Caitlyn Jenner graces the cover of Advocate magazine and responds to the controversy and criticism over some of her comments about her transgender transition. Other interviews have sparked backlash and, as she reveals, she’s not unaware and not unwilling to take on her critics.
The Olympic legend and star of the ‘I Am Cait’ reality TV show has been much applauded, yes, but she’s also sparked controversy, as what she’s had to say about her own trangender experience has also drawn scrutiny from some in the community concerned about her image and her statements.
Such concerns are certainly understandable, as Jenner is right now arguable the most famous transgender person in the world, or at least the one who, presently, is getting the most media attention. After her formal coming out, in the now iconic cover of Vanity Fair magazine, she’s been under scrutiny for one thing or another.
This time, covering the Advocate Magazine, in an attractive head shot — not unlike that of an unknown actress seeking work — she addresses the criticism she’s received during the months that she’s been in the public eye as a woman.
And the title of the article, quite pointedly, is “The Education of Ms. Jenner,” and that does set the tone, as the subject herself is contrite.
She’s the first to admit that she’s still learning. She says, “The media has kind of labeled me as the spokesperson for the trans community. That is not the case. I am only a spokesperson for my own journey. After that, I know nothing. Am I learning a lot? Absolutely.”
She goes on to add, “I’m just trying to do my best, that’s all.”
And some of the criticism has been over what she’s had to say about physical appearance, and the concerns she herself has voiced in many interviews about getting it right. Most notably, she told TIME magazine what her idea of a “good image” was, and why it was important to her. She drew much backlash for telling the publication, “I think it puts people at ease. If you’re out there and, to be honest with you, if you look like a man in a dress, it makes people uncomfortable.”
Now, weeks later, backtracking in ‘The Advocate’ she addresses the criticism that she’s been too superficial to the point of reinforcing stereotypes and says, ““What does this whole thing mean to me? …There’s more to being a woman than hair and makeup.”
Jenner goes on to note that she’s taking action. She says she’s “been trying to study up on it” and goes on to reveal that her publicists’ assistant told her to read Caitlin Moran’s book, “How to Be a Woman.”
Jenner says, “It’s actually very good and very funny. What I realized, when going through this book, is how my experience is so different than what a normal woman’s would be growing up – that’s obvious.”
Continuing, she adds, “The second chapter was about having your period. OK? I will never deal with that. So there is so much in life that I need to learn about who I am and be authentic with myself. But I never want to assume that this whole thing called womanhood, that I could ever experience all of that. I will be able to live authentically as female, but I’ve missed so much.”
Her short tenure as a woman has been a unique one and, as we know, she has also been hounded continually by paparazzi and, truth be told, there would be no market for such photos were there not a public so eager to consume images of celebrities who are not at their best. And yes, that is a part of Caitlyn Jenner’s journey, that invasive scrutiny.
She tells ‘The Advocate’ that she turns to her stepdaughter, Kim Kardashian West for advice and says, “Kim’s very good at that stuff. It does take a little bit more work if you do go out. You’ve got to at least look good, at least the best you can.”
Jenner then ads, “But there’s more to life and womanhood than just that. And those are things I’m learning; I’m trying to read up on it. I’m trying to understand it because it’s all new to me.”
And while Jenner may be getting an education in public, the converse is also true as much of the public is also getting an education, and hence the double scrutiny and the concerns and the criticism from the transgender community whom she, unwittingly, is seen to represent.
You can see the full interview here and see Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of ‘The Advocate’ below.