Daniel A. Cohen
Arizona State University, Online
Representations of Gender in Television: Bruce, Caitlyn Jenner
Caitlyn Jenner, the woman formerly known as Bruce Jenner, who’s unofficial title of “world’s greatest athlete” for winning the 1976 Olympic decathlon, earlier this year revealed herself on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine. This transgender woman's coming-out is a major moment in pop culture history. Xeni Jardin (2015, June 1). How to talk about Caitlyn Jenner: a guide to speaking and writing about transgender people. BOING BOING. Retrieved from http://boingboing.net/2015/06/01/how-to-talk-about-caitlyn-jenn.html. To analyze my text, Bruce, Caitlyn Jenner; I have chosen the framework of Gender Presentation as Representations of Gender in Television.
Professor Raewyn Connell, University of Sydney, Australia, a transgendered female, who is known internationally for her studies on masculinity, answers the question “What are Hegemonic Masculinities?” “Masculinities also concern relationships among men, so that one of the things research has repeatedly shown in different parts of the world is a kind of hierarchy among masculinities where, in a given community or given organization, one kind of masculinity is the honored one, is the top-dog, so to speak, the hegemonic pattern of masculinity.” Professor Raewyn Connell. 2010, October 11. Professor Raewyn Connell Gender Justice Information. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYboMmQS0tU#t=84. Based on this, I would like to research how Bruce Jenner’s Gender Presentation has been viewed on television as a Hegemonic Male, “American Super Hero” and how Caitlyn Jenner will present as a woman.
As a confused young child, Jenner saw himself living in fear of his gender identity and saw himself as an outcast. He chose to run away from his fear and through view of manhood and norms of masculinity such as sports. According to Jenner (2015), “I was a dyslexic kid, I was suffering from gender dysphonia.” Since a young age Bruce could tell that he was confused about his gender. Most children confused about their gender find it hard to speak out and seek help. If Jenner had been able to seek help at a younger age he would have been diagnosed with a gender identity disorder, which is conceptualized as a desire to socially and physically inhabit the role of the opposite sex (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).
“For people who are transgender, the realization that they feel different from others also can be very difficult. They may face rejection, discrimination, and even anger from people who don’t understand transgender identity, and it can be a challenge to deal with others’ reactions. Not everyone is tolerant or accepting, and transgender teens can face situations that can feel hostile and be unfair. This may lead to feelings of depression and isolation.” Fritz, G. (2012, October 1). Transgendered Youth. The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter, 28, 1–2. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1TMmzEn
Jenner wasn’t happy with his life or the social expectations of his gender. Jenner (2015) explains, “I look at guys and I go, he’s comfortable in his own skin. Wouldn’t that be a nice way to go through life? I look at women all the time thinking oh my god how lucky are they that they can wake up in the morning and be themselves. But me, I’m stuck here in the middle; I don’t have anywhere to go…where do I go?” It wasn’t till Jenner was in his 40’s when he was able to find answers and took steps to make changes his appearance and received plastic surgery, laser hair removal surgery to his face and body. Jenner even went as far as to be prescribed female hormones and “did them for five years” (Jenner, 2015). In an interview with Diane Sawyer, she asked him how about his appearance as a gold medalist athlete. Jenner (2015) responds that he was “a confused person at that time. I was running away