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I don't identify as a feminist - so why does this get on my nerves?

(233 Posts)
SophieJenkins Thu 02-Jul-15 07:05:22

I was listening in the car to WH yesterday and they were doing their 'power list', first off discussing Kim Kardashian (have a vague idea who she is but not much) and then they started off the list and after about 1 or 2 interesting women, they announced Caitlyn Jenner.

I turned it off instantly as I couldn't listen. I don't know why but it just made me really angry.

I didn't want to start another thread about this as I realise from titles that people were getting sick of them, but cant get it out of my head and wondered if anyone could briefly help me figure out why it pissed me off SO much?

If we're not allowed to discuss this then I apologise and feel free to tell me. I haven't been reading any of the other threads about it which perhaps I should have done after all.

I think I feel like being female has been hijacked by someone and used to get publicity - when a lot of women are denied even the basic human rights that come with being a bloke.

And then to be put on a list of high achieving women for what? For wanting to be a woman?

I don't get it.

YonicScrewdriver Thu 02-Jul-15 07:10:43

Sophie, I think it feels "off" because Caitlyn Jenner hasn't done much as herself other than be on a vogue cover, whereas the others on the list, IIRC, had tangible achievements in business, charity, politics, sport etc.

YonicScrewdriver Thu 02-Jul-15 07:11:50

Ps it's ok to be annoyed by stuff like this and not be a feminist! I'm not much if an environmentalist, still annoys me when businesses leave lights on all night!

SophieJenkins Thu 02-Jul-15 07:15:13

Thanks, I think you are spot on. But also I don't see him/her as a woman anyway, which may be wrong of me. I can't. Achievements already made as a man cannot count towards this can they? Because they were made as a man, within the context that provides.

I don't consider coming out like that to be a massive achievement, lots of people have to do it, and get no reward.

I think hearing all the cheers when she announced it made me think 'FGS it's meant to be WH and they are worshipping someone who is only really famous for being male and wanting to be female'.

Maybe I am seriously out of line. It was a gut reaction.

oddfodd Thu 02-Jul-15 07:17:45

It annoyed me too. And not simply because a she's a transwoman. The reason she's been so feted is because she fits the conventional mode of female attractiveness because she's had extensive plastic surgery. I don't think that's something to celebrate.

VashtaNerada Thu 02-Jul-15 07:17:46

Sounds like you're a closet feminist to me wink (all it means is expecting women and men to have equal opportunities in life, no more no less).
When it comes to CJ your reaction probably means that you consider someone's gender and sex to be the same thing (& therefore she doesn't count as a 'real' woman). I personally don't mind accepting transwomen as women, but I suspect that your reaction is caused by that.

SophieJenkins Thu 02-Jul-15 07:25:30

Thank you...I have never considered the difference between gender and sex tbh. I have no problem with people being gay, but I hesitate to define being female or male as anything other than anatomy as I think these things are really fluid in any case.

Changing your anatomy by surgery is something I have no experience of (or know anyone with experience of) which makes me very ignorant.

AvocadoLime Thu 02-Jul-15 07:44:46

"And then to be put on a list of high achieving women for what? For wanting to be a woman?"

I think that when a group of high achieving women is listed, it is done so because they have achieved success despite the statistical odds being stacked against them, which is undeniable feminist or not. Caitlyn Jenner achieved success through being a privileged white male (male only football scholarship to college, for example) - that is why it would irritate me.

Disclaimer - I am not saying that life for transwomen on the whole is a cakewalk.

SophieJenkins Thu 02-Jul-15 07:50:40

Yes exactly. I have nothing against transgender women/men, nothing at all, indeed I'm probably one of the last to take the piss IRL and would defend their right to do this totally.

But to make loads of money out of it, do it so publicly - there would be nothingwrong in doing it publicly but I hate the way it is treated with such adulation. Like Oh, wow, how incredibly brave and wonderful.

It feels almost like the person is only getting this treatment because he/she did it this way round.

How many women who have decided to become men are lauded like this?

The whole thing is ridiculous.

Hazchem Thu 02-Jul-15 07:58:23

You have summed up me feelings about Caitlyn jenner's inclusion. It's just so superficial when you look at the whole list her only achievement is looking pretty big whop.

