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I AM CAIT Misses the Mark

Marion Charatan

Posted on January 14, 2016 22:04

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Caitlyn Jenner has a great opportunity to raise awareness and improve acceptance of transgenders. Her television show misses the mark.

One can only imagine the trauma of not being comfortable in your own skin. Bruce Jenner didn’t just wake up one morning thinking ‘I’m not a man: I’m really a woman.’ His seemingly overnight transformation was effectively a lifelong process, culminating at the age of 65 with surgical procedures to start gender reassignment.

‘I Am Cait' debuted July 26, 2015. The program chronicles Jenner’s transition - with an assorted cast of characters like Candis Cayne, an American actress and performance artist and writer/actress Jen Richards, who both changed from male to female years ago- along with a potpourri of Kardashian/Jenner family members.

Caitlyn, formerly known as Bruce, Jenner has the opportunity to raise awareness and acceptance about transgender issues. However, the show misses the mark because there is such a heavy focus on superficiality and ‘girl time.’

I have read that Jenner’s ‘friends’ auditioned for their roles. OK, fair enough, it’s a TV show and television, even a reality show, is fantasy. But the reality is that a good deal of air time shows Jenner either riding in his rented-for-the-show Lamborghini, having her hair fussed over by a stylist, shopping with Candis Cayne, or hanging out with newfound friends in privileged settings.

Most people have not accumulated the enormous wealth the former Olympian has. That is Caitlyn Jenner’s good fortune. 'I Am Cait'  paints a skewed version of what life is like for transgender folks because the majority of them don’t have the resources Jenner has. Although the extreme inner struggle Jenner faced is talked about and there are some very worthwhile events she participates in; overall, the show is not in sync with the heart and soul of those transitioning. It comes across as vapid and seems like a showcase for hair, makeup and clothes without a lot of meat to it.

One episode was poignant. It depicted Jenner’s likeable 89 year old mother Esther trying to come to terms with her only son’s decision to become a woman. Her tears and sadness rang true.

Another episode showed the frustration of aspiring nurse Blossom Brown, a transgender who said she was turned down 6 times for nursing school due to her reassignment. Jenner was so moved that she offered to pay for Brown’s college. There should be more episodes like this.

This is a show that has a great opportunity to improve the lives of a specialized group of people who, by most accounts, suffer tremendously. ‘I Am Cait’ needs to focus on their stories more and less on the latest blow dry style or the most expensive car on the road. Superficiality has to take second place in light of the emotional struggles that Jenner has emphasized he and others have to live with.

Marion Charatan

Posted on January 14, 2016 22:04

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Source: TVGuide.com

At the Television Critics Association winter previews Thursday, a reporter asked Caitlyn Jenner what advice she would give...

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