The new normal: the 6 most important reactions to Caitlyn Jenner’s cover
What they’re saying
We reported earlier this week on the life-changing unveiling of Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair. As expected, there were plenty of ridiculous transphobic Twitter outbursts and salacious stories that eventuated - but we've chosen to ignore these. Here, we present the six most important facts.
Related story: Call me Caitlyn: Bruce Jenner's landmark Vanity Fair cover
1. We'll start with the rumours first. Among them, that make-up company M.A.C is interested in signing Caitlyn for a campaign or spokesperson role. Estée Lauder (M.A.C Cosmetics' parent company) group president John Demsey was all for the cover, saying, "It's simply amazing, iconic, epic, disruptive, bold, glamorous. There's never been someone with that level of celebrity who's ever done something so bold and so visible in public, and it's done very elegantly and glamorously."
Considering M.A.C has a reputation for casting fierce and zeitgesit-y women like RuPaul, Rihanna and Lady Gaga for its Viva Glam range - we think the addition of Jenner would be a MAJOR coup.
2. And if you haven't already seen it, the trailer for Caitlyn's Jenner's upcoming miniseries is out. Titled I Am Cait, its set to premiere on the E! channel on July 26. In the teaser, we see a taste of Jenner's new life as a woman - complete with the daily pressures of having to apply make-up and style your 'do.
3. TV host Jon Stewart took aim at the worldwide media's most outlandish and sexist reactions to Jenner's transformation. His barbs (not to be mistaken as ones aimed at Jenner) summed up one of feminism's greatest gripes - that women are only valued for their looks. Playing a reel of TV clips, The Daily Show host demonstrated the overwhelming focus on Jenner's looks by major news outlets.
"It's really heartening to see that everyone is willing to not only accept Caitlyn Jenner as a woman, but to waste no time in treating her like a woman," opened Stewart. "You see, Caitlyn, when you were a man we could talk about your athleticism, your business acumen," he said. "Now you're a woman, and your looks are the only thing we care about. Which brings us to phase two of your transition: your 'comparative f-ability'."
Showing clips of news broadcasters comparing Caitlyn to ex-wife Kris Jenner, stepdaughter Kim Kardashian and actress Jessica Lang, Stewart stuck the knife in further, adding, "Look we want to give a woman a compliment here. We just want to make sure another woman gets taken down a peg or two, it's how we maintain the balance."
After another newsreader commented on Jenner looking good for her age, Stewart went on, "Wow, remind her she has an expiration date now! You came out at 65, you've got another two years since you become invisible to society. Better make the most of it." And in a final awesome twist of the knife, Stewart closed with this zinger: "Caitlyn Jenner, congratulations. Welcome to being a woman in America." Well played, Jon Stewart, well played.
Related story: Gender bender: hermaphrodites through the ages
4. Time magazine covergirl, Orange Is the New Black star and transgender advocate Laverne Cox echoed Stewart's sentiments in an op ed published on her Tumblr.
Shouting out a virtual high five to Jenner, Cox wrote: "I love working a photo shoot and creating inspiring images for my fans, for the world and above all for myself. But I also hope that it is my talent, my intelligence, my heart and spirit that most captivate, inspire, move and encourage folks to think more critically about the world around them. Yes, Caitlyn looks amazing and is beautiful but what I think is most beautiful about her is her heart and soul, the ways she has allowed the world into her vulnerabilities." Cox went on to address less privileged transgender people who might not have access to the same level of resources as herself, calling for society to embrace all forms of trans narratives and standards.
"#TransIsBeautiful is about, whether you're trans or not, celebrating all those things that make us uniquely ourselves. Most trans folks don't have the privileges Caitlyn and I have now have. It is those trans folks we must continue to lift up, get them access to healthcare, jobs, housing, safe streets, safe schools and homes for our young people. We must lift up the stories of those most at risk, statistically trans people of colour who are poor and working class... The struggle continues..."
Related story: Breaking: Transgender model Hari Nef signs with IMG
5. The man who penned Vanity Fair's cover story, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Buzz Bissinger (fun fact: he also wrote cult-TV show Friday Night Lights), revealed details of his three and a half-month assignment. Bissinger spent over 100 hours with Jenner, but says he struggled with finding a place to start the story and how to deal with its many viewpoints.
"I realised early on that the input of Jenner children in particular was really important, because Bruce was not perfect," says Bissinger. "Nobody is perfect, and he isn't and he created feelings that these kids still have today. You know, he really, really hurt them. I felt like it had to be noted, but without vitriol and without taking sides. There is no question that they are scarred, but there is also no question that Caitlyn is reaching out to them in a way that Bruce never did."
And Jenner's reaction to the story? "She is happy, over the moon, but more important, I think she is shocked by the overwhelming reaction and I think it has caused Caitlyn to realise that she has a greater responsibility than just crafting an entertaining show. She can do something really, really powerful."
Lastly, Bissinger spoke about his own personal sense of achievement. "You know, you do a lot of stories in your life and some of them resonate. Most of them you forget. But this is an unforgettable story-to be really a part of history... I was very honored to be a part of it. I've had a wonderful career and done things that have gotten a lot of attention. But this story goes beyond "career." I feel like I was part of something in which a single person can maybe change the world."
Related story: The style evolution of Kendall Jenner
6. Jenner's stylist on the Vanity Fair shoot, Jessica Diehl spoke to E! News and VF about dressing her in Donna Karan, Badgley Michka, Zac Posen and Hervé Leger. "In her case she has perfect proportions to dress," says Diehl.
"We had a four hour fitting and tried on endless amounts and only two pieces we didn't like. She can't fit samples, but the proportion of her body really helps. It's healthy, perfect and great." Describing the shoot as "emotional" Diehl says the lead up was super secret, so hush hush only "three people in the fashion department knew, including me."
Like Bissinger, the experience was life altering for Diehl: "I don't usually get super-sentimental about things, but that was probably the most emotional and open experience I have ever had on a shoot. It was really meant to feel like the most 'welcome to the club' kind of experience. I can't describe it - we all bawled our eyes out at the end. And I am not a crier. It was the most personal experience. It was more than just taking pictures."
Buro 24/7 Selection