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.