When Caitlyn Jenner unveiled herself to the public on Monday, the reaction that followed was largely positive (save for a few predictably rotten apples). But the underlying problem in which the way women are perceived did not escape the attention of Jon Stewart, who slammed media coverage of Caitlyn Jenner for being solely focused on her looks.
The media reacting to Jenner's reveal positively was encouraging, but Stewart took issue with their obsession with the way she looked. "It's really heartening to see not only is everyone willing to accept Caitlyn Jenner as a woman," Stewart said in his Tuesday segment, "but to waste no time in treating her like a woman."
He then showed a montage of news anchors weighing in on how "hot" and "sexy" Jenner looked. Stewart added:
You see, Caitlyn when you were a man, we could talk about your athleticism, your business acumen. But now you're a woman — and your looks are the only thing we care about.
Stewart then showed anchors comparing Jenner's body to stepdaughter Kim Kardashian West and ex-wife Kris Jenner. "Look, we want to give a woman a compliment here," Stewart said, sarcastically. "We just need to make sure another woman gets taken down a peg in the process."
While it's natural for anyone to react, right off the bat, to how Jenner looks on the Vanity Fair cover, it's far more important to note why her public transition is a cultural milestone. After decades in the spotlight as America's symbol of male athleticism, and later as the patriarch of a high-profile family, that Jenner is willing to put herself under media scrutiny — which can be harsh and unforgiving — during an intensely personal period deserves more attention and credit than it has yet gotten.
As transgender icon Laverne Cox wrote about Jenner's introduction:
Yes, Caitlyn looks amazing and is beautiful but what I think is most beautiful about her is her heart and soul, the ways she has allowed the world into her vulnerabilities. The love and devotion she has for her family and that they have for her. Her courage to move past denial into her truth so publicly. These things are beyond beautiful to me.
"Caitlyn Jenner," Stewart said. "Congratulations. Welcome to being a woman in America."
Watch the video below: