Caitlyn Jenner: More Than Sexy?
We rejoice at Caitlyn Jenner’s courage and happiness as she transitions, bodily, to womanhood.
But as she “came out” so did some disturbing truths about how we value women, says Rhonda Garelick in a New York Times piece. In a Vanity Fair spread,
Ms. Jenner poses in skintight dresses, a cinched black lace corset and two different gold evening gowns … She lounges on a sofa, peers into mirrors or reclines with her head thrown back, eyes closed… (appearing) languid and glamorous, her body still and on display rather than performing any activity…
This seems less the liberation of a true self than a reminder of the straitjacket requirements of acceptable, desirable womanhood.
Women = Sex?
Prof. Garelick makes a good point. Why are women so often defined in a one-dimensional way?
Here are some of the most popular responses to that post:
- As more older transgendered women feel free to become themselves, we need to address the reasons so many of them adopt the most binding, superficial, even degrading, characteristics of traditional sex roles.
- Caitlyn Jenner hides her strong arms and magnificently powerful hands in her cover photo. Perish the thought that a woman should have muscles and physical power.
- Caitlyn Jenner courts (objectification) with no sense of how limiting it can be. Well, how could she know?
There is an old Bee Gees song called “More Than a Woman.” What does it mean when a man tells his partner that, “You’re more than a woman to me.”
You are more than just sex to me?
“Woman” is synonymous with “sex”?
We should all be embraced in our complexity
As Ms. Jenner embraces her newfound sexy womanhood, some of the rest of us would like to be freed from being only that. Like this woman, “hshrncjd” who responded to a man who wished to be objectified:
I think if men were objectified in the way women are, as in our only worth being sex, you’d think differently. Objectification leaves me feeling shit about myself constantly, and I don’t enjoy sex like I should.
Men are seen as full humans who are desired in a complex way, how they act, how they dress, being funny and sweet etc. I read that women tend to fantasise about men they know whereas men fantasise about an unknown woman.
I’d rather be desired for all of me than think all my worth is in my tits and the rest of me doesn’t matter. Like it’s just body parts.
Humans should be embraced in their complexity.
Maybe Caitlyn is not so one-dimensional as the photos make it seem. Maybe she is interested in engaging in the world and being more than a pretty face. But the images don’t communicate that.
I appreciate the observation that Prof. Garelick ends her essay with:
While the fanfare around the emergence of Caitlyn may advance our acceptance of transgender individuals, it does so, in this case, at a price: the perpetuation, even celebration, of narrow and dehumanizing strictures of womanhood sustained by the fashion and entertainment industries.
True liberation of gender’s vast spectrum should ask more of us than that we simply exchange one uncomfortable, oppressive identity for another.
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Posted on June 5, 2015, in feminism, LGBTQ+, objectification, psychology, sex and sexuality, sexism, women and tagged Bruce Jenner, Caitlyn Jenner, feminism, LGBTQ+, objectification, sex, sexuality, transgender, Vanity Fair, women. Bookmark the permalink. 61 Comments.
I have a question. I know you have a liberal view for the most part. I think there is good with that as it helps progress and open minds and help “minorities” or people who are oppressed or shunned in society. That’s why I know you support women’s rights, racial rights, and the lgbt community too seeing from your posts. I know you want things better for men too. But I guess the problem I have sometimes is when society or law goes too far liberal and it steps on the toes of other people’s rights. I already brought up honors toward jenner over women and women who did actual heroic things, so it kind of ironically marginalized women, liberal media. But that’s not the main point and important. I’m talking about rights. So I wondered what you thought as woman who supports women and lgbt community, where overly pc and liberal support has gone too far and going that way where apparently there isn’t a balance for transexuals and women.
What I’m talking about is where in schools and other places in some states of cities there has already been legal enforcement where transmen like jenner, born a man and a sex change can and will be able to change in women’s locker rooms and go in women’s bathrooms. And women don;t have the choice say if it;s at a school and they would basically have to deal with transexual men having the right to go in. That’s what irritates me there and it’s not from transphobia. I personally don’t care if a jenner wanted to go in the men;s bathroom or such, as I realize there probably have been men who have went in the men’s b room that I didn’t know about. Plus it’s different, as a man I feel more secure than women. Just it’s more threatening and there is a difference. Like you know I can shrug off a woman cat calling me, but a man cat calling a woman threatening. Women sexualized, plus culture, plus men’s bigger size and strength. And more transsexuals like jenner are still attracted to women.
