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Bruce Jenner as a Woman Named Caitlyn

Updated on August 8, 2015
Bruce Jenner As a Woman
Bruce Jenner As a Woman

Bruce Jenner as a Woman

The world was formally introduced to Bruce Jenner as a woman with a woman's name in the cover story of Vanity Fair in June. After much lead-up publicity, the magazine hit the stands with cover girl Caitlyn, photographed by the world-renowned Annie Leibovitz.

Jenner was declared the world's greatest athlete in the 1976 Olympics, winning the men's decathlon for a stellar performance in ten track and field events, but seems to be a one-trick-pony as a woman. The only claim to fame in the female reincarnation as Caitlyn Jenner is the extreme makeover with the aid of plastic surgeons, hormone pharmacists and Hollywood makeup artists. At 65-years-old, however, publicity photos still require a lot of airbrushing.

Bruce Jenner on Wheaties Box in 1976 and as Caitlyn Jenner on Vanity Fair  in 2015
Bruce Jenner on Wheaties Box in 1976 and as Caitlyn Jenner on Vanity Fair in 2015

Opposite the hippies of the Woodstock generation, Bruce Jenner was the all-American boy that conservatives wanted as a role model for their kids. He was Wonder Man and apple pie rolled into one. He was a hero in the Vietnam War era which sorely needed one. That was long before he met up with third wife Kris Kardashian, started his third family, and acquired a second identity as part of the Kardashian clan.

In planning the Vanity Fair cover story, where the transgendered name Caitlyn was revealed for the first time, Deputy Editor Dana Brown said,

"Bruce Jenner means two different things to two different groups of people. To some, he's an iconic Olympian, one of the most famous athletes in American history, the gold medal winner on the cover of the Wheaties box. To others, he's a Kardashian, a tabloid fixture."

Bruce Jenner in 1976 Olympics
Bruce Jenner in 1976 Olympics

Bruce Jenner and Caitlyn Jenner

In an interview with Buzz Bissinger, while writing his 22-page Vanity Fair article, the gold medal from the 1976 Olympics was on the coffee table. Jenner said that, in the present moment, life is quite different:

"It’s not about the fanfare, it’s not about people cheering in the stadium, it’s not about going down the street and everybody giving you 'that a boy, Bruce,' pat on the back, O.K. This is about your life and about who you are."

In Bissinger's article, Caitlyn speaks of Bruce almost as another person or a split personality of sorts, instead of the former first name of the same person. "Bruce always had to tell a lie, he was always living that lie, every day, he always had a secret from morning till night. Caitlyn doesn’t have any secrets", she said. She also claimed that Caitlyn is a better friend to people and that Bruce was a jerk. "What a jerk the guy was", Caitlyn said.

In the interview, Jenner's 89-year-old mother (who admittedly had some difficulty accepting Bruce as a woman) was recalled saying, “You know what, I think I can have a better relationship with Caitlyn than I can with Bruce.” Jenner's son Burt apparently agreed and recently commented, “To be honest with you, I think Caitlyn is a lot better person than Bruce.”

Eerily, Jenner also spoke of Caitlyn in the third person.

"I have been so, Caitlyn has been so comfortable with herself."

A psychiatrist might have a field day trying to uncover who is really doing the talking when Jenner speaks about Bruce and Caitlyn in the third person during the same conversation. Perhaps Cait was the first person narrator. Cait is Jenner's second new first name and the one used as star of her own reality series for E! Network, I Am Cait, which aired the premiere episode on July 26.

The spokesperson for E! gives its style guide for references to Jenner.

"With the release of her Vanity Fair cover, Caitlyn has chosen to publicly identify as a woman and E! News will refer to her using female pronouns. In stories published prior to this date, Caitlyn was referred to as Bruce and male pronouns were used."

But calling Bruce 'Caitlyn' is not always easy to remember. Khloé Kardashian says that she and her sisters still refer to Jenner as Bruce.

"We don't like to say that Bruce is gone, per se. We, my sisters and I, we will call Caitlyn 'Bruce,' and we've been told that's completely fine."

In fact, Khloé likes the name so much that she named her new pet bunny rabbit Bruce.

