Culture Review: 'Call Me Caitlyn'

Culture Review: 'Call Me Caitlyn'

Culture Review: 'Call Me Caitlyn'

Yesterday, Caitlyn Jenner was revealed as Vanity Fair’s July Covergirl. An elegant brunette in an ivory corset, arms behind her back, staring inquisitively at the camera. This is the first sighting the world has had of this woman, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, the Olympic medalist and Kim Kardashian’s stepfather.

After confirming plans to transition in April, Caitlyn described her transformation as liberating, stating that if she had died without transitioning then she would have wasted her whole life. Her reveal prompted her to break a Twitter record, gaining a million followers in four hours, breaking Barack Obama’s record by an hour.

Caitlyn’s reveal has been described by many as a pivotal moment for the trans community. A chance to show their community in a totally positive light. An opportunity to normalise trans people and an important step in the move for equality.

However, this has not been the reaction from all. Critics question whether anyone else would get the same kind of reaction if they did not have the same level of fame as Caitlyn. Others commented on her physical appearance, that she was not being applauded for becoming a women, but that she was beautiful. That is we are accepting of Caitlyn because she conforms to our understanding of gender binaries in that she looks like a woman. Other trans women do not have the privilege of wealth as Caitlyn and cannot afford the same treatments and so do not fit so easily within our socially constructed binaries. Therefore, critics argue, that the public is not celebrating her trans status but her economic privilege.

It is not that Caitlyn’s beauty should not be celebrated, but it is that it should be recognised that other trans people, as one of the poorest demographic communities, do not have the same access to economic resources as Caitlyn, face lengthy waiting queues and degrading tests to determine whether they should be allowed to transition.


With E! scheduled to document Caitlyn’s life from July it is difficult not be skeptical that this is not just another cog in the Kardashian machine. However, this move to televise every intimate detail is unsurprising due to the notorious over-share Kardashian culture. Her Culture wishes Caitlyn well and hopes that she can inspire people everywhere to be who they truly are.


Madeleine is a final year student at the University of Exeter studying BA English with proficiency in French who has developed her writing and editing through her involvement with Her Campus Exeter. In her free time, Madeleine loves discovering new music in preparation for the UK festival season and searching for opportunities which can broaden her horizons, most recently this was volunteering as a teacher in Beijing, China, where she was immersed in Chinese culture and tradition. There are few things in this world that bring Madeleine more joy than glitter, velvet and sequins and her ideal dinner party guests would be Queen Elizabeth I, George Orwell and Taylor Swift. Currently, with graduation looming, Madeleine is exploring the idea of taking time out to travel the world on a shoe string before embarking upon a career in international humanitarian aid.


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