And I doubt jenner is a bad man so I don’t mean him literally, but even though he’s had a sex change he still has a dick. And I’m sure the hormones, he’s not as strong as he used to be. But seeing his built still and bone structure, while he’s not as strong as he used to be before operation. I’m sure he still has some “man strength” so a transsexual man would be threatening to a woman like a man or almost so or could be. Plus it lays out a sitation to be abused to. I’m think of pervy, creepy men that wouldd cross dress and pretend to be transsexuals just so they can be in women;s lockerroms and bathrooms. There are already some cases of men doing so dressed as women. I saw an article from a girl who is rape survivor and she feels for transexuals and it’s really her talking about many things, but she answered about law enforced bathrroms with transsexauals in women’s rooms. And she didn’t want it and who are we to say for a girl that’s been raped? Thats the problem, the law can over step in helping a minority, but ironically step on the rights of another oppressed group -women, which they are much more of and should be a higher priority or finding a balance without stepping on women’s rights who want to feel comfortable and don’t want transsexuals in the bath room or locker room. Here’s the article though, you should check it out.
Well, when my mom went to Europe years ago they didn’t have separate bathrooms for men and women. Her tour group, being American, decided to take turns and let the ladies go first, and then the gentleman. I do know that some feminists are worried about this. But I suspect that it won’t be a problem for anyone who is truly trans. And I suppose that, as it is, if a guy wanted access to the women’s restroom he could dress up as a women and try to pass, anyway, regardless of the law. But if you are going to the bathroom in Target, at the theater, a public park … You will probably be safe with all of the people around. And you probably will be a lot less safe if a lot of people aren’t around, regardless of these laws regarding transgender people.
Well trans like jenner, they are still straight and attracted to women. The difference is a woman could complain or say she doesn’t want this man dressed up as a woman in her bathroom. Whereas, security or someone now might not do anything because it’s legal for it unlike before. And I bring this up, because I think in our culture in America it’s a problem to do that. Afterall, women’s bodies are fetishzied, sexualized, there is some objectification and a good number of rape and sexual assaults as well as harassments. So you combine all these, and the fact there are still born men, who still have the visual tendencies of regular men and capacity to perve especially since living in america and indoctrinated by our culture. Like europe and other countries I heard they have topless bath houses or co ed, but then again those cultures aren;t sexualizing women like in america. It’s one thing iff america was more like some europe countries, but it’s not and it’s not going to change overnight so I feel for women in regard to this. Even if there are a lot of people around, how about simply being uncomfortable? I have a little niece and I wouldn’t be too fond if she was dressing and a transman could change in there. My protective instincts kick in and plus she shouldn’t be put in a position to see possible nudity especially from a man. I still see transexuals as stilla man and many women still do.
A fair way to handle both problems I think, but won’t be done, because god forbid any extra money spent. is to have two women’s bathrooms in same area. The reason for this happenign is so transexuals don’t feel left our or “different” so that’s probably why there aren’t “transexual” bathrooms or locker rooms. I think what could be done or should be done is have a women’s restroom and transexual bath room or locker room. Maybe it says both or maybe leaves it out, but there’s a marker or symbol or sign showing trans are allowed. And then a women exclusive bathroom or lockerroom. It doesn’t say exclusive, but it doesn’t have the sign or marker indicating it’s for trans. So women who aren’;t comfortable with transsexuals in their bathroom can go in that one, while other women who aren;t bothered can go in the trans included bathroom It allows transsexuals who identify as women to not feel discriminated, because it says and is a “women”s bathroom”, but also allows women who feel uncomfortable to not have it forced on them and choose the exclusive bathroom for their choosing. But this obviously won’t happen, as it would cost extra money to have an extra women’s bathroom. but I think it’s a good diplomatic approach.
One thing that is being done is to have a nongendered option. We’ve got a few at the college where I teach.
I agree that femininity is something that has been whittled down to “boobs + dress + lipstick = girl”, which is wrong in many different ways (femininity is defined by the person who wants to be feminine. You can still be feminine in snapbacks and baggy jeans and vise versa with people who want to be masculine but wear makeup and flowers in their hair).
However, you have to realize that Caitlyn embraces the typical feminine beauty. She wants to wear dresses and hide her muscles and curl her hair and wear makeup. I don’t think that was the media’s decision, I believe it was hers. Ever since she came out as trans she’s been completely in control of her situation. I don’t believe for a second that anyone forced her into doing anything she didn’t want to do–which is why she came out on her own in the first place.
