But now you’re a woman

And someone else saying it; Jon Stewart this time.

Yet another reason to mourn Jon Stewart’s imminent departure from The Daily Show: On Tuesday night, Stewart tore apart the media’s coverage of Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover for focusing on her looks.

After a montage of anchors noting how momentous Jenner’s debut is—which Stewart praised—the Daily Show host launched right into this: “It’s really heartening to see not only is everyone willing to accept Caitlyn Jenner as a woman, but to waste no time in treating her like a woman.” Cue another montage, this time marked by cries of “All I can say is, ‘Wow!’”; “She’s hot!”; and “I’m jealous!”

My point exactly.

“You see, Caitlyn,” Stewart said, “when you were a man, we could talk about your athleticism, your business acumen. But now you’re a woman—and your looks are the only thing we care about. Which brings us to Phase 2 of your transition: Comparative F–kability.” Anchors discuss whether Caitlyn is hotter than Jessica Lange, ex-wife Kris Jenner, and step-daughter Kim Kardashian.

Wait what? Step-daughter? Kim Kardashian? Is that a joke? If it’s not a joke I clearly don’t keep up with reality tv enough. I admit it: I prefer “Chopped” to the various Real Housewives one and the Kardashian ones. I don’t actually know who the Kardashians are, apart from people-on-reality-tv.

But anyway – yes – that was my point. Why is it all about her looks and fuckability? Why does woman=beautiful or not-beautiful hence pathetic?

If you answer that question, please do it without using the word “duh.” Thank you.


  1. says

    No joke. Kris Jenner is the mother of Kim Kardashian and her sisters. There was even a thing about how Caitlyn Jenner went with the spelling she did and not “Kaitlyn”.

  2. footface says

    Yes, Bruce Jenner* had been in the public eye for the last few years because of his connection to the Kardashians and was/is married to Kris Kardashian, matriarch of the reality TV Kardashian creatures. You say, “I don’t actually know who the Kardashians are, apart from people-on-reality-tv.” That’s all they all, media creations, professional spectacles.

    *I am referring specifically to Bruce, not Caitlyn, Jenner.

  3. ZugTheMegasaurus says

    Most people I talk to know Jenner from her relation to the Kardashians and are surprised to learn about her Olympic career.

  4. footface says

    (And I apologize if referring to Caitlyn Jenner’s former presentation as Bruce Jenner is insensitive or rude. I wasn’t sure how to refer to the person the public had previously known.)

  5. says

    Ahhhhhhhh, I see. (Of course I could have googled, but it’s more fun to have you guys explain it.)

    That’s an advantage of being ancient then, because the name “Bruce Jenner” did ring a bell with me, as a (vaguely, to me) famous athlete. Kris Jenner or Kardashian, no bell at all.

  6. ZugTheMegasaurus says

    @footface: Go ahead and use her current name and gender identity. If you think about it, that’s how we pretty much always do it when a famous somebody changes their name. When people talk about Muhammad Ali, for example, they don’t jump back and forth between that name and Cassius Clay depending on what year they happen to be referring to. Everyone knows it’s the same person. The same holds for Caitlyn Jenner.

  7. tecolata says

    Because I am a long time sports fan with no interest in popular culture, I knew Bruce Jenner as an Olympian. I had no idea that the person I’d heard of as an Olympic athlete had anything to do with the Kardashians*, correctly referred to as media creation, until the transition when she was referred to as their step-parent.

    *Seriously, aside from the Duggars, has there ever been any less talented family famous for being famous? They are not singers, dancers, actors, not even decent fashion models. Their names are on clothing lines they did not design.

    Jenner, OTOH, was accomplished. And Stewart, as usual, nailed it.

  8. P. Jordan Howell says

    Ophelia, seriously what rock do you live under? LOL. Given the ubiquity of the Kardashian, its rare to find a creature such as yourself who doesn’t know that Caitlyn is connected to them.
    But seriously that she was reduced to her fuckability immediately upon introducing herself to the world was depressing, even if entirely predictable.

