait Jenner’s gender identity isn’t of any concern to me. I don’t know her, and am unlikely to meet her. But her behavior is typical of people who suffer from fame addictions. They assume because folks know who they are that all their opinions are important. No one’s opinion is important outside of expertise. She knows all about the sort of fame she has now, living for decades in a family full of people who are “famous for being famous”. But she’s not a political pundit, a philosopher or prize-winning author. She’s a retired athlete. As you explained so well, she doesn’t know much about being trans. The experience is too new. Aside from what she might have to say about athletics, or fake fame, she isn’t worth paying special attention to. She deserves ordinary respect, and that’s it.

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    • Welcome, Mikey. Thank you for commenting.

      I don’t follow the Kardashians. But I think Ms Jenner knows about being trans, because it is a life-long experience of self-doubt and fear. I really don’t think anyone would seek the greater fame she has- I had not registered her as Bruce- by transitioning. I don’t know if she has suffered rejection or distancing from friends. Her public face is professionally managed, like the Duck Dynasty guys.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for allowing me to contribute.

        Yes, quite true, I should have clarified that she knows her own experience. But that doesn’t make her a psychologist, or qualified to speak to the experience of other trans individuals as if she was an expert on the subject.

        It’s only my opinion, but I do think there was an element of being completely aware that transitioning publicly could be a path to new fame and riches. Her former identity had been so submerged beneath that of the rest of her family in a popular series of reality TV shows. The character of Bruce in those shows, which have run since 2007, was always the butt of the “clueless Dad” jokes, the poor schmuck who could not understand or control a houseful of strong, entrepreneurial women.

        Now she has her own spotlight, and most of the feedback has been supportive and positive. But she’s still risking all the hazards that any new face in the tabloids goes through. How will she be treated once her age starts to show? Still, I’m glad she became who she feels she always was, and it’s her business if she wants to make a buck off it.

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        • She would not transition for the money or notoriety. That’s just not what people do. However, she did manage her transition brilliantly for the publicity, overwhelmingly favourable.

          I would rather she spoke for trans women, having thought about it deeply from the inside, than some sterile expert who had studied us. Sometimes academic Queer theory is useful, but experience counts.

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  3. Not too long ago Roughseas said something to me along the lines of… “you claim to be from an aristocratic family” -as if that’s something people can improvise by personally sneaking into publishers and editing history books? All of them, from centuries past? Fascinating exercise that would be 🙂
    You must be terribly tired after all this. And I’m terribly sorry for all of it. Such bad taste.

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  4. I confess I hadn’t heard of Caitlyn Jenner. I’m not one for noticing personalities – especially television/reality ones. I had to Google the name. I’m more familiar with the over-the-top Carmen, and Georgina Beyer who I have always considered to be a good role model for being a Kiwi.

    Privilege is not the same as identity. Being entirely at odds with what one is supposed to be is very distressing. Sure it’s not the same as being at the receiving end of someone else’s privilege, but I suspect the effect on self worth can be much the same.

    Although I’ve never felt like I wanted to be female/feminine, throughout most I my life I have been uncomfortable with most of those characteristics that our society considers male/masculine. To me, those characteristics seem more of a burden than a privilege, whereas many of those characteristics associated with being female, seem to me to be privileges. But perhaps this view is simply because I don’t fit the binary mould.

    Yes, there are more men than women in positions of power, but I often feel that those who seek power have less in common with “ordinary” men, than do those “ordinary” men have in common with “ordinary” women.

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    • In British political terms, I feel most like I perceive Jeremy Corbyn to be- the leader of the opposition seems not a natural politician, but voting against the party whip as a backbencher out of conscience. I don’t get power craving either. But there is a very wide range of responses which can be manly; how comfortable we are with ourselves is what matters, not how the world perceives us. Much of the world couldn’t care less.

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