Something that isn’t always easy for cis people to realize is that for some trans people, it’s incredibly difficult to accept the body you were given sometimes. Yes, Caitlyn was an athlete a time ago, however now maybe she’s insecure of her muscular arms and hands? She may feel dysphoric about her body now, which would explain her pose on the cover of Vanity Fair. She identified as a man for the majority of her life, but now that she identifies as a woman I think she’s allowed to enjoy her own way of expressing herself, don’t you?
Sure. Just hope that people don’t conclude that women are all about this stuff and little or nothing else.
Yes society does have a standard of what a “sexy” woman should look like and I think that if these clothes make Caitlyn feel good and appealing, then she should rock them as hard as she can! I watched the interview that she had done and it seemed like for a very long time she was trying to hide who she really was. Coming out must’ve been the most difficult thing for her to do, and if she wants to be now known and seen as this being, she can rock it. I think that there are many versions of “sexy”, it just depends on what your personal preference is.
Well there is a difference between sexy and sexual objectification.
As I wrote in the post:
Maybe Caitlyn is not so one-dimensional as the photos make it seem. Maybe she is interested in engaging in the world and being more than a pretty face. But the images don’t communicate that.
I don’t have a problem with her being sexy. But I worry that the images -– The first to come out after her coming out -– communicate the idea that women are all about sex and nothing else. Hopefully Ms. Jenner will show that she is sexy, but that there is also more to her. And I trust that she will.
Hi Georgia…. I just came across this tweet and thought it could be an interesting one to you.
“Happy Father’s Day” [???] https://twitter.com/Caitlyn_Jenner/status/613040828232167425 All my best wishes, Aquileana ⭐
As the Caitlyn Jenner story came out and I saw this cover, I thought the same things to myself! I noticed what she was wearing and how she was posed and how that is societies standards of how woman should look like! I always wonder if she really likes dressing and looking that way, or if she does it because she is transitioning and that is how society views “sexy women”. We know how she was once an Olympian and has those strong and masculine qualities, so I hope that we see the real sides to her along with her feminine sides.
The media is a strong influence to society, especially in my generation. This cover photo represents who she wants to be seen as and I feel like its the stereotypical view of a sexy female rather than her just being herself. I could be over exaggerating a little bit but that’s how I feel! I loved this article!
From my point of view Caitlyn Jenner is just posing for this magazine to gain more publicity and fame in addition to money. Obviously she would not be on the cover of such a magazine if she would still be a man or still look like a man. She or he has to adapt to the standards which are expected from women on such cover pages. They need perfect bodies and a perfect smile to fit what is needed. This article is very well written and comes to the conclusion that women are still mainly objectified by society even if they are transgender. Even though the main topic here should be on the story of sex transformation it looks like it is only focusing on looks. I can understand that Caitlyn Jenner is probably proud of her new self and therefore wants to show it off to the world, but at the same time she is objectifying herself and is distracting the viewer from the fact that she had a sex change. If I would look at this cover page without knowing who this is I would think it is just another cover with a perfectly photo shopped women on it. I think this cover page should relate to more than just the female body, but to the actual story of sex change and the difficulties about the topic. Furthermore, in my opinion Caitlyn Jenner just had the sex change to gain media attention and not simply because she or he wanted to be a woman really bad. While Caitlyn Jenner’s story brings to light the struggles of the transgender community as whole, it is unfortunate that her story is simply an attempt at a media attention story, rather than a genuine struggle. The transgender community should be taken seriously, and while this issue brings the community to life, it by no means reflects the everyday struggles of the everyday people in this group.
This article was very well put. I like how the author questioned the liberation of Caitlyn. Is she liberating her womanhood or is she reinforcing the “straightjacket requirements of acceptable, desirable womanhood.” During this time many question whether this is a true act of courage. I think what Jenner did shows a lot of strength, courage, and bravery. Adjectives I love to use to describe women. I think what Jenner did was huge and that she is an awesome example for those too scared to accept their true gender identity. I think she deserves praise, but I think the amount of attention surrounding this individual has gotten out of hand. I like how the author reminds us that humans are complex beings and that we should embrace our complexities. The big reveal of Caitlyn does show her in a glorified light and does draw focus and attention to her physical appearance rather than the individual underneath.
When I heard about Caitlyn Jenner coming into the world I was excited to see the positive change it would bring to the transgender community. When I saw the Vanity Fair magazine I was in awe of how beautiful she was. She looked genuinly happy and I was so glad she was finally able to be herself. However the worldwide spread of this new really showed how many stereotypes there are about women’s sexuality. Her hiding her arms because they are fit is just one example of how women are seen. Hiding her arms because they a muscular demonstrates that women can’t be seen as anything but slim and dainty. Even as much as a positive thing as Caitlyn is to the world, she is unfortunately not excluded from the judgement and objectivity that comes with being a woman. She will have a long and hard road ahead of her.
