10 ways to feel like a girl

From Teen Vogue, 10 Things I Did to Feel Like a Girl When I Couldn’t Transition. A MtF transsexual explains how to feel like a girl before you’ve started taking hormones. Ha! This should be fun.

“I grew my hair!

This was the easiest and cheapest way to progress in my transition because it cost no money at all and I could do it without even thinking. (Of course, I realize that not every girl wants to grow out her hair, but this was something I wanted to do.) Caring for your hair with nourishing treatments and oils can help to make it grow, but the best part about this extra hair care is that I was able to give myself some self-care, too.”

I’ve had short hair for about 10 years. I’ve never nourished my hair with oils and I have no idea why I would. My partner shaves her head herself, and has been sporting a buzz cut since long before I knew her. I also know two other lesbians who shave their heads (I just counted you as a lesbian, FriendPilgrim! Welcome to the club 😉 ) Also, there are tons of straight women with short hair, if you look at the over-40 category. (Not that fashion magazines will ever look at the over-40 category—they simply don’t exist.) If “having long hair” makes you a woman, then lots of actual women aren’t women! And also, important public service announcement, men can have long hair!

“Body hair removal

On the topic of hair: As well as growing it, there may be hair you want to remove. Everyone has different preferences to body hair, but my body hair always made me feel dysphoric. So even though I wasn’t living full time, I’d still do things like shave my legs so I felt more feminine. If you want to also have your hair removed, you can consider laser hair removal on your face (and consider that it’s a process that can take time).”

I just went for about 8 months without shaving my legs, and it was great! I like when I can see my natural body hair—it means I’m not buying into bullshit ideas about what women are and I’m respecting my body as it is. Unfortunately, when the weather gets warm and I start wearing shorts, I usually cave in and shave once in a while. Not because that’s what I’m naturally inclined to do, but because I have a job and I’m expected to look professional at work. If women weren’t required to shave, we’d be seeing lots more female body hair around. If this guy wants to shave his legs, he can absolutely do that! There are actually men who shave their legs, like cyclists for example. That doesn’t make them women.

“Moisturizer is everything

I took time every day to moisturize my body from head to toe, and I don’t mean just slapping it on in a rush! I really took time to connect with myself — massaging it into my skin, showing my body some love. This really helped me battle my body dysmorphia and it improved my skin; win, win.”

I think it’s great if people with body dysphoria take some time to self-care and appreciate their bodies. That’s a really good strategy to deal with dissociation. However, moisturizer has nothing at all to do with being male or female.

“I painted my nails

Similarly to the moisturizing routine, this was a way of showing my body and myself some love. Looking down and seeing a feminine hand is a small but significant way I would affirm my gender to myself during this period where I wasn’t allowed or able to express it to the rest of the world. I wasn’t confident enough to go for a bold color during this period, so I’d just keep them filed and buffed with a coat of clear gloss, but this was enough to keep me feeling feminine during this hard time. Try it!”

Hmm, when was the last time I painted my nails? I have no idea. I absolutely hate nail polish. And I’ll tell you a story of when I got my fingernail assaulted while in a mall. So I was walking along and there was one of those booths in the center with beauty products, and there were ladies ambushing random passers-by with their beauty products. One of them grabbed me, and being only a teenager, I didn’t feel confident enough to say “back off and don’t grab me.” She demonstrated this nail thing where you polish the surface of the nail so it’s smooth instead of slightly ridged like usual. She showed me how smooth my nail was. I thought this was completely nonsensical and I had no idea why I would want to smooth the natural ridges on my nails. Also, I hadn’t consented to having my nail worked on and I honestly felt assaulted. I ran out of there as soon as she loosened her grip. When the writer of this article says he likes to look down and see a “feminine hand” that makes me feel queasy. I definitely don’t want “feminine hands” and I don’t want to ever modify my fingernails ever again.

“I practiced my voice

I began working on my voice. Sadly for us transgender girls, unlike transgender guys, hormones don’t do anything to our voices, so if you want a more feminine one (not everyone does!) you’ll have to train it yourself. There are loads of YouTube videos that will teach you how do this. It takes time and practice, though, so if this is something you want for yourself, get on with it as soon as possible. Alternatively, if this is something you don’t care about, good for you — that’s one less thing to worry about.”

Right. So you practice speaking in a silly falsetto voice that apparently you’re going to have to use for the rest of your life because you’re pretending to be a woman? Have fun with that.

