Show don’t tell: what congratulating Caitlin and Bruce Jenner says about how we see women and men 

Isn’t it interesting that for Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn, the moment when we all truly accept her as a woman is highly performative? 

That we’re congratulating her on the moment she appeared in a highly photoshopped photograph managing to squeeze into a corset? 

We’re essentially congratulating her not for making a tough decision and public announcement – she’s already done that – we’re congratulating her for making a very difficult transition. It’s hard to pass. 

That photo looks highly retouched – I’d love to see a more casual photo. 

I’m not against clothing marked as female, makeup or dressing up. But my most transformative moments as female, when I feel most strongly that I’m a person and I’m a woman, are connection to other women, or feeling something deeply. When I’m squeezed into a tight outfit I’m annoyed and I can’t wait to get home and rip my bra off. 

We are all congratulating ourselves on being so welcoming of Caitlyn, but what it shows is that it DOES matter. Your name matters. Your clothes matter. Your posture, your hair, your self definition matters. And notice how she was Bruce Jenner and is now just Caitlin in this article? 

This is the problem of our obsession with binary gender.

Otherwise, Bruce Jenner would have said years ago ‘Hey, think I’m a woman’ and continued to call herself Bruce and dressed however the fuck she liked and lived happily ever after instead of holding onto her secret likely fearing public opinion and violence like happens to your average non famous transwoman. 

This is the performative nature of femininity. It’s fun, it’s visual and easily photographed. (well, dressing up is fun – corsets less so, but that’s me.) It’s whether you feel like a woman that matters. Caitlyn already has that. 


One response to “Show don’t tell: what congratulating Caitlin and Bruce Jenner says about how we see women and men 

  1. This is so very, very true! I spend quite a lot of time navigating the mire of binary perceptions and all the hidden, unnamed, apparently shameful shades in between, and the only conclusion i have come up with yet is that the dual set of visual and social cues we are led to believe make up gender are complete crap. I once had a transgender person (F to M, for the sake of clarity only) say to me, as I pounded nails into timber, that I was ‘more of a man than he was’. I felt really sad that he had been led to believe that doing what you wanted to do in life was less important for the construction of your identity than how you appeared to others.
    Dress how you want, do what makes you joyful and fulfilled, wear the corset if you like it, but don’t feel you have to wear it in order for others to accept who you are inside.

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