The other day (disclaimer, my concept of time is garbage and when I say “the other day” I might be referring to yesterday or four years ago) someone innocuously asked why I post pictures of my photo shoots. I didn’t take the question as anything other than innocent curiosity.
I said the short answer was vanity and the longer answer would probably need it’s own post.
And here it is!
Like a lot of questions I am asked (in both of my gender identities) there may be a lot of different reasons I do or say or feel anything. I hate my brain sometimes and I don’t always feel I can provide a short, clear answer to something. It infuriates my already furious boss (seriously he needs to calm down) and having a lot of different perspectives on something can often paralyze my thinking or providing a simple reason why I do anything.
That being said, let’s talk about why I post pictures.
I do want to make it clear that I will probably come off as bitchy here. I don’t mean to. That’s not my intention at all. I don’t feel bitchy. I also want to make it clear that I may come off as conceited. I am not. I know that I post a LOT of pictures and I really like what I post and it’s understandable if someone might feel that I think of myself as cute or whatever. I like how I look AND it doesn’t take much for me to be completely humbled and destroyed by a selfie or my reflection. My ego is kept firmly in check. I might feel amazing as I strut through a mall but an unexpected mirror can easily bring me crashing down to earth.
My website is my website and I post what I feel like posting. If what I post isn’t for you then there are a lot of other options out there.
See, right here is what I mean when I might come off as bitchy. Those previous two sentences are not me being sassy or anything. If I come across a blog or a Twitter account that isn’t for me, then I move on and don’t frequent the site or I mute the account.
Part of having a visible website or a public social media account is the opportunity (or risk) to interact with others and to, well, share one’s thoughts or photos. Sometimes this is an effort to, I don’t know, get compliments? You post a photo you like and hope others like it too. I mean, it feels good to hear nice things about yourself. Sometimes we post to find others like ourselves and to find support. Sometimes we are trying to bring attention to something happening in the world.
Of course, the internet is also a way to share memes and cat pictures so there is that.
I blog and post stuff partly because writing helps me sort out my thoughts. If I didn’t want to interact with others and my social media activity was only about getting my stupid brain activity organized then I would simply make my account private.
Buuuut obviously I don’t do that.
I like to post my writings and thoughts and feelings to see if they resonate with others. To see if others relate. To see if I am not alone in what is going on in my heart or brain. To see if I am waaaay off the mark on something because sometimes another’s perspective or experience can modify my own thinking.
I mean, it’s one of the reasons I started a website all those years ago. When I began I was curious to see if there were others like me. People who loved femme clothes but wasn’t dressing as a sexual fetish or wanting to transition. And guess what! There are A LOT of others like me, a LOT of others like you.
And I like knowing that.
I am not sure if other bloggers (hate that word, lol) feel this way but I feel a…. hm, small obligation to post content that people seem to enjoy or connect with.
That’s not to say I won’t or don’t post whatever I damn well please… but I know certain topics aren’t popular and can be… decisive. It would be easy to write a thousand words every single day about how trans people are treated and write about my frustrations BUT I know that would get really old really fast and would likely drive a lot of readers away.
There are a lot of websites like that out there that communicate this information better than I ever could. If you want to read about that then there a lot of fantastic options.
Over time I’ve learned who my audience (God, that sounds arrogant) is, for the most part. People tend to connect with writings that celebrate who we are, posts that talk about the love and joy of femme clothes and femme presentations. Posts that acknowledge and don’t sugarcoat the complications and realities that THIS side of us can bring.
I think posts like those aren’t toooo common outside of my website so I enjoy creating content that brings comfort to others and being a voice to others who feel alone.
Again, this sounds conceited but it’s not meant to.
I see the activity a post generates, whether it’s emails or comments or likes. This gives me an idea as to what ya’ll like to see and what you ignore.
I don’t think it’s wrong to say that many people with a social media presence try to create content that others enjoy or creates a reaction.
I also look at statistics on my website which gives me an idea as to what visitors look at when they are here. The top three sections of my website that gets the most traffic are the homepage, this post, and photos. Based on this, my assumption is that people WANT to see my photos.
So, I post them.
Of course, this sounds altruistic and I wouldn’t post pictures if I didn’t want to, so there’s the vanity side again.
Alternatively if photo posts had very little activity or views I would likely, well, NOT post them.
Wounded pride and all.
There are a few other reasons? Thoughts? I have when I post pictures.
One reason is that, well, life is short and sometimes it feels that our time is dwindling. This is not to say that a giant asteroid is going to end all life on earth soon (although it might). Rather the day is coming when I CAN’T do the things I love to do. I could have a deliberating stroke and no longer be able to be independent. The time I can’t wake up and get a makeover and spend the day with my friend taking pictures with cute dresses is getting closer. I really, really don’t want to look back and regret not doing something. I have one life and I want to do what I want. I want to do what I can.
And what I can afford, lol.
I write a LOT about the myth of passing and that no one is too ANYTHING to be beautiful or feminine. I can tell YOU that, but telling OURSELVES that isn’t always easy. I will tell every t-girl on the planet that their bodies, their faces, their EVERYTHING is beautiful and femme. BUT sometimes my reflection asks who do I think I am fooling and do I REALLY think I can wear THAT dress with THOSE shoulders?
