NEW YORK – Bruce Jenner was celebrated as an Olympic hero. And when Bruce appeared as Caitlyn on the cover of Vanity Fair, Jenner was feted as a transgender hero.
But some are now criticizing a glut of subsequent stories on Jenner's body and clothing style with headlines like “Caitlyn Jenner opts for lace cleavage baring dress.” So has a potentially pioneering moment become nothing more than a "who wore it best" contest?
Paper Magazine Editorial Director Mickey Boardman told FOX411 the objectification of Jenner is not surprising.
“People began objectifying Caitlyn the moment she appeared as a woman. On social media the reaction was very positive but often with a sinister misogynist tone,” Boardman said. “People would post that Caitlyn looked hot, the ultimate compliment in our society for a woman, and that she was hotter than her ex-wife Kris Jenner. Caitlyn was a woman for one day and already she was in a beauty competition with her female family members.”
Therapist Donna Riley, who transitioned from male to female and who treats many transgendered clients, said the media is treating Jenner in the manner they treat all women.
“The media, unfortunately, has done to her what they have done to most women,” Riley said. “I would hope with the reality show and in the continuing media that’s following her we would see the person.”
Boardman said the coverage of Caitlyn vs. Bruce highlights the gender disparity of men versus women in the media.
“Hopefully the fact that Caitlyn has been Bruce and we have those experiences to compare, we can see just how objectified women are in the media,” Boardman said, adding that tabloids and entertainment talk shows are especially critical of females. “Tabloids are extreme versions of that view of women. Either they’re too skinny and have an eating disorder or are too fat and must be pregnant. There’s no winning for women in the tabloid sphere. I’m sure at some point someone will ask Caitlyn how she balances having a career and having children, a question that no man in history has ever been asked.”
Christian Beranek, a transgendered woman, explained how jarring the transition from male to female can be.
“A newly transitioned male to female loses their male privilege,” Beranek said. “No one really pays attention to you and then you start appearing as female it does create some different issues and feelings.”
Beranek does allow that the media may be focusing on Jenner’s physical appearance because they don’t have much else to go on at this point, since the E! docu-series, “I Am Cait,” has not aired yet.
“Caitlyn has the ability to correct the narrative herself and now that’s it out there it would be great if she could re-direct to the issues,” Beranek said. “She has a great chance to help people.”
“America’s Next Top Model” contestant Isis King was the first transwoman to compete on the popular show, and says she see the problems the media is having handling Jenner’s story.
“The real problem is the media using the proper pronouns. I watch some of these talk shows and I’m mortified by the disrespect,” King said. “I understand this is new to most people seeing an American hero do something so drastic in the public eye. It of course though starts with Caitlyn reminding everyone that the American hero is still in her.”
Nick Adams, GLAAD’s Director of Programs for Transgender Media and a transgendered man, hopes Jenner can help inform the public about the perils transgender individuals face.
“The reality is that nine transgender women have been murdered in the past six months, trans people can be fired in 32 states simply for being transgender, and they still cannot serve openly in the U.S. military,” Adams said. “The tremendous support that Caitlyn Jenner is receiving will hopefully lead people to see the importance of making the world a safer place where all trans people can live safe, happy lives without fear of violence, discrimination, and poverty."
Riley hopes Jenner focuses on helping others and doesn’t get caught up in the vanity of designer clothes, hair and make-up.
“Don’t transition to be a bimbo,” Riley said. “Just because we transition doesn’t mean we have to play into society what society expects of us.”