Vanity Fair cover spotlights a gender trait Caitlyn Jenner didn’t nip or tuck: male privilege.

Thank you Bruce now Caitlyn Jenner for stepping up to be an olympian standard-bearer to assail the stigma of gender dysphoria. Caitlyn’s reveal on the cover of Vanity Fair is a triumph, for transexuals and, one might hope, “women of a certain age”. But that it certainly is not. Caitlyn owes her magazine cover to her celebrity power of course, to sensationalism, and above all to her male privilege.

And there we have the distinction feminists have long drawn between their struggle and that of man-made women. It’s not about whose struggle is greater. But it’s not the same struggle.

As a woman, Jenner now faces every traditional gender disadvantage except obviously the wage gap. With another exception. If you doubt that Caityn Jenner has yet to shed her alter ego’s male privilege, ask yourself when was the last time Vanity Fair put a 65 year old woman on their cover, wearing a bunny suit? Not that female celebrities even twenty years younger would likely consent to being presented as corseted sexpots.

Jenner claimed in her interview that she is asexual, maybe to un-complicate the anticipated male gaze. Or maybe that’s one hurdle too far for our reality-phobic media which needs to repress sex to sell it.

So Vanity Fair couldn’t help but sexualize the cover, but it leaves viewers with nothing to glean but narcissism. Can we fail to feel in Jenner’s gaze, the arrogance of a conquerer? That’s not an attribute exclusive to masculinity, but Jenner’s comes of privilege.

The Wheaties box superhuman decathlete had her beefcake and now she intends to eat it. No one says a trans feminine must be a shrinking violet, but the public reaction has been to coddle Jenner for her courageous act, though it seems clearly an act. When Jenner came out in April, she predicted a “wild ride”. What the audience took for trepidation was really an artful teaser for the magazine cover and the reality TV specials already in the works. Jenner’s Caitlyn races dirt track thrillcraft. Earlier this year she rear-ended a fellow Malibu driver. Jenner’s SUV fatally bumped the woman into oncoming traffic on PCH.

Forty years ago Bruce Jenner defined the hyper-masculine, now Caitlyn claims the impossibly feminine. I see a craftily Botoxed siren and I’m not sure how our culture is served to efface age and gender, especially as human beings, more fragile than we know, yearn to catch on magazine covers authentic reflections of themselves.

Okay, best thing to come out of this? #MyVanityFairCover

Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

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9 Responses to Vanity Fair cover spotlights a gender trait Caitlyn Jenner didn’t nip or tuck: male privilege.

  1. Avatar Jax says:

    *vomits all over author of article*

  2. Avatar nellie bly says:

    drawing a mustache and goatee to mock her identity and referring to transwomen as “man-made women”? the author’s male privilege, sexism and transphobia are showing

  3. Eric Eric says:

    I support all transgendered people. I do not support sociopathic narcissists. Being transgendered does not redeem the opportunistic Jenner. I especially detest uncritical tokenism.

    The mustache and goatee are traditional motifs for defacing commercial images such as subway posters. Why didn’t you object to the bunny ears? “Man-made” is a technicality and a pun.

  4. Avatar Dielo says:

    When you label Caitlyn with words like “male-privilege,” “man-made woman,” and draw a masculine goatee on her picture, you are misgendering her in public and acting like a transphobic bigot. Also, how dare you separate her struggle as a woman from feminism?

  5. Avatar nellie bly says:

    You do not support transgendered people when you are maliciously misgendering them. You do not support a transwoman by calling her “Bruce now Caitlyn” instead of “Caitlyn (formerly known as Bruce)”

    Your article also attempts to shame women who choose to express their sexuality in any way they see fit, not decided by whether a man or anyone else thinks it is appropriate. I don’t object to the bunny ears because there is nothing wrong with any woman expressing herself in whatever way she wants. If Caitlyn Jenner wanted to pose for playboy why would that be something you would try to shame her for? There are many transwomen who have posed for playboy in the past… How dare you try to dictate how an older woman should express her sexuality. Are you really trying to say that any celebrity 45 years or older shouldn’t or wouldn’t appear in a corset? because you as a man have formed an opinion that they don’t want to? Do you really think Madonna at 56 gives a shit about whether you think she should appear in a corset? Grace Jones at 67? Your slut-shaming and attempts to control women’s bodes/expressions of sexuality are showing too.

  6. Avatar Chuck Noland says:

    It is funny (sad, really) when people sing the praises of diversity while really saying only my particular type of diversity is allowed. What do they call that? Hypocrisy, I think.

  7. Avatar Don Heldenbrand says:

    I’m very surprised and disappointed Eric. I really am.

  8. Avatar JP says:

    You do realize that trans-women, particularly trans-women of color, have been among the most reviled, underpaid, descriminated against, and hate-murdered group of humans on this planet, right?

    I mean, I’d rather be a middle class cis-woman than a middle class transwoman. And I’d sure rather be a ciswoman of color than a transwoman of color.

    Once you have several millions of dollars though, I don’t care if I’m Queen Latifah, Will Smith, Mark Wahlberg, Meryl Streep, or Bruce Jenner….. everything’s DIFFERENT for that group.

    You have to really REACH to make this whole thing about anything other than CLASS, Eric.

  9. Avatar Jon says:

    Eric feigns being transphobic yet keeps using the word “transgendered”. Clearly, the author is very misguided. I’m not gayed or homosexualed, so how can somebody be transgendered? They are transgender, just as I am gay or homosexual.

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