Caitlyn Jenner is High Femme, Get Over It
Be Scofield

I don’t think it’s totally out of line to recognize and think critically about the way Jenner’s ‘high femme’ expression is dependent on and limited to wealth and power. And it’s not limited to Jenner, either : mainstream femme ideals are constructed by and for the financial benefit of the wealthy and specifically hair, makeup, fashion, exercise, and dietary professionals, whether cis or trans.

“ You won’t hear a famous cisgender female movie actress accused of being too feminine or a stereotype for wearing a dress.”

What? Really?

That’s a gross oversimplification (‘for wearing a dress’ — pff, the dress, the hair, the makeup, Annie freaking Leibovitz doing the debut shoot, an entire team of beauty professionals at the top of their craft painstakingly agonizing over every detail of the debut production) and there’s plenty of precedent for criticism of that kind of presentation of femininity for precisely the reasons I outline above.

Speaking as both a feminist and a production professional, as someone who is critical of and paradoxically responsible for these kinds of depictions of femininity, it seems like the author is entirely missing the point of the criticism.

I mean, the Killing Us Softly lecutres with Jean Kilbourne? Criticism of this precise print-friendly unit-shifting femininity is practically 3rd wave 101.

The mainstream ‘beauty’ standard for feminity in western culture is of an unachievable ‘perfection’ that one aspires to and reaches for through the purchase of products and services. This ‘perfection’ is deliberately constructed and lauded as advertisement of and to create the necessity for those very products and services.

“where is the outcry against Aydian for holding up impossible handsome standards or a “masculine stereotype?”’

Jenner is the single most visible transgender person in the West if not the world because of her close association to and relentless media exposure from the Kardashian family. If Aydian had been one of the principle characters in one of the most successful reality shows of all time I’m certain people would be talking about the role class and privilege plays in Aydian’s presentation.

This is this first I’ve heard of him.

Jenner was on the cover of vanity fair and every major media outlet from fox news to the daily show has covered her debut.

“Many people enjoy a high femme gender expression. Caitlyn Jenner is one of millions of them. Get over it.”

Sure. And I don’t have a problem with anyone choosing their own gender expression. But to ignore and dismiss as trans* shaming the way class plays a role in choosing and conforming to the most socially acceptable gender expression, trans* or cis, is to do a great disservice to everyone who doesn’t share those class privileges — or a desire to conform to this gender expression.

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