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“Caitlyn Jenner Is Not A Real Woman”

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Case chapter.

Recently, the news/entertainment website Buzzfeed, interviewed the talk of the year, Caitlyn Jenner. In the short interview, Buzzfeed asks Jenner “what made you feel the most proud to be a woman in 2015?” and “What would you say was the hardest thing about being a woman in 2015?” Many reacted negatively to the interview expressing in the comments that Jenner will never be a true woman because she has and never will experienced the ‘true’ woman hardships that real women go through, commenting, “it takes more than looking like a woman to be a woman,” “no uterus, no opinion”, or “She got to forgo some of the hardest years being a woman… there is something little insulting about Caitlyn’s womanhood platform.” As harsh as these comments may be, through those comments arises an important question, “then what makes a woman, a woman? What are the qualities of a ‘true’ woman?”




If being a woman means having a uterus and all the “biological” factors that a female has, I don’t think I can agree. I encompass the biological definition of a woman, but deep down, we all know that my boobs, vagina, and estrogen hormones aren’t the only things that make me a woman. Having children and a husband, doesn’t make you a mum or a great wife. Bringing home the bacon, and having a wife, doesn’t make you a great dad or husband. Your M.D. doesn’t make you a great doctor. Over and over again, I have seen where professors, older sisters, friends, aunts, uncles, the next door neighbours have been better mothers and fathers for a child than their “biological” parents could ever be. I have first hand experienced a doctor being nothing but a walking medical encyclopedia. This being said, I’m not discounting every mother and father, nor the amazing doctors that have saved my life. All I’m trying to say is that, just because you have that title or position, does not make you that label.


If being a woman means going through true womanly hardships, I don’t think I can agree. Yes, as women we go through extremely difficult situations that only females may experience. Childbirth, abortions, bodily changes, walking home at night: they’re all real hardships and the emotions that one may go through after those kind of experiences are excruciating. However, that does not mean Caitlyn Jenner hasn’t experienced the turmoil or the painstaking emotions that a woman has gone through. You know what Caitlyn Jenner has experienced that we haven’t experienced? The physical and emotional difficulty of being an olympic gold medalist, stealing women’s clothing from family members in order to wear what she truly desired, being told to cut her hair as a male because it didn’t look good on her, painting her toenails her favourite colour to match the season, then having to wear socks to hide them, repressing all “female” feelings she might have had as a male, because it wasn’t socially acceptable.


I have the “biological” elements of what a woman should have, but that doesn’t make me a great woman. It’s everything together. Just because Caitlyn Jenner didn’t experience going through puberty, having a menstrual cycle, seeing bodily changes happen to your body, giving childbirth, doesn’t make her any less of a woman. She just had a different path to becoming a woman, and that’s okay. Her road to becoming a woman is just as real and alive as any other person who identifies themselves as a female. I’ve met girls who have never had their period because of their eating disorder. I’ve met women who never had physical changes in their bodies during puberty because of their disabilities. My high school coach and millions of women may never experienced childbirth due to infertility. However, they’re just as “womanly” as the next female walking by me. In fact, those girls and my coach are probably one of the bravest, most inspiring women that I have ever met and for me to be just a fraction of the women that they are, would be an honour.


Many people seem to so caught up in Caitlyn’s hair, clothes, and makeup that they completely forget or choose to ignore the second part of her answer. She answers, “The hardest part about being a woman, is figuring out what to wear” may be her finding humour in something that is more serious. She continues and explains “but… it’s more than that. I’m kind of at this point of my life where I’m trying to figure out this woman thing out. It is more than hair, makeup, clothes, and all that kind of stuff. There’s an element here, that I’m still kind of searching for. Ummm, and I think that will take awhile.” Why are we bashing on someone who’s advocating for us? Someone who is proclaiming, “I have found that women have such unleashed power, that they don’t really utilize because they don’t have confidence in themselves about who they are and what they can do… I think I’ve learnt a lot from [strong women], that the power of the women has just not even been unleashed in the world… and I think it will come… and I am so glad to be on this team.” Why are you hating on someone that loves and fully embraces the womanhood and the beauty of the journey of becoming a woman?


You know what makes a woman, a woman? Someone who inspires other women to be confident in who they are and all that they are as a female, someone who loves herself and is on a continuous journey to find herself, and someone who embraces all the different hardships and joyous times of life that her womanhood may bring but rides the rollercoaster of life with acceptance, love, and hope. So, if you want to tell me that Caitlyn Jenner isn’t a “real” woman because she will never experienced true womanhood; you’re going to have to come to me with a better reason than, “she never got her period, she never will go through childbirth” because look around you, the most beautiful and inspiring women around us are not defined by the hardships that they have overcome, but rather who they are as a whole.

Nicole is a junior studying nutritional biochemistry and psychology. She soon hopes to obtain a driver's license, because she will cry if she has to carry around her passport for much longer.