What Caitlyn Jenner recently did is an act of courage that not a lot of people would manage to pull through, transforming into a lady. There is however the argument of why most women are only defined in the one-dimensional way. Some reasons put across say that majority of transgender women result to some binding or even degrading features of their sexual orientation and roles in the process of getting older and becoming themselves.The act of transitioning into womanhood can be tricky though. I picked up a certain statement that mentioned of Caitlyn hiding her strong arms and “magnificently” powerful arms in her cover photo. This may put a point across that the transition procedure may not fully make one look like a woman and what defines a woman is her appearance, which is totally distinct from that of a man, unless in cases of hormonal imbalances.On the issue of objectification, women are generally objectified in terms of their body parts which somehow makes them feel unworthy. A woman says ”I’d rather be desired for all of me than think all my worth is in my tits…” this is a clear statement that women hate being objectified as being in existence for sexual satisfaction only to men.
Caitlyn Jenner’s confession on her desire to become a woman went worldwide. This showed us how the stereotypes of how all women are seen in society: a sex object. Jenner’s face is in the Vanity Fair magazine has her head tilted back and her arms hidden. The arms could be behind her back due to the “manly” arms she has, or it can be seen as having a man being able to control a woman. Jenner’s breast cleavage is exposed as well, showing how the world portrays women through appearance. The shallow and weak representation of women is highlighted in Jenner’s pose and appearance through her makeup, pose, breasts, and legs. Jenner is almost naked and showing the structure of women’s body parts. The images do not really communicate equality and acceptance. They further display how being a women makes society think only of her appearance, body parts, and the pleasure of sex. Bodies are represented through language, practices, and representations. Women’s desires try to reach an unattainable ideal, but society and media create these ideals. A good question to ask is: Does Jenner want to become a woman because of everything they represent? Beauty, appearance, and sex. Just because a person is woman does not mean they have to live up to the beauty, appearance, and sex appeal society and the media portrays.
Just from seeing the picture of Caitlyn Jenner on the magazine I feel happy extremely for her. She can finally be happy. She can finally be the person that she has always wanted to be, but could not. After reading how some guy once said that he wishes on being objectified. Personally I don’t get it. Why would anyone want to be seen as only bits and pieces. Why can’t everyone be seen as the actual person they are. I liked what the girl who commented back to him said. I really do agree with her. A girl does not want to be seen as only boobs and or your ass. We want to be seen as a full human being.
When i first saw Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity fair photoshoot I was happy at how positive the response was towards it. Many people commented on how great she looked and that they were very happy she was finally able to be who she always wanted to be. Now that I think about it though, I realized that it also revealed some problems about our society. The moment she became an official woman, so did the objectification. People immediately started focusing on her appearance more than anything else in the short time that she has fully transitioned. While it is good that Caitlyn is embracing her sexuality, I feel that she is indeed perpetuating a negative aspect of society, which is to sexualize women and view them more as sexual objects than proper humans. People certainly did not linger on the topic of appearance when she was still Bruce and I feel that this shouldn’t change simply because she is a woman now.
I really admire Caitlin for what she’s done as a way to express her truly self and also to send a message to encourage all trans out there to not be afraid to show who they really are. She wanted the world to know how she can be in being a women, what she always dreamed of. Some people on the internet say that she is even sexier than her ex- Kris Jenner. To come to the point that women are associated only to sex, I really wished some men could erase this image they have from us (women) because we are more than just an “object”. Women give birth, they are a symbol of the world. Equality between men and women will come the day men will understand that women are the center of the world. Indeed,there are more to explore in women than just sex. Even though, I think the purpose of this magazine is to show how Caitlin is super sexy but I heard that she is going to have a show to show the world her new life as a woman.
I really am torn on the amount of coverage and media jumping on Caitlyn Jenner. In all honesty I had no idea why the Jenner’s were celebrities but it’s good that the transgender community is having positive coverage in American society. I enjoy the attention that the public now pays to social issues such as LGBT rights and acceptance, but I feel as if the attention also skims over a vast majority of extremely pertinent issues. People celebrating the success of Caitlyn and her fame seem to gloss over the face that trans women of color have the highest rate of homicide in the country and people in the trans community have an astronomically higher suicide rate than any other demographic. I really enjoy that Caitlyn Jenner is in the limelight, but she has yet to do justice with her newfound status in the world.
