6.03.2015

Sam by Stef #1: Caitlyn Jenner

#SambyStef
Lately I have felt that there are so many interesting issues coming forward thanks in great deal to pop culture, that I have decided to start regularly writing opinion columns about topics such as feminism, plastic surgery, the fashion industry and more. Talk du moment is without a doubt the revelation of Bruce Jenner's new identity; Caitlyn. In a spectacular cover for Vanity Fair, she not only revealed her new name, but also her new look.


As you may or may not know, I am not much of a fan of the Kardashian-Jenner clan and their usual behaviour and I was very skeptical about how they would handle this. I have however nothing but admiration for how they, Bruce now Caitlyn as well as the children and stepchildren, have done it. The Diane Sawyer interview, the reactions in the press and now this beautiful, vulnerable cover and spread in what is arguably the word's classiest pop culture magazine, have an aura of pride, dignity and respect that is simply wonderful. The Kardashian's fame is now used to put a very controversial matter on top of everyone's agenda in a way that no one, not Conchita Wurst (I realize she is not in fact transgender), Lea T, Andreja Pejic, Golden Globe-winning Jeffrey Tambor in Transparent, Oscar-winning Jared Leto in Dallas Buyer's Club or even Orange is the Black's Emmy-nominated Laverne Cox, did before. Everybody is talking about Caitlyn and 'the transgender issue' now and for a topic that is often overlooked (also by yours truly), that is something.

Reactions to Caitlyn's big reveal have been overwhelmingly positive in mainstream media. Numerous celebrities, prominent figures and many LGBT icons including Lady Gaga, Anna Kendrick, Ellen Degeneres, beforementioned Laverne Cox, Lena Dunham, Shonda Rhimes, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Mia Farrow, Seth Meyers, Kerry Washington, Demi Moore and even President Obama have publicly outed support and respect. My personal favourite reaction must be Jessica Lange's, who became a trending topic on Twitter after people started comparing Caitlyn and Lange. Jessica stated that she thought that it's "so wonderful" and that "now she was going to have to take a look for that picture". She didn't show a sign of taking offense at the comments, hereby setting an example for everyone.

In this Guardian article I read that within the trans community, reactions are more mixed. While some groups are very positive, others are not at all. They consider Caitlyn a "rich white bitch" who in her position could and should have done so much more for the trans community. Always hearing the message in different articles and documentaries, in film and on television that coming out as transgender and transitioning itself is not easy for anyone, I am baffled by these comments. While a lot of transgenders suffer from terrible poverty - one in six American transgenders have an income of below $10.000 a year - Caitlyn comes from a notorious sports background and has to deal with the pressure of being a public figure. I am not saying that one is more difficult than the other, just that each and every individual will have a unique situation with different difficulties that are hard if not impossible to compare. Furthermore, Caitlyn has just arrived! It is already confirmed that in the E docu series, there will absolutely be paid attention to helping the trans community, so a little patience is welcome.

That this Annie Leibovitz-shot Vanity Fair cover will be iconic is clear. It's a major moment not just in pop culture, but in today's society as well. It has already gathered plenty of buzz, and I am confident it will continue for a while. Especially leading up to the premiere of the 'I am Cait' docu series on the 26th of July. And even after that this cover will be remembered. Well done.

Photo: Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair

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