I can wear a corset to create an illusion of a different body shape, I can wear forms and pads to create shapes, I can contour my makeup to suggest a rounder, softer face. But I can only do so much. My shoulders are always there. My height is always there, more so in heels. If I am practicing what I preach then I have to believe and embrace my skin and body and feel confident and beautiful and wear what I want.
So I put, for lack of a better phrase, my money wear my mouth is.
I’ll wear the dress with the thin straps no matter what my shoulders look like. I’ll wear the five inch stilettos even if I have to duck through doorways. I want to show that no matter how “male” my body is that I can, and I will wear whatever I want. And you can too. And you should, too.
I post pictures to show, hm, evolution? I believe practice makes progress. I believe that a femme presentation takes time, practice, and money. I invest in myself, in my clothes. I invest my time and my energy when I am at the gym and staying in shape. Looking the way I do did not happen quickly or without effort. Again, this sounds conceited but what I mean is it took a long time for me to be happy with how I looked en femme. I saw the hard work pay off. I realized the benefit of quality makeup, the effects that quality breast forms have. The time between these two pictures did not happen overnight. They were taken YEARS apart.
When I tell you to be patient, I mean it.
When I tell you that this will take time, I mean it.
When I tell you that this takes money, I mean it.
Of course I want to be VERY clear that NO ONE needs a pair of $500 breast forms or an expensive makeover to be femme. What I mean is that I absolutely believe that if you aren’t happy with your appearance that investing money or time into your look will likely pay off.
And it’s not ALWAYS about how we LOOK. We HAVE to work on the part of our brain that tells us that we AREN’T pretty. The part of our brain that says we DON’T “pass”. Yes, it’s not easy to create a femme presentation but it’s even harder to deal with the mental hurdles that try to discourage us.
I post pictures to emphasize that there are no standards in looking femme. I mean, look at these shoulders.
I look like a linebacker.
AND I look as pretty as I can.
I can be both.
It would be hypocritical to say that no one is too ________ to be femme BUT tell you all that I myself am too… whatever to wear THAT dress.
And yes, this all sounds very… NOBLE. I don’t feel I am on some giant crusade when it comes to femme presentation and body image. I don’t think of what I do like that. I wouldn’t post pictures if I didn’t WANT to.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy getting a compliment on my look, on a photo. I LIKE being told I am pretty. Shallow? Sure.
I have no idea if this long and rambling post makes anything any clearer or provides a satisfying answer but it is what it is. 🙂
11 thoughts on “The Short Answer is Vanity”
Bitchy? Conceited? Or, perhaps clear, firm, and/or certain.
Body image, self acceptance, and taking a risk by sharing a photo; yeah, I think I can see the requirement for some level of confidence. Arrogance, no, but perhaps a certain amount of ‘thick skin’ or F U to feel the fear and do it anyway.
FWIW, I think when someone does share a photo and there’s a story behind it, we get to hear the poster’s thoughts. The joyous elements, the struggle to get their, and their concerns too. If anything, I think those help pop the bubble of ‘you have to be perfect’. No, we’re all different and we all have elements we like (and dislike) about how we look.
The last photo? I didn’t look to your shoulders. Instead, my eyes was drawn to how happy you looked.
Thanks for sharing.
Sharing your photos with people that you don’t know can be a difficult thing as the Internet is forever… However, I am glad that you choose to do so. As Lynn above, the first thing that I noticed was how happy you looked – in this case, the seated, white dress photo. You do look FAB!
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Keep taking pictures… They are you and are yours to cherish. I know have several hundred and totally enjoy reviewing a batchor two. They tell me I am Marie Anne even if only part time, although the percentage is increasing every day-week-month.
Thanks for the latitude of thught you provide.
Marie Anne Greene
comparative photos-1 =guy 2=guy gone
You did not sound bitchy or anything like that. You do so much for this community with your website and yes by posting your pictures. You should how pretty we all can be. Keep it up darling
I love this! Sharing it on my pages!
I see you as a younger, wise and honest, validating friend. I ‘d love to meet you some day, not en femme, either of us, unless you felt otherwise, and just chat over coffee over lunch. In 60-90 minutes, we might actually find out something more than we think amazingly alike, and probably lie close to the same locus on the spectrum of personality. I both envy, and do not envy your life circumstances, but basically agree with 85-90 % of what you say. You have helped me in my 8th decade to adapt to circumstances of what I believe is a possible truth, taught me by a workmate lady that the happiest people in the world are married men, and single women. You, and I are kind of both. I’m giving you a tender peck on the cheek, or a manly handshake, both sincere. Both respectful. leri
I post once a week at Kandi’s blog but my answers would be:
3. Affirmation (yes, I was out and did that)
5. If I can do this, you can do it too.
Personally, seeing what you post Hannah gives me ideas. I’ve got guy shoulders too but clothes showing them are too fun NOT to wear. We only do live once and I don’t want my regret to be what might have been.