I hope she will step up to the plate. She could do a lot of good.
As mentioned before I find it strange how the cover photo hides ms Jennings hands and arms. But I feel that shows us women shouldn’t be powerful by hiding the more masculine parts.
I think the magazine should of shown her arms and hands. This would help women be more than just a “sexual object” which is just awful to think of women in that way.
The part of article that talks about how men would feel if they were in women’s position really speaks to me. As a man I would feel pretty bad all day if I was constantly judged based purely on looks and never looked on for anything else. If all men thought about this I feel women would have more equality.
In a recent interview with Bruce’s ex-wife she spoke about how shocked the news were to her when finding out he was transitioning to a woman because he had always seemed so “manly”. To me this photo is a representation of both masculine and feminine qualities that Bruce Jenner/Caitlyn Jenner share. I think this is a step towards gender equalities because even the manliest of men, like Bruce are capable of sharing feminine qualities that women have. It speaks out for men as well, who are expected to show qualities that are considered “masculine”, but is not always the case. Although this ad is focused on showing a sexy appearance, she is embracing it freely. The beauty of being a woman is that they have the ability to express themselves more than men, but I think this should change and men shouldn’t have to feel they need to live up to the expectations of being “manly” at all times.
I agree with this point you made:
I think this is a step towards gender equalities because even the manliest of men, like Bruce are capable of sharing feminine qualities that women have.
First of all, I admire Caitlyn Jenner’s courage of pursing her ideal gender, especially being a celebrity, she must has encounter numerous questions and extreme pressure. Nevertheless, she has done it. There are some interesting points being pointed out, “Woman” is synonymous with “sex”? Indeed, objectification of women has alternate the perspective of people. For a large portion of males, we value appearance far more than character. In addition, women are dragged into this endless competition leaving them in constant worry. Therefore, the question is how we can change the current trend of objectification in a fast pace. Time will alter the people’s perception, yet without a radical method this situation will still continue over a period of time.
I’m hoping that communicating about these ideas and educating each other can help.
When I saw that Caitlyn Jenner coming out in Vanity Fair magazine I thought “wow that’s great that she came out”. I saw the pictures and I thought she looked beautiful and amazing. I didn’t really realize that the way she was being portrayed was objectifying. When that was pointed out, I went back and looked at the photos again and I saw that the way that she posed was submissive and indeed objectifying. There was only comments made solely of her looks and nothing else. Nothing about her personality or more about her. To see that and look at how women are being portrayed. To also see how Caitlyn is being welcomed on a positive side that she was brave enough to come out but on the negative side to see how she has entered a negative world that society has made for women.
I have read online regarding Bruce Jenner’s transformation to Caitlyn Jenner. We have reached a new milestone of being more open to transgender but the issues of gender equality is still at all-time high. People have made comments of how Caitlyn now faces problem of what women is facing. Our lower pay wage, the discrimination of our gender, body restrictions, and more problems. It is so funny that through the transformation of a former male celebrity to a female celebrity would make people more aware of the social problems of all women faces. We are so used to been in a patriarchy society that our faces can only be enlightened and talked about through the effort of a male.
I do wish to see more male coming out to support gender equality movement because even if we, women/females, are changing things up, we still need everyone on this planet to encourage gender equality to see much more changes.
I feel that Caitlyn Jenner underwent such an act as she might’ve felt left out, due to the ever-increasing popularity of his(her) beloved family. I figured in a family like that, that referring to the Kardashians, then Bruce Jenner would’ve felt that the spotlight was not cast on him for significant periods of time. I believe that his decisions may have been driven by a need to feel like the centre of attention. Just my thoughts.
I found this really thought provoking. It’s really interesting how since Caitlyn has come out as a woman she has been more objectified. You rarely see men being objectified and used as sex objects. However, i also think that maybe she is owning her womanhood in a sense. Maybe feeling sexy and dressing sexy makes her feel empowered as a woman. It’s how people respond to that sexiness is what objectifies women. A woman can dress sexy and own her sexuality, but once a man cat calls at her she is being objectified. Overall, i thought this post was really interesting. I also do think that Caitlyn could use her platform as a celebrity to speak about the more serious issues in transgendered youth and adults and how to prevent all of the inequality that comes with it. She has an opportunity to become a voice for the voiceless.
One of the problems with objectification is that so many women think they’re supposed to fit some narrow ideal that they can’t fit into. It’s a problem that Caitlyn Jenner might find herself running into. Especially at age sixty five and counting. (I don’t know how she can escape it.)
