Caitlyn Jenner can’t seem to win with anyone in California but that doesn’t change how much she wants to be both accepted by the Republican Party and the state as the new future governor in the upcoming California governor special recall election.
Polling at just 6 percent of the possible vote recently, the outlook for Jenner’s political career doesn’t look too good. And her comments on CNN today about the Texas abortion ban are likely not going to do her any favors — though she seems to believe the opposite. “I support Texas in that decision,” Jenner said during her interview, when asked about the six-week limit and de facto ban being brought in by hardline Republicans in the state. She added that she is “for a woman’s right to choose” but also “for a state having the ability to make their own laws,” which apparently trumps the former.
Back in July, Jenner was met with backlash from left-wing commentators for attending the right-wing convention CPAC. And her own party hasn’t exactly embraced her wholeheartedly either, deadnaming her and greeting her with harassment as she walked the conference halls. While it seemed for a moment that right-wing political pundit Tomi Lahren might be a friend to Jenner, it was short-lived. Lahren quickly made sure it was known that she wasn’t intending to make a show of trans acceptance: “I don’t support Caitlyn Jenner because she’s trans,” she said when asked, but instead because of her confidence in Jenner’s commitment to the party’s conservative values being good for California.
Despite the fact that it has often been an uphill struggle for her even to be accepted as a woman by the party she affiliates herself with, Jenner has benefited from a huge amount of privilege. Her name recognition and her enormous wealth has given her an ability to dance through obstacles as they’ve come for her. And she’s aware of it: “I have a tremendous advantage, obviously, because of name recognition,” she stated in an interview at a press conference back in July. Even without her former partner Kris Jenner and after a plunge in incoming wealth (per Bloomberg), Jenner is still worth approximately $100 million, per a report on Celebrity Net Worth.
Caitlyn Jenner’s strongest privilege has been something most trans folks can only dream to obtain: mainstream acceptance and support for her identity. It’s something many women are advocating to become normalized for everyone, including those who don’t have the opportunity to get the expensive and politically controversial gender-affirming surgeries that Jenner has been able to access.
It’s clear, however, that women’s rights are not at the forefront of Jenner’s own concerns. “That’s their decision. I’m OK with that,” she said today of Texas. The fact that Jenner can be “OK with that” — “that” being the oppression of thousands of women living in her own country, because of the actions of her own party — while being interviewed from her mansion in Malibu is a frustrating testament to her privilege yet again.
People might forget but once upon another time, Jenner’s parents did everything they could to support her as an athlete. They spent extra efforts to ensure that she could have the privilege of using her talents to becoming a champion Olympian. Meanwhile, Jenner, on the opposite side, has made comments against including trans women in sports. It’s frustrating that a woman who went through so much hardship to become her authentic self finds it so easy to dismiss the rights and concerns of her fellow women, both cis and trans alike.
Between Jenner and Larry Elder, I’ve got to say that I’m frankly frightened to be a woman in California right now. Republicans have never been big on bodily autonomy, but it’s almost worse to hear Jenner’s flippant nonchalance when it comes to the abortion ban, as if it is even possible to be pro-choice while at the same time shrugging your shoulders at repressive laws that take away that choice entirely. Perhaps Jenner’s lack of concern is the same reason so many Republican politicians don’t care about women’s rights: Rich women will always be able to get abortions, and every member of the GOP knows that deep down to be true.
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