Jenner in 'I Am Cait' Reality TV Series

A spin-off of the Kardashian brand, Jenner must stand alone in I Am Cait and may not have the star status to attract a sizable fan base. Appearing as the father-figure on Keeping Up with The Kardashians, Jenner was little more than a background player, overwhelmed in a bevy of babes and supervised by ex-wife Kris Jenner as one of the show's executive producers. Once the sensation of the Bruce to Caitlyn gender transition winds down, viewers are stuck with the same personality which was never all that interesting in Jenner's first appearance on reality TV compared with the flamboyant Kardashians.

To launch the spin-off, the first episode featured Kardashians and Jenners, as well as an appearance by Kim's husband, rapper star Kanye West. A frustrated Caitlyn practices speaking with a woman's voice and is troubled that her voice still sounds like a man's. It's a wonder they didn't play that vintage song from the decade of Jenner's Olympic win in the background.

Well, I'm not dumb but I can't understand
Why she walk like a woman and talk like a man
Oh my Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola

(Lola, written by Ray Davies and sung by the Kinks.)

The New Life of  Bruce Jenner As a Woman in I Am Cait episode 1– 'Meeting Cait'
The New Life of Bruce Jenner As a Woman in I Am Cait episode 1– 'Meeting Cait'

Caitlyn has trouble sleeping while adjusting to her new self.

"Am I going to do everything right? Am I going to say the right things? Do I project the right image? My mind's just spinning with thoughts."

The show continues with Caitlyn's insecurities experimenting with makeup, hair extensions and new dresses without the assistance of the professional staff which accompanied her to the photo shoot with Vanity Fair.

"I was always worried — you never wanted to look like a guy in drag, you never wanted to look like a guy in a dress, O.K."

But the carefully scripted show offered nothing new and the novelty of seeing Bruce Jenner as a woman has worn off. The majority of TV viewers for the first episode voted by remote controls not to tune in to Episode 2.

The I Am Cait series debuted with an audience of 2.7 million. By the second episode, the Nielsen ratings recorded a 53 percent plunge to 1.3 million viewers. That's a massive nosedive for a storyline with mega publicity for several months before airing, including receiving 17 million views for Jenner's coming-out interview with Diane Sawyer on April 24. (The ABC News 20/20 two-hour special, Bruce Jenner, I'm a Woman, was the last interview Jenner gave using the name Bruce and Sawyer used male pronouns throughout.)

Caitlyn may be a nicer person than Bruce, but being a nice person isn't enough to cut it with reality TV audiences. Seeing Bruce Jenner as a woman didn't seem to warrant a second look. It's rather like the enticing carnival spieler calling the audience to the freak show. When you've seen the phony two-headed baby in the jar of formaldehyde, you don't really need a second look. For most of the audience, once was enough after viewing Bruce Jenner as a woman in the series premiere.

Caitlyn's Transexual Friends in Episode 2 of 'I Am Cait'
Caitlyn's Transexual Friends in Episode 2 of 'I Am Cait'
Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity

A biology professor at the University of California at Berkeley shares her true story of transitioning to a woman.

 

People who did watch the second series episode saw Cait lose the familiar Kardashian group and strike out on her own, entertaining new transexual friends for a dinner party. Even reading the synopsis of the second episode would indicate that the storyline falls into the nobody-cares-department.

Episode 2, entitled "The Road Trip: Part 1" was a real yawn according to a New York Times review. It was also a full-course meal of confusion.

Cait confides that she is still uncomfortable with some aspects as a woman and that she is not ready to wear a bathing suit in public. She says nothing about why she still has the male parts under her pantyhose, which might actually be interesting to know. That omitted but significant detail seemed important when the discussion turned to dating a man. Jenner, still an avowed heterosexual at the time of the Diane Sawyer interview in April, again confirmed "I've never been with a guy."

Her companions were shocked to find out that Cait didn't seem to have a clue that most transgender women are attracted to men, were previous homosexuals and date men as transexuals.

Then Caitlyn admitted that she had never actually met a transexual until just a few months ago. It sounds like Jenner didn't exactly give careful thought to transitioning before popping the hormone pills. She is clearly confused and so is the audience.

My Story
My Story

The true story of super model Caroline ‘Tula’ Cossey's transition to a woman. Tula stared as a James Bond Girl and was the first trans model to appear in Playboy magazine. Written by Tula, her book is available for kindle or e-book download to your computer. Free look inside the book at this link.

