I have a confession to make. It’s likely not a surprise to some of you that know me well, but here it goes.
I watch all shows Kardashian. I don’t necessarily watch on it’s first run, but the episodes are re-run so much, that I eventually catch it. Most of the time it’s hate watching, but I admit to liking Khloe and Kendall and to even growing to like Scott.
I take everything on the show with a grain of salt knowing that much of it is manufactured for TV and that Kris and Kim have become experts at their media personas (and making their millions). So when news came out about then Bruce Jenner’s interview with Dianne Sawyer, I was skeptical. I was one of those that thought this was just all part of their script. After watching the interview, I was swayed to believing it was real and have been swayed even further from watching I am Cait.
While the show is not without it’s superficiality, there is much to learn from the transgendered women who are educating Caitlyn and in turn the audience. Quite frankly, the idea of being trans is hard for me to grasp. I fully respect their transition; I just have a hard time understanding what it must feel like to feel trapped in the wrong body. It’s something that I can’t even imagine, so it is hard to understand. I first met a transgendered male during my time at Smith and it was confusing to me then. I’ve come a long way since then as has some of society. I’ve been taking the opportunity with this show to learn more and to expose myself to the stories of more trans women and men. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to understand what they are going through, but by hearing their stories, I feel like I’m giving respect to their journeys. If you have the opportunity, read any of Jenny Boylan’s memoirs where she tells her story.
What makes these men and women relatable is that they are not without their faults like the rest of us. Having been born trans doesn’t make them any more or less of a saint. I catch glimmers of the Kardashian attitudes when it seems that being a woman to Caitlyn means having a stylist, make up artist and hair dresser with you at all times. Having your hair in an unstyled ponytail and wearing yoga pants is not feminine enough. Those things frustrate me from a feminist perspective, but hopefully she learns as she goes. You can also see that personality wise Caitlyn is who she always was or how she came off through all those years on the Kardashian shows: somewhat selfish and not really interested in how others feel.
Caitlyn finally being ready to live her life how she is, doesn’t mean that her family members can be in the same place she is overnight. She’s had years to come to terms with who she is and being ready to come out, while the people in her life have had months to process this. I think it is unfair of her to not give them the opportunity to grieve their father and embrace the new parental figure in their life.
I know that at the end of the day it is a TV show, so I’m not going to get too critical. For what it’s worth, Caitlyn and this TV show is exposing a certain audience to knowledge that may not have been easy to come by. Whether they tune in to hate watch or to witness a potential trainwreck, they still retain some of what the other women on the show are teaching Caitlyn.