Someone sent me recent photo of Caitlyn Jenner at some social event. I have to say I was horrified by her masculine body language. Then I went online and looked at her H&M commercial, where she sat on a stool and spoke. I was motified by what I saw and heard. Someone needs to stop playing “The Emperor has New Clothes” when they are in fact, “naked ” and tell Caitlyn Jenner that being a woman is a lot more than serial plastic surgery to refine your facial features, wearing dresses, short skirts, designer clothes, heels and makeup.
Her walk, body language, gestures, voice, and speaking patterns are totally masculine. There is nothing feminine about them. To be blunt, she looks and sounds like Bruce Jenner wearing female clothes and makeup.
No woman would ever stand like this with her legs apart as you can see in this photo. This is extremely male in terms of standing behavior.
Women also don’t clump around with such a masculine walk. Her shoulders are hunched over as she walks like a man, taking such large strides.
The reason I was so upset when I saw these photos was because I had worked with Caitlyn and spent a few hours with her at her Malibu home, trying to give her some basics about feminine body language and speech. The session I gave her was actually filmed for her show on the first season” I am Cait” which never made it to air. Instead, the story line was how Caitlyn shouldn’t have surgery on her vocal cords. Kim Kardashian , Caitlyn’s step -daughter in the episode, made a statement about Caitlyn trying to sound feminine when ordering room service , so that was that. There was no showing of how hard Caitlyn would have to work to achieve a more feminine voice and body comportment.
My intention was not on being showcased in her show. Instead, I would have been happy to be behind scenes to really help Caitlyn with her transition into being a woman, because voice and body language are two of the most important challenges facing transgender individuals, aside from genital reconstruction surgery.
But that was not to be. The producers of “I am Cait” and Caitlyn herself, got their story line with Kim in the forefront , and that was the end of Caitlyn’s speech and voice training- at least with me.
A week after we worked together, Caitlyn got the Arthur Ashe award and moaned to the press how she watched the tape and still thought she sounded like a man. Reading this, I immediately penned a letter to her, letting her know that her treatment on her voice would take more than one session and that it would take a lot of diligence on her part. I said that she would have to work on her voice as well as on her body language. I had the letter messengered to her Malibu hill-top home, so she would be sure to receive it. I offered to help her any way I could and said that I would be there for her .
There was no response- no answer – no communication from her. I later heard that she was working with a transgender individual to help coach her with her voice. I thought that this was like the “blind leading the blind.”.I didn’t think that way because the coach was transgender, but rather because they didn’t have my experience, training and success with as many transgender clients as I had.
Just so you know my background, I am a pioneer in the field of gender differences in communication and even wrote a best selling book on the topic- He Says She Says Closing the Communication Gap Between the Sexes”. I received my training at the University of Michigan, which was a hub for those wishing to undergo gender reassignment surgery, back in the day. There, I saw many men who wanted to now have a more feminine persona. Thus, it was my job to help them by working on their body language, gestures, voice and speech patterns. There was no book to tell you what to do back then, so I worked by the seat of my pants as I helped so many people. Later on, I was the one who taught Dustin Hoffman to sound like a woman in “Tootsie” ( where he won an Academy Award for his performance). Subsequently, I did more research on gender differences in communication when I was a professor at the University of Southern California. I worked with hundreds of transgender clients throughout the years, who were transitioning from male to female and female to male. So with all due respect, who better than me to help Catilyn Jenner? I knew what I was doing and I knew I could effectively help her sound and move like a woman.
But clearly, her transgender voice coach didn’t do the job and /or Caitlyn was not taking care of business and doing the work she needed to do in this crucial area of transition.
When I saw her H&M commercial it was horrific to see her embarrass herself with such a low and masculine voice with masculine inflection patterns and such a heavy resonating tone. Her speech pattern was extremely masculine . Her gestures were also extremely masculine. For instance, as you see in the photo above, women do not gesture with their thumbs up as though they are hitchhiking.
And no woman would ever sit with her legs spread apart like this. Caitlyn’s sitting posture is extremely masculine.
While her hands are clasped, they are clasped in a masculine gesture, with one hand cupped into the other ( like hitting a baseball mitt) . Also ,her legs are so spread apart, illustrating yet another very masculine gesture.
Her posture is off and she grabs her thigh which is also not a feminine gesture.
Besides her masculine voice, walk , gesturing, and poor posture which do not reflect her femininity, I am very worried about her. As you can see in this candid photo of her, she never smiles when captured in public . She does not look happy. She may not have been happy as Bruce, but she is clearly not showing happiness and joy as Caitlyn.
