In the midst of the outpouring of support Bruce Jenner has received from fellow celebrities, it looks like there is at least one celebrity who feels differently. Ever since Bruce Jenner said in an interview with Diane Sawyer, "For all intents and purposes, I am a woman," on Friday, many pop stars and actors have publicly stated or tweeted well wishes to him. But Star Trek Into Darkness actress Alice Eve criticized Bruce Jenner's gender identity, according to BBC. In an Instagram post, which has since been deleted, Eve allegedly said,
If you were a woman no one would have heard of you because women can't compete in the decathlon. You wouldn't be a hero. You would be a frustrated young athlete who wasn't given a chance ... Until women are paid the same as men, then playing at being a "woman" while retaining the benefits of being a man is unfair. Do you have a vagina? Are you paid less than men? Then, my friend, you are a woman.
You're forgiven if you had to read the post a few times. The statement is a head scratcher, for sure. But it seems like Eve was making the argument that Jenner can't be a woman since he did not deal with gender discrimination at the Olympics, when he was still presenting as male. And it sounds like Eve was also saying that Jenner can't be a woman because he did not deal with the gender wage gap, because he was born with male sex organs. Clearly, her alleged words leave something to be desired, and not only clarification. Bustle has reached out to Eve's rep for comment, but has not yet heard back.
In terms of Eve's reported commentary on gender identification, it is well known that some people's gender identity does not match the physical sex they are born with, as the American Psychological Association explains. It is really up to each individual person as to how they identify, regardless of what sex organs they have. So that part of the argument is null. And in terms of the actress' reported commentary on gender equality, equal pay and opportunity for men and women is an important discussion, but it does not fit here.
After all, equality in terms of the gender wage gap and opportunities to compete in certain athletic events are privilege-related issues. It is definitely not fair that in 2015, men are still paid more than women. And you can definitely argue that it is unfair that women cannot compete in specific athletic events, especially if they have the physical strength and capacity to do so. But it is worth keeping in mind that being cisgender comes with privileges all its own, which, according to Eve's alleged statement, she seems to be ignoring entirely.
Being cisgender means that not only do you never have to "come out" about your gender identity — as in our society it is seen as the default — being cisgender means that you will likely never want or need expensive therapy or surgery that often accompanies transitioning. And being cisgender means that whether or not you undergo therapy and/or surgery, your gender identity will not be the subject of critiques. So if Eve's alleged argument was that Bruce Jenner can't be a woman because he has too much privilege, it is sorely lacking. Also, if we're talking money, the average trans person has issues with that all on its own. Sure, someone as rich as Jenner may not ever hurt for cash, but other members of the trans community may be struggling to get hired and keep jobs, as reported by CNN Money.
So hopefully, Eve has had some time to reconsider her stance on Jenner and how privilege factors in. After all, equal pay is obviously an important issue for her, so it seems fitting that she would support equal pay — and equal rights — for all. In any case, an image on her Instagram now seems to support exploring gender identity, as seen below.
Editor’s Note: Per Jenner’s stated preference, Bustle will continue referring to Jenner using he/his pronouns for the time being. We will follow his lead and make any changes to this policy as needed in the future.
Image: Getty Images