 

Jenner received accolades for courage in making a very public transition to a new identity; in fact, Jenner hasn't had this much national attention since the Olympic win in 1976. As Caitlyn, she said that she wanted to parlay this refound fame to being a leader in the trans community. The group promptly put her in her place, explaining that she was naive about trans issues. When the girl talk shifted to sex work, it was clear that Caitlyn was truly out of her element.

Once the voyeurism of heterosexuals looking at the spectacle of Bruce Jenner as a woman named Caitlyn has worn off, the show may only have the attention of the transexual community, which (according to her new friends in Episode 2) is minuscule and is comprised of a great number of teenagers, the unemployed, those dependent upon public assistance welfare, and homeless people – many of whom probably are not cable TV subscribers. Gender dysphoria, which Jenner claims she suffered from, only affects about 0.005% to 0.014% of males and 0.002% to 0.003% of females.

"I'm afraid people will think it is all about makeup and hair. I want to get involved in the [transgender] community. I'm hoping the world is gonna want to follow along with me", Caitlyn said. She will soon know if the world will watch as the reality show continues.

Girls will be boys, and boys will be girls.
It's a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world,
Except for Lola. Lo lo lo lo Lola.

What do you think about Bruce Jenner as a woman? Will you want to watch this reality TV series? Chime in with your comments below.

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    • TheMisterWriter profile image

      TheMisterWriter 20 months ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      I don't think this man should receive the overwhelming popularity that he is getting. He is a symbol of disgust and not a national icon!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 20 months ago from Florida

      I think if Bruce wants to look like a woman, he needs to have some work done on the face!! He/she is just plain ugly in my opinion!

      They can dress him/her up in fancy clothes, etc. but I think he still looks like a man!

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 20 months ago from Minnesota

      I think you would be very interested in reading about "What is autogynephilia? And how do autogynephilic individuals differ from androphilic men who become women?" in this article titled " What Kind of Woman is Caitlyn Jenner? Part One of a Q&A on Autogynephilia with Michael Bailey".

      Just from reading about what autogynephilic and androphilic are, I have come the conclusion that Jenner is still lying. I wish he or she would come clean because it could help science and individuals like him.

      Enjoyed reading your article, Writer Fox.

      (I'll post the link separably so you can delete from comments if you like)

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 20 months ago from Minnesota

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 20 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      I didn't know what I thought when this story first hit the headlines. I was busy dealing with the shock and confusion. WHAT? WHO is doing WHAT? (This must be some sort of publicity stunt!)

      Lo and behold..no publicity stunt. It's all very real. And I still can't form an opinion. OK, that may not be entirely true. I can't bring myself to PRINT my honest opinion.

      I'm not surprised at my own reaction to this fiasco because I have a difficult time with every bit of the "sexual identity, sexual lifestyle, persuasions, choices, nature vs. nurture, genetic, hetero, homo, bi, trans......." I find that this may be the one and only issue that leaves me in a curious position in terms of being vocal. I always have something to say and have never hesitated to say it, loudly, clearly & confidently.

      I may watch this show of Caitlin's....at least until I can actually decide what I truly feel !!

      Writer Fox, you always do a fabulous job. This is no exception. UP++++ Peace, Paula

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 20 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Most intriguing. This article is certainly all the time I have spent pondering such mysteries of the human psyche in this realm of demanding that a cosmic mistake was made at our birthing. And most likely all the time I will spend on it. Seahorse males carry the eggs -- now that is interesting.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 20 months ago from Oakley, CA

      What do I think? I don't care. I don't understand all the hoopla. A person's sexual identity should not be a matter for mass consumption. It's no one else's business but their own and immediate family. For that reason, there should be no need to "come out," and cause all this drama. I am not influenced by whether a person is gay, straight, trans or bi; I simply do not care. I am influenced solely by how they act and treat others. Period.

      Furthermore, I'm not "starstruck," and I don't give a rat's patoot about, nor do I watch such "reality" shows, which are about as far from reality as it gets, and all about shallow pseudo "values" for appearances' sake.

      I have never once bothered to watch anything about the Kardashians or any others of their ilk; only in life, apparently, to grab TV fame and money. (That includes the now (thankfully) cancelled 19-kids crowd.)

      Thanks, but I have better things to do with my time.

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 20 months ago from Texas

      I think it's a shame that our society is falling so bad to the point that this is actually considered news. If he wants to be a girl, who cares, it's his prerogative, it should not be perpetuated by the media. There are real world issues that need to be addressed, but they decide to cover this crap. It's really pathetic how much attention is given to him and his family.