No matter how dolled up she gets or how many procedures she gets, she looks miserable. With her show,” I am Cait” getting cancelled after 2 seasons, and her no longer having a steady media presence, she may get even more depressed. Her lack of acceptance in the transgender community (many of whom resent her being a spokesperson because she does not know the issues and cannot relate to their strife), her being ostracized for her misguided views ( like when Ellen was disgusted with Caitlyn for saying she didn’t believe in gay marriage.) and her fractured relations with family members and one time friends, may further contribute to a serious depression as time goes on.
I worry about this greatly because one of the downsides of making a transition to the opposite sex is that many end up committing suicide. The statistics are staggering. The reason is because so many thought that being a different sex would be the answer to all their problems. But they quickly learn that the reality is that they have even more problems than they did before- with family members not accepting them, more people looking at them as a laughing stock , and not really knowing their place or purpose in society.
Even if they reach out to other transgenders, many of those people are going through their own issues. So it may be like the “blind leading the blind” so to speak. That is why I hope that Caitlyn, for her sake ,has a qualified therapist or many of qualified therapists to help support her through this very serious transition that cannot be taken lightly. Suicide is a very real possibility with transgender individuals and should never be overlooked, even in Caitlyn’s case. Even though she may not consciously want to harm herself, so many transgender clients have done things to harm themselves on a subconscious level ( ie. car accidents, falls, drownings).
While Caitlyn may have always thought of herself in the feminine gender, the fact that she only acted on it as a senior citizen at 64 makes this transition even harder than someone who has come out earlier. As a result, there are more psychological issues and familial and societal issues than ever expected. When one has lived in one gender for 6 decades, it is an even harder transition to which to adapt.
While her marriage to Kris Kardashian may or may not have been in disarray for years the fact that she is no longer married to Kris also creates a lot of changes for Catilyn, especially since Kris was the backbone of their relationship and the reason “Bruce” ever succeeded in the past. It was Kris who made his career as a speaker and public persona with endorsements etc.
Without Kris to do it all and to be there 24/7, life may be a lot harder for Caitlyn. And now that the transition has been made there is no going back to Kirs and how it was before. Kris has moved on with a new boyfriend and new projects and has had to deal with her own pain of literally losing a husband. Kris cannot be ignored in all of this as it is like a death to her. Whether Kirs knew about Caitlyn’s gender confusion before doesn’t matter. Kris lived with it and tried to make a life for herself and her family. Perhaps she felt that this was Caitlyn’s private issue and let her deal with it. But when Caitlyn transitioned so publicly this was clearly not what Kris signed up for. She didn’t expect it and has had to mourn Bruce. If she is like many women I have met who’s husbands change gender, she may never recover from this. It may be embarrassing for her . There may be anger as she may feel betrayed. As a result she may never feel completely comfortable with Caitlyn as she was with Bruce. This is something Caitlyn must be able to accept as a reality. Caitlyn can never expect Kris to be her best friend and have as close a relationship as they once had. With Kris being so concerned about image, the reality is that perhaps Caitlyn’s transition is not the image she wants to have in her life.So Caitlyn can;t expect Kris to make it right for her. As a result, this can also be a source of depression.
The physical transition, psychological transition, familial transition , and personal transition can be so overwhelming for anyone. So the fact that Caitlyn’s “I am Cait” show didn’t get renewed may be a blessing in disguise. In my view, she needs to stay off television and out of the limelight for a long, long time. .She doesn’t need to expose herself all the haters and naysayers. Instead, she needs to heal and to deal with all the nuances of her transition . If she doesn’t do that, it is a disaster waiting to happen in my view. I have seen it with my own eyes with countless other transgender clients. She also needs to be around those in her family who actually do want to deal with her and not bother with those who do not want Caitlyn in their life. This is the case with most transgender families as many family members are not thrilled by their transition and cannot accept them no matter what.
No matter what, if Caitlyn really wants to embrace the feminine gender she definitely needs to work a heck of a lot harder and put in her time and the hours and hours of hard work that it takes to sound like a woman. She needs to retrain her voice and her speaking patterns and even re program what she says as well as how she says it.
She needs to put in the hours and hours of study it takes to perfect her feminine gestures to stop gesturing like a man. She needs to put in the hours to stop clumping around and walking like a man.
None of this happens in one two or three sessions. It takes months and months and months of diligent work , if not years. It takes a long time to break habits of muscle memory. As a former class A athlete, Caitlyn has to know this. She also needs to work on her confidence levels ( not the confidence she had a Olympian Bruce Jenner , but the newly fragile confidence she has to build as Caitlyn who is not the Olympian).All of this takes time and a of effort on her part. And finally, while she is working on herself to become a woman, in my view she needs to take time away from thinking of herself and think about others who’s lives she can really impact. It is not impacting the lives of other transgender people as she is a not a role model for them. She needs to get her own act together before she can do that as she has too much work of her own to do. But she can be a role model for young inner city kids or those who want to be athletes. perhaps she can use some of the multi-millions she had made ( thanks to Kris) and apply it to building youth centers to train future athletes.