Blog Post 5- Caitlyn Jenner Transition- Katherine Phillips

I chose to discuss Caitlyn Jenner for this weeks Blog Post because I find this whole case very interesting and I have been following along with most of the interviews. I am also a viewer of the show for majority of the seasons “Keeping up with the Kardashians” and never knowing the whole time the internal struggle that Bruce was going through. I have also watched a few episodes of his new own reality show “I Am Cait” which took a look at his life more intimately as being Caitlyn Jenner. Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out has been a very popular and recent development that have raised a lot of eyebrows about the understanding and meaning for his decision to finally come out as becoming a transgender.

Gender is something that is always been a touchy topic in this day and age because so many things challenge it to  develop what it really is, it is not something like sex which is based on your biologic femaleness or maleness for example what makes us male and female like our chromosomes. Gender on the other hand is psychosocial and sociocultural  characteristics associated with our sex such as behavior, and socially constructed roles. There are many visual cues associated with gender starting from birth such as that blue represents boys and girls represent pink based on what they are born with. Which comes with such gender roles that  boys are supposed to typically play with action figures, and sports balls, while girls should play with Barbie dolls, and fake bake in the kitchen. These things alone starting from an early age have constructed how we “should” think of gender. As the time changes more of these typical practices of how gender should be performed are being challenged.

No I do not believe that one is required to accept society’s definition of them being male or female or even of a certain race or ethnicity, and yes a person can actually claim any racial or gender identity they wish. Yet I think the struggle with that comes in when that sex or even race becomes offended by it, because you although it may be flattering that you want to be like me essentially it is still not the same. In the article, “What Makes a Woman”, I think the writer Elinor Burkett does an excellent job with pointing out exactly where the conflict comes in with becoming transgender in Caitlyn Jenner’s case particularly.  She starts the article by using an exert from the Sawyer interview when Bruce said, “My brain is much more female than it is male”, when explaining how he knew he was transgender. (Burkett 2015) then she goes onto note basically how insulting that was to women, she mentions how transgender pick bits and pieces of being a women, when being a real women comes with the whole package. People who haven’t lived their whole lives as women, whether Ms. Jenner or Ms. Summers, should not get to define who we are. That’s something that men have been doing for much too long.  (Burkett 2015) That the realities that truly have shaped women’s brains Ms. Jenner has taken not one part of because he has experienced the male privilege. She also notes further down in the article how the transgender community is trying to basically eliminate the term vagina and replace it with something that can relate more to them. The word “vagina” is exclusionary and offers extremely narrow perspective on  womanhood, so the  billion of us who have vaginas, along with trans people who want them, should use a more politically correct term trans activist are pushing on such as “front hole” or “internal genetalia”. (Burkett 2015) As being a woman myself I was blown way to hear something like this and it although it is kind of flattering I find it lot of the times more insulting on how women are depicted in the eyes of males wanting to become us.

Intersectionality is a variety of things,  it as the relationship among multiple dimensions and modalities of social relations and subject formations (McCall 2005). The term intersectionality was coined by feminist, and is their most recent claim to fame. “Two- Spirit”  identity affirms the interrelatedness of all aspects of identity, including sexuality, gender, culture, community, and spirituality.” (Walters 2006) Two-Spirited is a term coined by the Native American community.  It is not surprising that the term two-spirited is connected to traditional spiritual values and extends beyond the mainstream focus of sexual orientation as rooted in sexuality (Walters 2006). “Gender Fluid” is looking at gender as not one thing or another but on a spectrum.  I believe Caitlyn Jenner can identify withal these terms because they all pretty much correlate with one another. For example, the fact that although Caitlyn Jenner is transgender she is in no way shape or form attracted to males, she still loves females and that is not a norm.


The Complexity of intersectionality (McCall 2005)

My Spirit in my Heart (Walters et al 2006)

“What Makes a Woman” by Elinor Burkett 2015



One thought on “Blog Post 5- Caitlyn Jenner Transition- Katherine Phillips

  1. Katherine,

    I too, chose to talk about Caitlyn Jenner for this week’s blog post. Mainly because of the same reasons that you stated, keeping up with the whole story and watching all of the interviews. I agree with how you said that it was kind of interesting to finally, after so many years of the show only being about the girls, it was Caitlyn who was going through very intense emotional struggle. I too wrote about how gender as well as a lot of topics regarding sex in general, are very taboo kind of topic to talk about in society today. But hopefully with changing times, people can learn to be a lot more understanding and accepting than they are right now. I like the way you tied in intersectionality at the end of your post, and how you explained that you thought Caitlyn falls into all categories because of how it is explained that gender can sometimes be looked at as more of a spectrum rather than just cut and dry. Great post!

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