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

      PurvisBobbi44 20 months ago from Florida

      Hi,

      I hope she does not change her mind after a few years. In the mean time get some cosmetic surgery on that face; and I hate to say this but she looks like an ugly boy I dated when Dino was my pet Dinosaur.

      I am afraid I will need another Advil and two bubble baths after reading this one. This would be too citified for this country girl---I might have to run into the woods if she came to visit.

      You are the best Writer Fox---this blew the bubbles out of my bath; so I will leave now I am a bit chilly.

      Bobbi Purvis

      I am sharing ++++

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 20 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a very interesting hub, Writer Fox. I have the greatest sympathy for people who feel that they belong to the wrong gender and believe that they deserve all the help that we can give them, including gender reassignment surgery if this is necessary. I must admit to feeling uneasy about the media circus surrounding Caitlyn Jenner's situation, though. It seems to me that there are better ways to publicize the problems experienced by transgender people.

    • profile image

      Gil 20 months ago

      Don't forget Jenner's pending vehicular manslaughter charges. He lost control of his vehicle on the highway and killed another driver. An accident, but resulting in tragedy nonetheless.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 20 months ago from Oakley, CA

      P.S. I SO agree with alphadogg16!!!

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 20 months ago from Upstate New York

      Writer Fox: first, I applaud you on this very excellent, informative piece about Bruce Jenner. A great and profound topic.

      That being said, I am not a judgmental person. However, I can't seem to get into the head of a person who is born male and thinks he should be female and a person born female who thinks she should be a male. There is even a movie coming out where a gal becomes a guy. I will probably go see it.

      I also could never be a lesbian, although I do know women who are and I get along with them fine. I am also friends with several gay men whom I think the world of.

      Just because I don't understand all of the above, it does not mean I should condemn them. Since I believe in the Bible, I do believe in my heart that God did not make a mistake when he created males and females to fall in love, get married and procreate. But that is me. I have no right to tell people what to believe.

      Finally, and truthfully, in my gut I am very uncomfortable with the idea of a woman becoming a man and a man becoming a woman. It does not resonate with me, and it makes me uncomfortable. BUT, if I ran into Bruce/Cait on the street and engaged in a conversation, I would be pleasant and cordial and respect his/her wishes.

      Also, any individual who makes a decision like this has to KNOW they will be subjected to criticism, controversy, as well as, love and support. That person's life has changed forever.

      Voted up and interesting. An off the charts hub!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 20 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Alphadogg.....You have surely spoken for a vast majority, including me. It's one of those things that never fails to make me feel as though I'm being forced to peer a bit too much into what should be the private activities of others. It's in our faces where ever we turn.....magazines, newspapers, internet and television.

      You're absolutely right. This should NOT be considered NEWS, in light of the Big Picture. We have a Country in ruins. OK, all right, so Bruce is now Caitlin.........Enough. Can we move on? Thank you alphadogg

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 20 months ago from Minnesota

      Alphadogg, is spot on!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 20 months ago from New York

      Well done Writer Fox. Surprise? Shock? Of course that's how I felt and still do on many levels. However, this is his/her life, not mine. While I appreciate his/her wish to support the transgender community I'm not so sure a reality show is the way to do it, but then, I don't like any reality shows. I think they are an invasion of privacy and just plane boring.

      We are all entitled to our own beliefs and lives so don't go ringing my bell and trying to change my mind.

      God help Bruce/Caitlin on his/her journey.

      Voted your article up, useful, and interesting.

    • letstalkabouteduc profile image

      Nancy Mitchell 17 months ago from Bend, OR

      I watched every episode of Caitlyn's docu-series and found her to be very superficial, uninteresting, and closed off (although I did enjoy getting to know the other women on the show). One particular episode sticks in my mind that illustrates her shallowness and absolute privilege. She resents the gorgeous new white furniture in her mountain-top Malibu estate because ex-wife Kris had chosen it. Therefore, she has it all removed and replaces it with what? -- all new white furniture!

    • J - R - Fr13m9n profile image

      Jane Ramona Rynkiewicz Frieman 10 months ago from Morris County, New Jersey

      Writer Fox: While reading this well written article, I felt a sense of empathy for Caitlyn/Bruce. I hope that as the years progress, Caitlyn will find what she is searching for in life.

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