BertrandRussell Thu 02-Jul-15 07:58:54

I didn't hear the programme- did they say anything about why she was on the list? Who chose them?

[too lazy to go and find out for myself emoticon]

SophieJenkins Thu 02-Jul-15 08:01:09

There was a page about it, sorry will have to link later as got to go out.

It basically said she deserved to be on the list because of doing the whole transgender thing in such a public way.

hmm

SophieJenkins Thu 02-Jul-15 08:01:59

I mean to me, that means celebrating a man's right to change sex/gender (sorry don't know which to use any more!) and nothing to do with women at all.

BertrandRussell Thu 02-Jul-15 08:03:02

I'll go and look.

Lottapianos Thu 02-Jul-15 08:07:33

Sophie, I agree with your concerns about Caitlyn Jenner and about trans people in general. Im sympathetic - I know how important it is to feel that you're allowed to be your authentic self - but I don't get it. I see gender as totally socially constructed so I don't understand the idea of a 'female' brain in a male body, or vice versa. I'm very open to being educated further on the subject though!

I am very much a feminist by the way and suspect you may be too!

BertrandRussell Thu 02-Jul-15 08:11:49

It makes more sense set to me now- it's not a list of high achieving women- it's influential women. She could hardly not be on it really.........

oddfodd Thu 02-Jul-15 08:16:33

But how exactly is she influential Bertrand?

BertrandRussell Thu 02-Jul-15 08:29:42

By being so very public about her transition she's generated huge amounts of discussion on trans issues.

You can be influential because of who you are as well as what you do.

Sootgremlin Thu 02-Jul-15 08:37:45

I agree. Also there is no such celebration of females who have transitioned to male, as you say, which highlights the problem. It seems to me it is stereotypical ideas of femininity and female attractiveness that are being celebrated. Lots of talk about her being beautiful, looking as attractive or more so than females by birth, wearing glamorous clothes, being on the cover of Vogue.

It seems like 'wanting to be female' that is celebrated is pretty much condensed to being about lipstick and gowns, and having an operation to make a smaller nose and fuller lips, but not about wanting ovaries and a womb and a smaller paycheck.

I'm not sure how 'brave' I even view it in Caitlyn's case, as in the context of the reality series (ongoing) in which Bruce had come to prominence recently, and the general publicity-seeking careerism of the entire family, to me, it seems like maybe it was always the plan to use the show as a springboard for her own, with a big 'reveal' along the same lines as proposals, pregnancies etc were treated in the show generally. (I haven't watched any of the shows, I only know what I have read about them, so may have misapprended it)

So, I have problems with it. I do identify as a feminist, am very much against discrimination of all kinds and for acceptance of people peacefully living their lives how they want to, but, still, I have problems with it.

Sootgremlin Thu 02-Jul-15 08:42:42

Sorry cover of vanity fair not vogue, all the same to me as a woman surprisingly not interested in fashion hmm grin

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 02-Jul-15 08:43:46

What Caitlyn Jenner has done for women is to remind everyone that the most woman you can be is to be in a glamorous frock on the front of Vogue! I think it's all kinds of wrong that this name was on the list.

YonicScrewdriver Thu 02-Jul-15 08:44:05

Here's a link:

www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1wsc6xjTph1CvN5jWzLtfzT/womans-hour-2015-power-list-influencers

YonicScrewdriver Thu 02-Jul-15 08:45:43

The description of CJ's influence is less full than that of others like Nicola Sturgeon and Anna Wintour. It is a surprise not to see any sportswomen on the list.

SeaMedows Thu 02-Jul-15 08:50:24

Didn't they say explicitly that it's not about achievement this year, or about 'quality' (can't think of a better word), but about those who are shaping people's lives and the conversations around us, for better or worse?

I heard an early trailer for it, and they were upfront that it wasn't necessarily the list it's been in previous years.

Sootgremlin Thu 02-Jul-15 08:52:06

But is influence just a matter of promoting discussion? I think it is more than that, effecting a more tangible change, I don't think CJ has yet been influential, it is perhaps a start, but so far has been mainly self-serving I think.

A lot of the other women on the list have a positive impact on others, CJ is celebrated for her individualism.

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