The Kardashians have made a name discussing and doing just about everything on television for a buck. As part of the Keeping Up With the Kardashians moneymaker, Bruce Jenner has stayed in the limelight, albeit peripherally. This had to have made his decision to transition from male to female even harder. But instead of avoiding the cameras, the judgements, the stares, the now-Caitlyn is letting television document it all.
Given the crass and rather shallow journey of KUWTK, I didn’t know what to expect with the premiere of I Am Cait. It could be preachy and alienate the uneducated. Or it might be disrespectful to the thousands of everyday folk who deal with this issue without the cash flow and celebrity endorsements.
I Am Cait was neither.
It begins at 4am with Cait in bed unable to sleep. She’s exhausted, make-up free and fearful of the day ahead. She is going to introduce her mother and her sisters to Caitlyn.
It’s a strange phenomenon. Cait is often referred to as a separate entity. In the car on the way to the house, the family discusses who has met “her.” Since she and Bruce are essentially the same person, they have met “her.” Just not with full make-up.
If anything, it’s simply a name change and a make-over. Sean P Diddy-Puff Daddy-Diddy Combs does it every couple of years.
Upon arriving, they look for differences. She’s in heels, so she’s taller. But they’re surprised she has the same sense of humour.
Cait thoughtfully invites a women from the Gender Centre to help with any questions they have. And according to her, pronouns are very important here.
So at what point is Bruce a “he” and Cait a “she”? With Mama Esther Jenner grappling to understand the source of it, she asks if Bruce’s childhood dislike of his new clothes was a sign of this.
It’s a thoughtful question that proves his mother is trying to understand her son’s life. However, the answer comes with a gentle correction. “Yes, Cait was aware she didn’t want to wear little boy clothes.”
Yet, later when Cait hits the tennis courts with her sister in a little dress, she doesn’t know what to do with the extra balls saying, “Guys … we have pockets.” “We”? So even Cait occasionally misuses a pronoun.
Cait is using this show to help families and to educate the public about transgender issues. She’s has been targeted by some women for not understanding the female experience. But at 65, she’s learning what most girls learn between the ages of 14 and 30.
So she goes out in full make-up every day. What teenager doesn’t?
This series is a journey I’m looking forward to taking with Caitlyn Jenner. We all have something to learn if we’re willing. Even Mama Jenner who battled pronouns and struggled with the name change makes a telling slip at the end of her visit: “I love Her with all my heart.”
Correct pronoun and all.