When so few women do fit the narrow ideals it’s hard for me to think of it as “owning her womanhood.” I mean, how can you own your womanhood in that way when so many women feel alienated from– apart from– The possibility of that definition of womanhood?
I would agree that now that Caitlyn has made the full transition to a woman and has transitioned into the hetero-normative “version” of a woman, she is now sexually objectified by the media. When Jenner was a man he was praised for being an olympian athlete, for being rich, for being smart. No longer is she praised for her intellectual or athletic capabilities, now most of the comments about Caitlyn are on her cosmetic appearance not on the major step she has taken for herself. She is praised for being sexy and beautiful yet very few people talk about her ideas, opinions, thoughts, and voice on being a transgender person. We only hear what we always hear about women celebrities. Her body. Her looks. Her sex appeal.
I would be curious to hear someone’s experience who has gone from being a man to being a woman. Does she feel differently about how she treated women before? Is she disappointed in how society treats her now that she is a woman? I would imagine that Caitlyn’s experience may be different from a non-celebrity woman’s experience, just as Kim Kardashian’s life is different than a non-celebrity’s life. I am excited that this conversation has been sparked and honestly I think that it’s spark may have been significantly smaller had Caitlyn not dressed the part of the sexualized woman Americans expect to see on the cover of a magazine. While I agree that it would be great to see a woman represented as more than her looks and potential for sex maybe this article sparked enough interest to have discussions about what it really means to be a woman. Caitlyn has sparked the interest and started the conversation. I hope that she uses the platform she built with this cover to bring women’s issues as well as women’s true gifts to light.
I hope so too.
I wrote a post that gets into a couple of different trans-women’s perspectives.
How I’m Seen Differently in a Female Body
I believe that women are often defined and seen in a sexual manner in this century is because society has taken the women’s liberation movement (a movement that embraced body/nature/love, often stepped out of strict modest norms and embraced love/sexual desire instead of condemning it) and used this sexual empowerment to their advantage. The majority of society and media use sex to sell, often using the woman to be the sexual object. When we think of what a female should look like, we often think of hot or sexy (just like with the transformation of Caitlyn Jenner, she was never seen sexy until she became female). We have stepped over the boundaries of how much we use sex to sell, even now that men are increasingly objectified sexually in media. What is shocking to me though is that even now when women are the majority being sexualized in our culture, the FDA are still debating whether or not to market a drug called flibanserin, a drug aimed at treating low sexual desire in women. In a time when women are the majority being sexualized, and Viagra is available for men, the fact that we are having this strong debate about whether or not flibanserin should be legalized really makes you think about how much an androcentric idea is still very much apparent within the culture.
How much media attention this is getting is not that surprising to me but what is surprising are the different reactions! I was watching Jon Stewart and he said:
“It’s really heartening to see that everyone is willing to not only accept Caitlyn Jenner as a woman, but to waste no time in treating her like a woman. You see, Caitlyn, when you were a man, we could talk about your athleticism, your business acumen, but now you’re a woman, and your looks are really the only thing we care about.”
I couldn’t agree more that now that Bruce has become Caitlyn, that the media will forget all of the achievements she made as a man, and only focus on her looks. However, I did not even consider the cover of the magazine and realize she is hiding her arms and hands. I think that just because she is now a woman, she should not feel she has to hide her strength and power. She should not lose the strength she had as a man, she should embrace it! I hope that once she realizes she doesn’t have to lose her strength both mentally and physically just because it doesn’t fall under societies gender role, that she will be happy
I am happy that Caitlyn now has a platform where she can be free to express her true self and people are rallying behind her and spread their support. But I agree with this article, it can come at a price. While Caitlyn might now finally be able to embrace her sexiness (something that society has generally repressed for males) I hope that it does not become all she identifies with now. I have no problem with Caitlyn wanting to be sexy for herself but after a while I hope she can feel free to express (and be recognized by the media) for more than just her “new” sexiness. Maybe this is asking too much of Caitlyn but I would love to see her be a champion of women by not just being an outted trans celebrity but by shaking up what the media focuses on in women. I want Caitlyn not to tolerate too much attention on how she looks, what brands she’s wearing, and what her new exercise/diet is but force the media to focus on what makes her a well-rounded, ass-kicking, successful, loving, parent and person.
P.S. And I don’t want the Kardashian family to capitalize on Caitlyn’s triumphs and attention. Can they please get out of the spotlight for like a second????
Wise words by Professor Garelick. I hope Jenner finds true freedom in her switch. I think she may be surprised by some of the things she finds as a woman and how she is treated.
I think she is likely to be surprised, too. But I wish her well.