  9. jenniferphillips says


    I grew up with Jenner the Decathlete on the Wheaties box, so when Jenner came to town during the last US Track & Field Olympic Trials, I was quite shocked to discover that most younger people knew (then) him only from the Kardashian connection and had no idea about (then) his legendary performance in Montreal. There were all these news articles basically explaining to everyone that yeah, (then) he was kind of a big deal before reality TV was even a thing.

  10. luzclara says

    Well, yes, the answer is yes. (To the Kardashian thing).

    More importantly, Jon Stewart is right. And you said it first. And I thought it too. And I am not transphobic.

    And I thought B. Jenner the Olympian grew up to become a dentist. Am I remembering wrong?

  11. luzclara says

    PS The Kardashian-ettes father was Robert Kardashian, who was OJ’s attorney for about 15 minutes or so.

  12. says

    Wanna know how different men and women are being treated. Talk to someone who have changed gender. I’ve heard people who have transitioned say they get twice as much respect when presenting as male.

  13. jenniferphillips says

    I’ve heard people who have transitioned say they get twice as much respect when presenting as male.

    Me too.

  14. says

    I’ve heard people who have transitioned say they get twice as much respect when presenting as male.

    Me too, too. I remember when Deirdre McCloskey said that.

  15. carlie says

    Ben Barres, neuroscientist, got evaluated differently (and better) as male than when he presented as female:

    At one conference, another scientist said, “Ben gave a great seminar today—but then his work is so much better than his sister’s.” (The scientist didn’t know Ben and Barbara were the same person.)”


  16. Rabidtreeweasel says

    Just so everyone knows, because there seems to be some confusion, the appropriate way to refer to Caitlyn’s past is to use the female pronoun. She was always a woman, but at one point in her life, she was a woman who read as male. If you need to differentiate you might try saying, “When she was known as Bruce” or “when she presented as male.”

    Carry on.

  17. Seeker2 says

    Re: women presenting as male get more respect: anyone who is old enough to remember (then) Bruce Jenner on the Wheaties box after the Olympics probably also remembers the Peggy Fleming haircut: a kind of wedge-bowl-cut hybrid thing worn by the famous ice skater. I had that very haircut when it was popular, and I was about 10 years old, and we went to my grandmother’s town to visit. I was playing outdoors with my cousins and we saw a neighbor fixing his car. We all went over to watch and he told the girl cousins to get lost and started explaining car things to me, not realizing I was a girl, too. When I pointed it out to him, suddenly he got angry with me for “tricking” him (i was wearing the 1970s uniform of jeans and sneakers and a t-shirt), and I was deemed too stupid to talk about car-stuff, whereas when he thought I was a boy, he didn’t have that problem.

  18. iknklast says

    Ophelia, seriously what rock do you live under?

    I think it’s a very large rock. I’m under there with her, and most of the other people I know. There really are a lot of people who don’t know who the Kardashians are (I assume there are separate Kardashians, and they are not just a cluster of something?). Even this discussion has added to my knowledge that they have something to do with a reality show, and apparently with Caitlyn Jenner, but…

    Ophelia, could you move over a bit? It’s getting cramped under this rock, and I think you’re sitting on my foot.

  19. Bluntnose says

    But anyway – yes – that was my point. Why is it all about her looks and fuckability? Why does woman=beautiful or not-beautiful hence pathetic?

    Well, in this particular case, it might have something to do with the woman choosing to spend so much time doing glamour shots in beachwear for magazine covers. Do you really think the media would not comment on the looks of a man if he chose to appear on the cover of Vanity Fair in swimming trunks? David Cameron, British PM, was photographed in his swimming togs on the beach last year by the paps and we talked about nothing else for about a fortnight. Not very flatteringly either.

  20. says

    The way this is treated is about a lot more than her gender. The view of appearance and passability is how trans people (both women and men) are judged. Viewing her based on appearance is part of the conditional acceptance us trans folk get that will determine whether our identities are invalidated or not. John Stewart missed the point, if she didn’t pass the appearance test she wouldn’t be seen as an unattractive women she would be seen as a male. I “pass” (I hate that term) much of the time but I am misgendered pretty regularly and it is not about my relative merits as a bed partner, it is about whether I will be treated as a freak or a women (and much personal safety physically and emotionally is involved). Caitlyn has to look that way for a cover just to get some ability to have herself treated as the person she is.

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