I love this photo. My makeup was done by friend Corrie Dubay and it was from a photo shoot in January 2019 with my friend and photographer Shannonlee. My legs looks amazing and it’s a cute outfit. More pictures of this outfit can be seen here.
I love this photo. I hate this photo.
And this is all going to sound very shallow and I own that. I also know that my feelings and thoughts are very hypocritical to my core belief: that beauty and femininity has no guidelines, no rules. There is no such thing as passing, it is impossible to be too “male” to be a girl.
But I’m only human. I have my insecurities and I get depressed sometimes when I am en femme or see a certain photo. For every glamorous picture I post, there are five similar shots that are just… ugh and will never be posted. And that is not Shannonlee’s fault. I’m the model, it’s my body, my face, my everything.
If you look at anything long or hard enough, you’ll start to notice little things you missed before. Furthermore, it’s not healthy or recommended to over-analyze or to be super critical of pictures, or of anything, of our femme selves.
But here I am.
So, what do I hate about this picture? Glad you asked.
Let’s look at my face. No matter what direction I am looking or how my head is positioned, my face is my face. Contouring can only do so much. I have a pretty strong jawline and it’s not going to be different no matter which gender I am presenting as. My face looks very male here. Pointing my head down slightly can usually minimizes my jawline, but I clearly didn’t do that here. Perhaps I should hire a modeling coach. 🙂
Same with my shoulders. I look like a linebacker (which is a part of a football team but that’s literally all I know about linebackers). The pose I am (trying to) rock here contributes to how my shoulders look of course as I am supporting my body with my arm, but my God, my frame is huge. I am thankful black is a slimming color and de-emphasizes my shape but this picture makes me wish there was a darker color than black.
Next on my list of self-loathing (not really) is my shape itself. I work hard to stay a size 12 but I have virtually no shape here. No curves at all. Thank God for my thigh pads from the Breast Form Store and for my Dita Corset from Glamorous Corset. Pads, forms, and a corset does amazing things for my shape. I wish I had these essential items for the shoot the above photo is from.
Lastly, my hands. There are many things one can do when it comes to changing the shape or appearance of our bodies. We can contour our faces, we can wear black, we can wear hip/butt/thigh pads (and I do), we can avoid certain patterns on a dress… but I am very self-conscious about my hands. I wear rings in an effort to lessen the manly appearance of them and I suppose I could paint my nails more often than I do, but I try not to draw attention to my hands in my shoots but this photo, due to my pose, make it hard to do that here.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I feel beautiful, I love how I look, I love this picture. Everyday I get emails from girls like us who try so hard to be beautiful. Their heart is aching so much as they yearn to be pretty. I understand. I relate. I am very secure with how I look and who I am, but I have days just like anyone where the dysphoria is killing me and I just want to go back to presenting as male and hide under a rock forever.
As much as makeup, a pretty dress, and killer heels can make us feel feminine, they can also make us feel very… male. As I move from one gender presentation to another, I can see signs of my male self peeking through the cracks of my femme self. My eyeliner might look amazing, but I also see the bags under my eyes. My lips might be the reddest shade in the world, but I also see my male jawline.
Makeup and clothes can only do so much. It’s our attitude that must do the heavy lifting. Our hearts must also work hand-in-hand with our clothes. Yes, a pink dress makes me feel more femme than my suit, but if I am constantly nit-picking at every aspect of my face and body (and hands and…. everything else), the pinkest dress in the world is powerless.
And pink is NOT powerless. And neither are you. Block out the parts of your brain (and society) that tell you that you are not pretty. That you are not beautiful. That you are too male. At the end of the day, there’s only so much we can do when it comes to our bodies. Red nail polish is not going to suddenly give our hands the slim, tapered look we may wish for. Accept it. Own it. Move on. Focus on what you love about yourself. I may have the manliest hands in the world, but my legs are to die for.
If t-girls had a team color, there’s no question it would be pink. Pink is considered to be the most feminine hue of the spectrum. Even “boy clothes” like a dress shirt is commonly looked at as femme. I don’t support or agree with the genderization of anything, whether it is a color or something to wear, but pink is pretty aggressively feminine. And thank God for that.
But pink is more than a color for me. It’s a state of mind. It’s an attitude. I wish I knew how to eliminate dysphoria for good, but it’s not possible. There’s always going to be days, photo shoots, makeovers, pictures… where I feel and look more masculine than I would like. I acknowledge it, and fight it as best as I can. It’s not always going to be a fight I win, but if I think pink, in attitude as well as what color I wear, I can hold my head high (even if my head has the squarest jawline in all of humanity) and love who I am.