Of course 🙂
In a televised experiment in the UK a long time ago, a group of men were helped to look and act like women and women to be like men. They were given the flexibility to choose an identity and style of their choice.
The majority (it was probably all of them, I can’t remember now) of the men chose to create an identity where they dressed and acted sexually. That did not surprise me.
The majority of the women created an identity that exuded aggressiveness. I was a bit surprised at that. I am not sure if that was how the saw masculinity, or just how they wanted to be. Or a bit of both maybe?
The study raises some really good questions. Is it because that’s how they perceive the “opposite sex”? Or is it because those are areas that they feel fairly denied expressing, like you can only do it in the other body?
Another great post, dear Georgia…
I agree with you and Garelick.
Particularly when he states that older transgender women feel they need to adopt the most binding, superficial, even degrading, characteristics of traditional sex roles. What does it mean when a man tells his partner that, “You’re more than a woman to me.”
Just thinking that maybe “More Than a Woman” could be related with a woman with penis… I mean we both know that there is a sort of transvestite fantasy here… Well at least here in Argentina, many straight men have sex with transexuals and I think they might like it…
It is like an hybrid between homosexuality and heterosexuality, which certainly includes both things, if you wish.
I´ll add two interesting posts below…
All the best to you! Aquileana ⭐
Take a peek here:
->Responding to Transgenderism With Logic and Charity http://mattfradd.com/sex-less-america/ … @CailtlynJenner
->Caitlyn Jenner – an unscheduled 5 minutes write-up because I simply had to… http://wp.me/p3uV7X-JM via @Arwenstar
Thanks for the links. And that’s interesting what you said about some men in Argentina “wanting it all” so to speak. I know that happens here sometimes too.
The scope is very narrow. I am a bit of a pop culture and news junkie so this is something that I have been following for quite some time. It is interesting that the interviews with Caitlyn pre and post transition really focus around fashion, her appearance, and sexuality. Not only does it do a major disservice to women by perpetuating the idea that women=sex, it also minimizes and over simplifies what being transgender means. Here is an opportunity to have a larger discussion about a community that has a high rate of suicide and faces a terrifying amount of harassment (physical, sexual, and emotional) and misunderstanding and she hasn’t really addressed those factors.
It would be interesting to hear more about what other changes occur when a person changes their sexual identity outside of looks because the conversations are very much superficial and degrading. How does it feel to have spent 60 some odd years as a man and now you are going to be treated not only like a woman but a transgender woman? Maybe that is something yet to come.
As any rate, I admire her bravery and her honesty. I just hope the dialogue breaks further away from her personal physical experience and we can talk about the social.
I agree. Thanks for your comment.
I particularly liked this point you made:
Not only does it do a major disservice to women by perpetuating the idea that women=sex, it also minimizes and over simplifies what being transgender means.
Instead of vanity fair deciding to sexualize caitlin? Don’t you think it might have been caitlyn’s idea to be “sexy” or to sexualize herself? I feel it’s the later, which then it’s not a problem. Becauss its something he/she wanted to do all along. You wrote a blog months ago, about transgenered and what men go that direction. And I thought it was along the lines of men having feminine tendencies that they can’t express with masculinity and self eroticism and narcissim. And being able to wear panties and all that stuff, which turns themselves on and being able to be the sex objects and be that erotic interest that can’t be as men. I thought you wrote something about that. So Bruce now caitlyn, probably wanted to be yearned for and be sexy and a sex object when becoming a woman, so naturally “she” already had the planned desire to be posed in a sexual way and not something of vanity fairs idea but she might have brought to vanity fair or co agreed with and went forward with.
Yeah, I do think it was her idea. But it still communicates the idea of that when you become a woman you’re all about sex. Somehow the two things are the same. And I don’t have a problem with Women being sexy. Just prefer sexy +. So that it’s not a one-dimensional definition. And yeah her experience fits what I was talking about in some other posts. I even linked to the most relevant post at the bottom under, “Related posts.”
Well that might be why bruce wanted to be a woman among other things and why other men want to be or be dressed like women. And it’s because of the sex symbol women are and the sexual clothes women have to feel and be erotic like that. So you say its unfortunate that trans people like bruce now caitlin feel that once you’re a woman you’re all about sex. But that might be why they even changed or dress that way in the first place and makes them change. If women weren’t so sexual or such sex objects and more balanced and not much different with clothes and sexual as men with symbol and look.