“I practiced wearing makeup

Firstly, let me say that no, you don’t have to wear makeup to be a woman. But if makeup is something you want to use, it does take some practice! I’ve realized that this waiting time is the perfect opportunity to perfect the craft. One way to start learning the basics is to look up “morning routine” videos, where makeup artists show you their daily makeup routine.”

I have never “practiced wearing makeup” in my life. I have worn makeup a few times—although not very many times. When I was a teenager I wore blue lipstick for a while, and my parents said it made me look dead. I wasn’t a goth, but I still thought that was cool. I was a teenager, you know? I also used to wear cover-up for blemishes, but I stopped doing that when I got older. Now I just wear a bit of mascara whenever there’s a job interview or a wedding, which happens once every few years. There is absolutely no way I would ever have a “daily makeup routine.” What a waste of time and money!

“I started my wardrobe

I started building up my female wardrobe, which helped me feel like I was progressing. If you’re tight on money, I suggest making a Pinterest board of clothes you want to (and will!) wear.”

Most of the women I interact with hate buying clothes. We’re not all the girls from Sex and the City, you know? Lots of us are fat or plain-looking and find clothes shopping a horrible chore. If I could, I would live in jeans and a T-shirt all the time.

“Started saving money early

I started saving my money. Transitioning can be expensive, especially if you want any surgery (though not everyone does, which is totally OK). But even the things like laser hair removal, makeup, and a new wardrobe add up. Saving money means you’re still progressing toward your goal and not staying stagnant during this period of waiting.”

Ever heard of the pay gap? If you want to feel like a woman, what you need is less money.

“I learned to love myself.

This is the hardest, but most important, tip on this list. You don’t have to be on hormones or living full-time to start learning to love yourself. All the tips on this list have focused on changing yourself physically, but if you don’t learn to love yourself first, you will keep changing yourself until you’ve lost yourself — and even then, you still won’t love yourself. Start from within. If you tell yourself you’ll only be able to start loving yourself once you’ve transitioned, that’s not truly loving yourself. To love yourself means to accept yourself, wholeheartedly, as you are. Loving yourself doesn’t mean you necessarily like everything about your body, but it means you wholeheartedly accept everything about your body, and there’s nothing more beautiful, powerful, or important than that.”

I think this guy should take his own advice and love himself unconditionally. That means acknowledging himself for who his is—a feminine man, and loving the process of moisturizing and shaving his male body without having to pretend it’s a female one. It’s okay to be a feminine man, you don’t have to be “really a woman” in order to do the things you want to do. Also, these ideas about what women are come from capitalist patriarchy, and don’t have anything to do with women’s real selves.


27 thoughts on “10 ways to feel like a girl

  1. I hardly got past the bit about hair before I was snarling.

    This idiot is about as progressive as William “women with short hair are whores and men with long hair are sodomites” Prynne in the 1630s.

    I’ve had both (not short-short hair, but a jaw-length bob is way short for me) and, curiously, my sex didn’t change.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ya know, this is a classic of gender stereotyping. Amazing. I seriously wonder about the intelligence of people. Women don’t ‘feel’ like women. We just are. And that is the difference.

    Now, wanting to look like a suitably approved sex toy for teh menz is a totally different issue.

    From a long-haired heterosexual woman who doesn’t shave, doesn’t wear make-up or nail polish (I used to), and steals her husband’s clothes, because they are more comfortable and practical.

    This sort of rubbish really racks me off. I want the freedom to choose my appearance and this crap just reinforces the same old thing. Ugh.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Wow gender role performance what a concept maybe I will go out in jeans and boots and chop down some trees, drink beer and shout a lot and feel like a man.

    *head explodes*

    When are we going to break through this whole “being the other sex” thing? Like I am all for guys getting in touch with their feminine sides and painting their nails and doing their hair but why does it have to mean you’re a woman??

    You know what someone needs to write about – those guys who are precious about their beards. I find the beard guys fascinating and heartwarming in a way because here you’ve got men being utterly fastidious about something on their faces – trimming with special scissors and little combs and applying scented oils and growing out these luxurious beards – probably spending 10x more time in the bathroom than I ever do. If they were doing it for anything other than their natural facial hair – if they were working with their hair like that or their nails or their skin – it would be called “feminine” and they’d probably want their woman card, or at least genderqueer card, to avoid bullying.

    The only good thing that can come out of the whole trans trend is a bunch of men and women seeing the opportunity to try out whatever kind of expression they previously felt was unavailable to them due to their sex – but then they realize they still want to keep their male or female identity. I mean, that’s really the healthy part of it that I went through. I’d like to think that most people have that much sense, and in 5 years maybe we’ll just have a much freer, more expressive world.

