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“I Am…”: Caitlyn Jenner, Jazz Jennings and the cultural politics of transgender celebrity

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journal contribution
posted on 24.01.2022, 14:05 authored by Michael Lovelock
In the twenty-first century, the visibility of transgender celebrities appears greater than ever. Whilst scholarly work has analysed, and continues to analyse, representations of trans celebrities, this research has largely approached these figures as significant because they make transgender visible, rather than because of the more specific fact that they are celebrities. This article interrogates the role of discourses and tropes of celebrity itself in enabling particular incarnations of trans subjectivity to become intelligible within popular culture. Focusing upon the examples of Caitlyn Jenner and Jazz Jennings, two of the most widely circulated trans celebrities in the contemporary moment, I argue that the tropes of authenticity, self-reflexivity, self-revelation and manufacture central to celebrity culture, have functioned as core discursive frameworks through which Jenner and Jennings’ transgender identities have been rationalised within the popular media. In becoming legible as transgender through celebrity, I argue that Jenner and Jennings’ media narratives have worked to confer recognisability to a highly limited model of transgender life, fraught with exclusions around race and gender normativity.

History

Published in

Feminist Media Studies

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Citation

Lovelock, M. (2017) '“I Am…”: Caitlyn Jenner, Jazz Jennings and the cultural politics of transgender celebrity', Feminist Media Studies, DOI: 10.1080/14680777.2017.1298649

Print ISSN

1468-0777

Electronic ISSN

1471-5902

Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Education and Social Policy

Copyright Holder

© The Publisher

Language

en