Body-Image and Trans Women – Briefly

This is a topic I think about often, and I want to thank my friend GenderBitch for posting on this. I will flesh this out more in another article, but I’ll just add to the information on the link. I distinctly remember feeling weird and angry whenever I’d watch images of women in advertising. As my body developed, and I was SERIOUSLY NOT shaping into anything resembling what society was telling me my body should be (curvy, “pretty”, hairless, etc.) I internalized those feelings and warped them into some seriously messed up body-image issues. People who say that trans women are not affected by gendered imagery and messages as children are very wrong. We likely deal with those messages differently (mostly because our caregivers don’t know how to help us process those massages), but we still deal with them and – alas, so many of us stall our transition because we are afraid that we won’t be able to be remotely attractive. I did it, many of my friends did it, and I have to say the #1 question I get asked by people considering transition is “Will I be/can I be pretty?”

My contention is that every trans woman is pretty damn HOT! Period. But, I’d be a liar if I said that my first two years were not spent painfully worrying if my face and body would be able to correctly convey the person I was. I’d like to pin it all on wanting to feel safe and avoid violence (which is a very true thing), but there was a huge fear that I would be ugly and alone.  It’s silly, it’s shallow, and it’s illogical in many respects, but none the less very true.

EDIT: Genderbitch follows up with a HIGHLY insightful post on how trans women totally screw ourselves and each other over regarding body image.


~ by laughriotgirl on October 15, 2009.

4 Responses to “Body-Image and Trans Women – Briefly”

  1. Everyone has a niche that they fit into; the first step to liberation is to stop worrying about what people think. You are who you are and some find that to be the most beautiful thing in the world.

    • It isn’t totally what people think, although that plays a part in it. It’s (for me) a double-whammy of receiving and applying the messages that girls get about bodies (don’t be fat, big boobs are better, on and on and on) and the understanding that my body would not naturally come even close to any of that.

      That level of disdain for my body has been nearly impossible to shake. It’s better, and I don’t think I want to alter my body any further – but it’s there. I have some physical features that could mark me as trans (hands, feet, arm length) and I am always aware of them.

      It is a complicated set of messages that I have to sift regarding my body both as a woman and as a trans woman.

  2. Although I am “male”, I relate to many of your comments. My parents wanted a girl and I knew it. I felt a strong favorable bias toward being female. I remember the little ditty “little boys are made of snails and puppy dog tails and little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice”. I resented this, I wondered, whats wrong with being a boy? I did put on make up once and my mother got very upset and the neighbor kids laughed. I liked being around girls (not being very athletic). High school was a nightmare, i was cursed by being extremely horny and extremely shy. Anyway, I got married had kids and a “normal” sex life. Now I am interested in transsexuals, I guess mainly because of their unique mystical beauty. This comes from my studies of Eastern Mysticism and Tantric worship of the female/male duality. I think transsexuals could relate well to various aspects of Tantric philosophy. I know it helped me deal with my male ego.

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