    One can hope, right?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ve resolved not to use the terms masculine and feminine to describe because it’s all bollocks, but.

    There are many attributes that are associated with women that most men (me included) that men could do with cultivating, but non of the above.

    Learning to listen, cook, clean, plan a weeks meals and feed, change, wind and lullaby a baby, doesn’t make a bloke feminine or some feminist superhero, it just means he’s not a total waste of space.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Again with the collection of sexist stereotypes! Ever since I learnt about Daryl Bem’s Exotic Becomes Erotic theory in my Psych 101 class at age 20, it’s made perfect sense to me why I’m so attracted to pretty-looking men who are more stereotypically feminine than masculine, with soft facial features, and why I’ve never really cared for men with features like six-pack abs, huge biceps, very short hair, and square jaws. A big part of the reason I love younger men so much is because they’re more likely to still have those softer facial features! Although the way things are going, there might not be many men like that left anymore, since they’re all being convinced they have to be trans. A lot of guys into the Eighties New Wave scene looked like that, and no one thought they had to be secretly transsexual. People might’ve wrongly assumed they were gay, but not that they had to undergo sex changes to dress and look like that.

    Right before I hit peak trans, I was actually wondering if I’d be considered “genderqueer” or “agender” because I’ve never been a girly-girl and pride myself on being more stereotypically masculine than feminine. Then I came to my senses and realized I’m just myself, and never actually wanted to be a man.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This was published in Teen Vogue. That’s alarming. The normalizing of men and boys’ fetishization of socially demanded femininity. Telling our girls to just go along with this: be a nothing, let the men and boys define what it is you are, how you feel, who you should be. This is terrifying. A pipeline straight to girls, telling them how empty and shapeless they are, just a makeup and painted nails. It’s heartbreaking.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Dear MTF – a couple of comments…

    1. Totally agree on the long hair thing. My pubes are long enough to plait / braid and my leg hair is getting real close. I would have a beard except job prospects would wither as corporate land is not quite ready to accept women with beards and I need the money so I’m waiting for retirement. I have to keep my head hair short but because it is baby fine, goes to dreads the minute it touches my shoulders and then ends up thin as the tangles come out. Also if you want to nourish your hair, eat well. The only bit that’s alive is in the follicles which means all those treatments and oils don’t help. Diet only will help. Plus you’ll save money.

    2. But you said you wanted to grow your hair long. I’m confused. Plus if you actually want to get rid of your hair maybe ignore eating well.

    5. Makeup morning routine is shower, splash on a bit of moisturiser (no time for massages alas) after that, if I’m going to some corporate meeting I will scrub on a bit of foundation. The critical beauty treatment for me each morning is at least 2 coffees before I leave the house. And yes, I had to practise that for years before I got it down pat. I’m with you sister.

    6. Wardrobe. OMFG. Did you know you can buy pre-scotchguarded lady clothes now? These are fucking awesome. You can spill coffee, mud, food, anything on them, throw them in the washing machine and *magic* stains gone. Unfortunately this does not apply to the inside of the crotch as I found out the hard way and makes those lady stains harder to remove. You can however buy scotchguard in a can and spray the inside of the crotch yourself (as long as there are no pre-existing stains) and I have had really good success with this. Make sure you update your Pinterest to include scotchguarded jeans, cargo pants and selected other pants. Essential part of any woman’s wardrobe!

    7. What purplesage said (Tired bows)

    8. So close, oh so close….

    Liked by 5 people

  8. As a swimmer in high school, I had the same leg and armpit shaving pattern as all the guys on the team: let it grow until just before a big meet then shave the night before. Cuts drag.

    (And yay! Counted!)

    But seriously, moisturizer is gender neutral, as any swimmer knows. Alligator skin is less than enticing.

    I saw a guy this weekend with the most amazingly cared for facial hair – a waxed mustache worthy of a silent film villain and a neatly shaped beard. I’m also convinced he combed and shaped his eyebrows. I had to force myself not to stare because I honestly wondered how he could drink from a cup with that mustache.

    As someone who experiences dysphoria I don’t think that transitioning helps. Present however you want. Wear your hair long or short or in a dashing 20s Bob. I *do* live in jeans and tee shirt for almost everything. But don’t wind up in your late 40s with no interests that don’t directly relate to transition. Don’t be the person who keeps wishing they had a different body, a different life, a different everything. Don’t find yourself looking on as everyone around you goes on with their lives.

    Liked by 1 person

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