Then men might be less inclined to dress as women or be trans gendered. So the same thing you don’t want or feel transwomen should be when becoming is a sex object, is the motivation in the first place to be a woman. You said it would be good to sexy among other things and other dimensions. But then again, bruce and others like him, might not have wanted to just be sexy but be erotic which can only happen if the gender is a sex object (women). Afterall, men can be sexy as you’ve said, but men aren’t sex objects and have other layers appreciated compared to women. So obviously, its more about expressing the feminine said physically, but also being a sex object that might cause men to dress and have sex changes. That’s the whole point. It’s not once they become a woman you’re all about sex, but them wanting to become a woman in the first place is to be the sex object they couldn’t be as a man?
I hope it’s not about just wanting to be all about sex. And I do understand the motivation. The extent to which it will work for Caitlyn Jenner – Seeing how she is 65 – may end up not working as well as hoped. Depends on whether her concern is more how she sees herself than how others see her. Because at age 65 people are going to see her as being less sexy than she would like to be seen. Which is part of the problem with objectification. Very few people end up getting The positive side. And those who do don’t fit it for long. Plus there are other problems, as when you don’t develop an express your whole self, or when others don’t see you as your whole self. Which leads to problems like women being excluded from certain types of jobs, and pay. Or the use and abuse thing, etc. otherwise, I feel that well is fine to see women as sexy, we need to expand our ways of seeing a bit more. And that it wouldn’t hurt to see men as sexier than we do.
Agree w/ both you and Garelick. I do also feel that sometimes one woman’s liberation is another woman’s repression. While I agree w/ the criticisms that have been made about how the shoot seems to be trying to fit her into the traditional tropes that so many of us are trying to free women from- given the context of where Jenner is coming from and how it’s probably for her an empowerment to look this way and be seen – the issue definitely has even more layers of complexity to it. Sometimes people have to go from one polar opposite to the other to find their personal balance.
I appreciate your bringing up the point about finding balance in different ways in different phases of your life. I thought about writing that but I had written so much about men who wanted to be seen as sex objects that I was afraid at this point that it would be redundant. Yet it is something that should be brought out, so thanks.
In fact I had actually started writing it that way and then found myself saying the same things about the downside of being a sex object that I had just said: it’s not always so great to be treated as a sex object, about 80% of women have poor body image and don’t feel like it anyway, and because of aging it only lasts for so long.
In the end, when 80% of women have poor body image, When the other 20% are only able to enjoy the perks of sexual objectification for a very short few years, and when objectification causes so many other problems, it’s hard for me to think of it in the end as actual “Balancing.”
I agree – sexual objectification-there is no balance or benefit to that- even when you embrace it that eventually comes back to bite you… speaking from personal experience with that one. I just meant that for Jenner- for her embracing the societal trappings of womanhood may be what makes her feel good right now considering where she came from in her journey and perhaps that will shift/not. (And it is my hope that the rest of the world stops seeing just her physical and opens their eyes deeper.
Here is an interesting article written by a man who made the transition but regrets it now for a myriad reasons. Not directly about objectification but can’t help but wonder that this may have still played a part.
It’s kind of funny because I got to that point in a roundabout way as I was writing my first draft of this post. There’s nothing wrong with being sexy, but the photos seemed to be about that and nothing else, and so I started out talking about balance and then coming the conclusion that sounds doesn’t really seem possible with identification — although like I said, sexy is fine. So I can see the appeal of getting in touch with your “sexy” as you say. It’s just that that was the only thing that was coming across. I look forward to reading the article it sounds interesting.
These issues are so multilayered I don’t know that one can cover everything without writing a whole tome. Grateful that u do tackle as much as you do here with each post.
Just finished reading the link you sent. And I plan to post on it. A title like, “do trans people need surgery? Depends.” My personal opinion is that gender is a social construction so that surgery is never really necessary. On the other hand, a lot of trans people feel a very strong need to have it. And I have no problem with that. And I can understand it. But it’s interesting to hear this perspective while making the decision. But I won’t write it until I have written the whole series on the social construction of gender first, Or it won’t make sense. I’ll include a post by one of my trans students who feels it’s really important to do the surgery.
Oh- also, just saw a really interesting op-ed on the NY Times on What it Means to be a Woman regarding the transgender debate that you might find interesting as you work on your series.
I did see that one and I did make a note to use it when I’m writing my series. But I so appreciate your pointing these things out just in case I miss them.
This is a piece of news from my state, WB, India. I think, you’ll find this interesting, too, as it is in the same line with this post… from a different POV, though
Thanks. Looks interesting. Always love getting a variety of perspectives. It’s great that this person transitioned and is a professor, not a sex object.