Jon Stewart: Is the Media Focusing Too Much On Caitlyn Jenner’s Looks?

Jun 3, 2015 at 1:34 pm |
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Jon Stewart Wants to Know Why We Can’t Stop Talking About Caitlyn’s Appearance

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Over the last few days the coverage of Caitlyn Jenner has fountained over with comments regarding the celebrity’s inaugural appearance as a woman. Her hair, that white satin bodice, those fit legs, doesn’t she look like Jessica Lange, or perhaps Idina Menzel?, and so on and so forth. And fortunately for the most part Caitlyn’s been met with an overwhelming amount of support from the country, which has been beautiful to witness. Of course, you also have a few conservative bottom-feeders trumpeting Caitlyn’s transition as marking the end of western society – but we were expecting that much.

Surprisingly, Jon Stewart has come towards the issue from a more critical perspective — but maybe not in the way that you might think. Instead of analyzing Caitlyn’s transition itself, Stewart focused on criticizing the way in which the media has covered Caitlyn’s story. First Stewart commends the surprising amount of support that Jenner’s received from the media, but then he goes after them for focusing solely on Caitlyn’s looks.

“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,” punted Stewart during last night’s Daily Show. “You see, Caitlyn, when you were a man we could talk about your athleticism, your business acumen,” he said to Jenner about being a woman in this country. “Now you’re a woman, and your looks are the only thing we care about.”

It’s true. It’s only been a few days and we’ve compared Caitlyn’s attractiveness to plenty of other women, slut-shamed her for the outfit she wore in the Vanity Fair photo shoot, called her out for being old, and reminded one another that she probably doesn’t look that great in person — so basically she’s been pinned right up there with every other female celebrity, because these are the same conversations that we’ve always had about women.

But to be fair, this is also the most immediate way Americans know how to deal with this topic. It’s the first time a celebrity has had such a highly publicized sex-change, and the most normative first reaction in dealing with our opinion on the subject is through our visual response. This was an “unveiling,” after all. And the imagery is meant to be a game-changer, and it has been! Bruce’s face has been at the center of his transition all the way from the initial tabloid rumor explosion, across the line to his Diane Sawyer interview. And had Caitlyn not looked absolutely fabulous when they pulled off that white sheet, it might have meant something very different for the future acceptance of trans people in America.

As we continue to get to know Caitlyn, hopefully our secondary reactions will be less superficial, and we’ll begin to have conversations about trans culture in America on a deeper level. Because if her “bangability” is all we can talk about, it’s going to be a long eight weeks as we all watch Jenner’s new E! series I Am Cait. 

And as Stewart mentioned,”So Caitlyn Jenner, congratulations. Welcome to being a woman in America.”


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Have we already picked her appearance to pieces? “Welcome to being a woman in America.”