From One Old Gal to Another

Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair photos made me feel fabulous. I love that she’s 65. I love that in transitioning to being a woman, she went for broke. I love the message of power and controlling one’s destiny. I love her hair and her look and her obvious decision not to hold any part of her dream in reserve.

I look at the photos and I wonder: how much just pure courage does it take to completely change your external identity? From top to bottom, every dimension. No dressing up here. She dresses down. So there is no hiding. It’s all real, no pretend. Just a ridiculously gorgeous 65-year old woman on the cover of Vanity Fair. I feel like our team (the world’s old gals) just scored a major victory. This is us. And we’re fabulous.

There are other reasons to be grateful to Caitlyn Jenner. First, Fox News might be right that her transition represents the end of civilization as we know it and I think that’s a good thing. Civilization has a lot of conformity demanded and implied. People can be different but within narrow parameters. A feather here, a feather there. Caitlyn Jenner just busted through those boundaries, moving the chains miles from where they were just a few days ago. That’s great, in my opinion.

Another part of ending civilization as we know it also might mean getting rid of our preoccupation with categorization, having to know what and who someone is before we can proceed with knowing them. I used to get this all the time because my children don’t look like me and are obviously adopted: what are your kids? It was always the first question, not the last. Those inquiring seemed to need this information before proceeding. If my kids were in one category, then the inquirers might continue along one road. If they were another, well, a U-turn might be in order. Same seems to be true on the gender/gender identity question. Maybe the reflex to have to know ‘what are you’ can relax a little bit. That would be nice.

Caitlyn Jenner’s transition cuts through more than one taboo, though. People and the fan rags all made sure to keep an eye on Bruce Jenner’s ponytail and refining facial features, following the irresistible urge to compare the Olympic Bruce Jenner to the new person he was crafting for himself as if looking for telltale signs of cocaine addiction or kleptomania.  It all had a slimy feel to it; like this person, once so universally admired, should be looked at askance, we should wince and feel sorry for ‘what’s happened to him.’ It was disgusting like the endless pieces about Kirstie Alley’s weight and Angelina Jolie’s bisexuality. We are made, always to think that not only is something our business but that we should engage in a group tsk-tsk, a tsk-tsk heard around the world. Join us in pointing and snickering at _______________ (fill in the blank).

So for Caitlyn Jenner to emerge from this wicked cocoon the media wrapped around her as an incredibly good looking and really built 65-year old chick who appears to be so comfortable with her looks and herself, well, I say, it’s just an extraordinarily revolutionary and insanely wonderful thing to see. So fine. Truly.

The message sent to me by Caitlyn Jenner’s amazing transition? We should all be such tough broads.

12 Comments on “From One Old Gal to Another

  1. I love your reaction and I suppose she did put herself on the cover of a magazine so we have some license to comment. There is still something that makes me uncomfortable about it though, some part of me that feels like unless we are friends or family, it’s none of our business how she gender identifies. But then just a few minutes ago I asked HS if you liked The Book of Mormon, because I didn’t – I couldn’t get past the negative African stereotypes long enough to think it was funny. So I think you helped me learn today that I’m really just no fun!

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    • I think she’s a public figure. People have been speculating about her for years in a not very nice way. I think the photo shoot kicks the innuendo to the curb. She’s taking the opportunity to be completely out as a woman and I think it’s grand.

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      • I agree. After years of insulting classless grocery fodder photos and speculative finger pointing this cover has class and is Caitlyn’s touch. Let her stand in the light. She has earned her brave place. The American appetite for finger pointing and gossip will not last long.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome post Jan! Caitlyn’s openness will certainly help educate those in our population that “don’t get it”. Prejudice begins with fear. Unfortunately masses fear what they don’t understand. Caitlyn’s story forces us to take a look into a world we otherwise would never see. There are thousands of individual’s that suffer every day because they feel trapped in the wrong body. Maybe they will receive the support and acceptance so that they can move forward in their transitions.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was wonderful!

    I also love that she is getting so much attention as an older woman. So often, older ladies are overlooked or seen as frumpy. Lately, though, I have been seeing a marked increase in the hot older women glamouring up my television screen. It gives me hope that we are coming to value more than just youthful bodies and faces.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I always love to read your take. On this, mine is very different. But it’s not really about Jenner, it’s about our insistence on celebrating only the most narrow parts of what it means to be a woman–a certain kind of beauty.

    Like Bruce now Caitlyn, I’ve been told my whole life to be something different from what I am. I think our commercial society pretty much hinges on us believing we need significant modification. So I have never loved the images and the commercials, even the stories, that say see, at (insert age over 23), this is how you can look!! Since I’ve quarreled with this my whole life, I won’t swoon over this particular iteration. I wouldn’t say “Yay! Lingerie and hormones, plastic surgery, photoshopping!!!” if it were Helen Mirren, so don’t ask me to do it for Caitlyn Jenner. I’m more interested in the other parts of what it means to be a woman and how Jenner will navigate them.

    Or are there no other parts of being a woman?

    We are asked to be brave in so many ways. Working to achieve a certain appearance may be one of them but I’d rather see how people apply their energy beyond the wardrobe. Especially at age 65. And then, I know too many transitioning people who are desperate for the financial, medical, psychological, and social support they need. Jenner’s experience may give them hope. Or it may make them even more aware of what a mockery the glamorous images can make of their lived lives. Or both.

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    • I saw the photo shoot as claiming herself in the most public way possible. I’m a big fan of chutzpah. This was that.

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  5. Absolutely ADORE this post. Your perspective is so fantastic and this post made me laugh many many times. And cheer. And think. Mahalo for your words and, as always, your voice.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve had an older couple living next to me for years, and I will admit the first time I saw him outdoors in a dress, pantyhose and heels I was surprised – he’s probably in his early 70’s. I’ll even admit to a little bit of snickering. But I started thinking about how I would feel if it was my dad instead of someone elses dad, and now it doesn’t seem like any big deal.

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  7. Ok, I just published a piece about Caitlyn! Mine is pretty amateurish next to yours. But the spirit us the same. She is one gutsy dame!

    Liked by 2 people

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